Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: Cocaine at the School Fundraiser

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: cocaine at the school fundraiser.

Nicole: I’m going with a firm mind your own business here.

Danny: ooh!!!

Nicole: Like you do not have to continue the friendship

if you don’t feel comfortable w her taking care of your kids, that’s fine and reasonable

Danny: my initial response was to say something to her later, like, “Hey, I did not love that you told me you’d been doing cocaine at the fundraiser, I’d appreciate if you didn’t do that in the future”

which strikes me as a reasonable intervention?

Nicole: I think that’s okay

Danny: I mean part of the problem is that people are either “it’s basically weed” about cocaine or “it’s basically a murder drug”

Nicole: It was an adult-only event, which made it less of a big thing to me


Danny: I certainly think it was irritating and dumb as hell

you think you’re on an episode of The OC?

Nicole: Why would you tell anyone???

Danny: also, it’s tacky to announce you’ve done drugs you have no intention of sharing!

Nicole: VERY tacky

Danny: either tell someone because you know they like that drug too and you want to share it with them

or keep it to yourself

of course, one of the main side effects of cocaine is that it makes you want to tell everyone you’ve just done cocaine

Nicole: I am sure the LW’s facial expression prob got her message across real well

Danny: circumspect cocaine users are rare

Nicole: Hahahahaha

Danny: so I agree that OP probably does not have to worry that this means their friend is doing coke while they’re babysitting the kids

Nicole: But yeah, I seriously doubt she’s doing bumps when w the kids

Danny: but I also want to leave open the option of saying “I did not enjoy that conversation and I don’t want you to tell me about your cocaine use in the future”

Nicole: lol great minds

I think that’s fine

I withdraw my blanket MYOB

Danny: no I think it’s nice when we disagree a bit


Danny: I think we’re both firmly anti “tell everyone and make sure no one lets their kids play with her kids”

Nicole: RIGHT

Danny: that would be an overreaction, I think

Nicole: that would be a wildly out of pocket choice

Danny: but yeah, you are absolutely allowed to find that unappealing and to not want to be especially close with her anymore

your kids will still see each other at school and can hang out at your house, they’re seven, it’s fine

Nicole: also as a parent in her mid-thirties, like, people are not dead, once a year doing something wild in an adult environment is not a massive deal


You do not have to be close anymore

And also, she knows why

Danny: remember that Amy Sohn piece about cocaine parents in NYC on the Awl from back in like, 2012

Nicole: YUP

Danny: THIS is the problem with cocaine, I think

Nicole: (Among others)

Danny: either you end up adopting an attitude like ‘The 40-Year-Old Reversion’ that’s very South-Park-style ‘fuck you, ain’t I a stinker?’

or you end up feeling like a real scold and a fussbudget

Nicole: Hahahhaha

Danny: and I dislike both of those positions

Nicole: RIGHT

Danny: as always, I continue to search for the ideal “I don’t do cocaine myself but I have a perfectly reasonable attitude towards others who do” position

it may not exist!!

Nicole: I TOO seek to find this place

Danny: perhaps for those of us who came of age with Sweet Valley High books it’s impossible

because we imprinted on Regina Morrow doing cocaine ONCE and DYING

Nicole: For me it’s PCP

Danny: because of Go Ask Alice?

Nicole: Canadian high schools were VERY INTO PCP HORROR STORIES

I guess I come down on “it’s absolutely fine to be weirded out by hard drug use at a school fundraiser and make choices around friendship accordingly.”

“But your kids can still play.”

Danny: a good line to come down on!