Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Boyfriend and His Patron

Every week, Mallory and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: I’m jealous of my boyfriend’s wealthy patron.

Nicole: If you are unsatisfied by what your boyfriend is bringing to the relationship for YOU, that’s the real convo to start with.

If it’s “please get milk” and you need more poetry, tell him.

If you’re uncomfortable with him doing that stuff for her, you can decide if it’s worth ending the relationship over, and either choice is totally valid.


“I am valid. You too are valid. Let us part forevermore, due to Validity.”

Nicole: She seems nice and to know what’s up!

Mallory: it seems like they have room to work with this here!

the LW doesn’t seem to dislike the patron relationship whole cloth

(and he’s been happy to take big checks from her, lol)

Nicole: Right. He just wants to be paid court to in the same way!

Mallory: to which I would say: Are you paying court to your boyfriend, my friend?



Nicole: YEAH, I hope he’s doing his share for sure.

Mallory: like, he can absolutely dial back on the “get milk” conversations, but he is not a romance-producing machine!

Nicole: Indeed!!

Mallory: I mean you know me, I love to pitch woo

gimme someone to pitch woo at and I will merrily bustle about in a flurry of car-door-opening and jacket-holding and secret-note-depositing

so I would take this as a real opportunity to let my inner Keats (or whomever) shine and romance the hell out of my exhausted boyfriend after a long day of dancing

as soon as i typed this i spilled coffee just ALL OVER MYSELF

that’s my perspective, this stained romantic

Nicole: thanks, Morrissey

Mallory: but I think the thing to press for here is more couple-time that isn’t focused on domestic tasks

Nicole: No, I think this is wise! It really doesn’t sound like this is about the patron, full stop, but about feeling taken for granted, and everyone should discuss Their Needs.

Mallory: rather than asking to be treated in the same way your boyfriend treats his patron

Nicole: I would 100% not settle for not getting A Poem, though. If you are writing poems for other people, I want one.

Mallory: but he does that for her because she pays him (and they seem to get on well), not necessarily because that’s his ideal vision of how he acts in a romantic relationship

Nicole: Right!

Everything else v. negotiable.

Mallory: Which is great, because if the LW was upset about the very idea of the thing, I’d probably advise them to break up

oh good Lord I cannot imagine wanting a poem from someone I love

“I sometimes think the stars are God’s daisy-chain.”

too Madeline Bassett

Nicole: Can you imagine my husband writing me a poem



Nicole: Yes. Indeed.

Mallory: it would be an efficient poem, I feel confident saying that

but no, he is writing poems for MONEY so he can do his JOB

if you want poetry, read Housman or something; just because someone is in love with you does not mean they will write readable poetry

Nicole: Always good advice, really.

Mallory: kiss your boyfriend and read Housman, says I

Nicole: I would also like to see more artistic patrons who do not ask for sex.

Mallory: that’s my prescription

read “Because I liked you better” aloud while you stroke his hair on the couch after a long day of chocolates and waltzes

Nicole: History is really a long slide away from non-sex-based art patronage.

Mallory: just substitute “poetry” for “jokes about Nancy Mitford”

Nicole: And it’s been DELIGHTFUL.

Mallory: i mean that’s not NOT what our relationship has been

everyone’s happy!

Nicole: It’s really so true.