S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. Lucky you.
S2: You produce your prudence here, prudence, dear prudence, dear prudence here. Do you think that I should contact him again? No. How? Thanks. Thank you.
S3: I don’t know if you read this, but like seven or eight years ago, Francine Pascal came out with a new Sweet Valley book and it was set in the present day. And so it was just like occasionally she would say it like. And Twitter and like everybody, darling. Guy like Steven was exactly how Steven was like dead and gay. Like Lizabeth had like lost her job because she had like try to like, I don’t know, she’d gone off the rails in some fashion. So it was just like it’s like that. It’s like Francine Pascal being like, remember Sweet Valley? I also know the word Twitter. And it’s just OGX it directly into my veins. Phil, I hope you’re keeping. I am just sorry. Gold. Okay, I cannot wait. I’m gonna watch it tonight. Good. Good. So I should introduce us. I should introduce the show. Hello and welcome back to The Dear Prudence Show. I am your host, Dear Prudence. I am also known as Daniel M. Lavery. With me in the studio this week are two people. One is Jordan BLOCK, a queer non-binary science communicator, research administrator and hoop earring enthusiast based out of L.A.. Jordan, welcome. Hi. Thank you for including the power phrase based out of because they feel like that’s such a more powerful like phrase than based in like I’m not being in L.A.. Oh, it’s out of here. It’s my base of operations, but I go out. Right. I might already be on a helicopter.
S4: Absolutely. It also implies that I do much more jet setting than I actually do. Right. And I think that kind of brand presence is super important.
S5: It’s like one step away from listing the airport that you fly out of most often.
S6: Oh, God. Oh, God. I am one mental breakdown away from doing.
S3: That’s really exciting. By the way, this will not shock our listeners. The other guests in the studio with me this week is my wife, Grace Labrie, who is a professor at UC Berkeley and is also married to me.
S7: Yeah. So I have other achievements, too, but we can just stay with those one. You didn’t send me a bio. You didn’t ask me to his. This is an informal arrangement. Yeah. This this this dumb broad is married to me. Metsola man. I feel like I started with being a professor and he’s got a great title around. I’m an associate professor.
S3: I can never remember associate an assistant. And the difference and I don’t ever want to mess that up. I fully appreciate that. I fully hope you’re a full professor someday.
S7: I’m sure that I will be if I keep in, stay in school and do my homework. And what airport do you fly out of most often?
S8: Oh, I’m an L.A. ex-girl, 100 percent. No, that’s actually a lie.
S3: I go at a Long Beach moron on Long Beach. Lou Valen, not the Long Beach Airport. I live in LA. Tell us about the Long Beach Airport. I don’t know that I’ve ever flown out of it.
S9: Oh, oh, it’s minuscule, but it’s like chic. It’s like one step up from a farm airport, like in a small town. I think there’s like five gates tall.
S3: How does it compare to, like, the Bob Hope Airport? Burbank?
S9: Yeah, I have no idea what that is, but it sounds incredibly. Burbank Airport.
S1: An airport is like two gates, one outdoor baggage claim and a sign that like all the planes see as they take off. That just says please take off and land quietly. Our neighbors are asleep.
S7: And the only. Oh, that’s so.
S10: And the only snacks that they sell are like bags of raisins and peanuts mixed. Not like the whole trail mix, just like a very basic version of trail.
S8: Oh, absolutely. They pick them up at Costco. Yeah. Yeah. It’s. Yeah. I feel like it’s like twice the size of probably a Bob Hope. Yeah. Yeah.
S6: But it’s like very like clean, like very full windows, a lot of palm fronds, a lot of like my zero escape gardens. Baby, we’ve got to fly out of there. Clearly we do. It’s, um, it’s a very new airport. They have like a little wine bar. It’s completely open air. They’re doing good things along the border. Okay.
S11: I will take all this under advisement. But speaking of advisement, we should give advice.
S7: That was excellent. Oh, that was such a strong one. You know what? I should be an associate producer. I don’t produce the show, should be an associate.
S3: And I have been away for a month. And you have to be nice to me.
S12: Well, I’m not kidding. You was really good.
S3: You’re all having a great time at my expense. Jordan, would you please read the first letter?
S6: New friends and unicorn hunters. Oh, I love this one. Okay. Subject new friends are a unicorn. Hundreds. Dear Prudence. I recently moved to a semi-rural town 400 miles away from most of my friends. I like it, but I struggle to meet people close to my own age. I was excited when a woman posted on our local community Facebook group saying she was looking for more friends. I responded and we chatted. And eventually, after two previously canceled plans shady, I had dinner with her, her male partner and her kids. Afterwards, she told me she was bisexual, which I am too. Shortly after I started getting daily messages from both her and her partner, the messages were fairly innocent, but at a frequency that I only. Really experience with people I’ve either dated or been friends with for 20 years. My unicorn hunter in quotes, alarms started going off, but I decided to attend another event they were hosting. I had a great time and felt much better until I received a message from her partner telling me how great I looked that night. Looking at timestamps, he sent this about 10 minutes after I left. I muted their messages, but did reply to hers from time to time, opening conversations with naturally spaced themselves out. And now she’s asking me if everything is okay. I guess my question is twofold. Is there any benefit to trying to preserve friendship here? If not, how do I tell them I’m backing off? And if so, how do I still tell them to back off? No. How do I tell them why I’m backing off? And if so, how do I still tell them to back off?
S11: Yeah, I think you have an amazing opportunity here to just be straightforward, which is to say that’s what I said.
S1: Yeah, you were messaging me too much, and I didn’t appreciate that your husband talked about how I looked. I still like you too, but I don’t want to talk everyday. And if her response to that is, oh, my gosh. Of course. Totally get that. Thank you for letting me know. Yeah, maybe you can salvage a friendship. And if it’s. Oh, my god, no. You don’t know Spanish. So we like you so much. And it was. I’m so sorry. But also, please understand that it was fine. And now accept a million apologies. And can we get lunch tomorrow to really hash it out? And then that’s a sign that, you know, they’re not going to be good friends for you.
S9: Yeah, absolutely. I’m on the exact same page. I feel like this can be a pretty quick conversation where you can kind of tell them everything that you just told us here and you can also just text it back like this does not have to be an in-person conversation.
S3: You have every right to say, like, we were just texting me too much. And I didn’t appreciate that your husband was talking about my appearance. That’s very simple to say. You just type it out and hit send.
S13: This is I don’t have anything to add except to say, I guess that I I I’m not even sure I would give these people that much.
S10: I don’t think you owe them a full accounting of why you’re not gonna pursue a friendship with them at this early stage. I mean, sure, you could. You could have a full conversation. That would be a kind thing to do. Be a thoughtful thing to do. But like if this person had said so, I just ghosted them. I wouldn’t be like super mad at that person for doing that.
S11: Yeah. And, you know, aside from the one event that you attended that they were hosting where you said you had a great time. You don’t say much about like what your chats with that lady were like or what the dinner was like.
S5: It doesn’t sound like you were thinking like, man, if it weren’t for this one thing, these people would be like. Great new friends. I think it’s more like they had some nice qualities, but they’ve demonstrated very early on that they’re not great at either reading signals or respecting boundaries, which is pretty important in friends, you know.
S8: Yeah, exact.
S1: So yeah, I would say like if party feels like. I guess I’m like obligated to pursue a friendship because it’s mean not to be friends with someone that you’ve hung out with twice, but it’s just like if you’re getting like a creepy vibe from them and they were not able to kind of realize like yeah, maybe sending like 15 messages a day and saying you look super great to someone we just met wasn’t something that they liked. Like. Yeah, the fact that they’re pretending they don’t understand, like how they could have offended or upset you is not a great sign that they’re going to be good friends going forward.
S9: Yeah, exactly. And I think the only thing I have to add to it is I get that you’re in a position where you’re away from most your friends. You’re having a hard time meeting people. So if, like, you really do want to pursue this again, just squash that at the outset. I think you can even like it does sound like they’re being a little horny. You can just say that to them. Say I’m not interested in a sexual relationship with you guys. Let me just put that out there at the forefront. You guys can respect that. Totally great. We can continue to hang out. And then as far as the partners creepy comment, I feel like saying that will hopefully give him everything he needs to know. As far as not being okay.
S11: Yeah. I think that like implicit question that I got out of this was like it’s a semi-rural town. So there might not be a lot of people. And I would just don’t let that push you to put up with people who you’re not actually comfortable hanging out with. It would be better to wait and make a different friends a couple of weeks or months from now. Then it would be to hang out with people who have demonstrated repeatedly that they’re mostly just viewing you as like a potential third nghia.
S4: Exactly. And like, I feel like you can if you really want to let this let that like text or let that really quick conversation be like, okay, I’m gonna see how they’re going to respond to this. And that’s gonna give me the information they need to know if you really want someone to hang out with. Go ahead, do that. But I think you’re fine, not you also.
S11: Yeah, I just I think you can do better. I think you will do better. Yeah. Even if it’s a small town. I want that for you. I do, too. Yeah. I think in general it’s good to trust those alarms. I think you probably actually have a very good sense of when somebody is doing that. And to to continue to let those alarms guide your behavior is a good thing.
S5: So this next one is a little bit more. Oh, God. Like just there’s there’s a lot about it that’s really sad and really painful. And I think my main thought here is like, I have so much compassion for this letter writers partner. And it also feels very clear to me that the two things he’s equating here are not the same. So I think there’s a lot of room here for an intervention. So the subject is homophobic, partner. Dear Prudence, I’m a straight woman in a long term relationship with a 53 year old man. He is truly loving, kind and supportive. He’s taken my children in as his own loves and appreciates me and showers others with kindness and generosity. All of this is in stark contrast to his seething homophobia, appalled by his hatred and intolerance. I confronted him and explained that I am not able to continue a relationship with him knowing he feels this way. During that conversation, he broke down, crying and apologized profusely through sobs. He confided that when he was 14 and working a summer job, he was groomed and targeted by a gay man in his 20s posing as his friend. This older man offered him a ride home one evening, drove him to an isolated location, and overpowered and sexually assaulted him. My partner expressed great shame at, quote, allowing it to happen out of fear and to, quote, get it over with before he was hurt more. He blames himself for letting it happen and for not recognizing that this man was gay and a predator. He feels emasculated for not being able to fight him off. And again, quote, letting it happen. He never told his parents and says that I’m the first and only person he admitted it to. All of this. The power dynamic, the grooming, the age difference, the feeling of powerlessness and shame and quote, letting it happen struck a chord with me as these are all common elements of sexual assault that women commonly experience. Pretty. I don’t know what to do now, partner, open this up to me because he loves me and was afraid that I would leave him. He expressed worry that I would view him as less of a man and question his sexuality. Clearly, my partner needs a huge amount of support as a survivor of childhood rape. However, I can’t tolerate the homophobic rhetoric that he attributes to this trauma. Please help me navigate this situation, support my partner and keep my morals intact.
S14: So I think the thing that I want to start with and I want to say this with a lot of love and gentleness letter writer, because I think that you are trying to do the right thing here. And I just have so much and with you in that I think it’s important to acknowledge the ways that you are replicating or adding to his homophobic rhetoric here. I don’t think you’re doing that on purpose, but that bit about. And this is these are your words for not recognizing this man was homosexual and a predator. The predator part is the issue here, not the homosexual part, that that actually feels pretty important to me as well as even just like calling this guy a gay man in his 20s, like this is him in his 20s, he was raping a child. I don’t know that gay is the word here. He may also have been gay. He may or may not have. I like the gayness is not the issue. The raping children is the issue. And and so I again, I know that you’re very clear in a lot of ways that those two things are different. But I think there’s other ways in which you have not made the appropriate separation. And I think that that’s really important. And as well, again, I’m sorry to start with like my quibbles, but I do think that they’re important that that bit about you say all of this, the power dynamic, the grooming, et cetera, struck a chord with me because there’s a column, common elements of sexual assault that women commonly experience. I just want to say again, it’s not that he has something in common with women. It’s that this is universal to sexual assaults, that men and women and non-binary people and trans people and gay people like all experience. Sorry, I’m not saying that. I think it’s all different categories from men and women. I just mean, like sexual assault isn’t something that belongs to women that he kind of shares. A different version of sexual assault is something that happens to all different kinds of people. And his sexual assault is his sexual assault. And it’s not like something a woman experiences. It’s something that he experienced. It may mean that you relate to him in a particular way in terms of your own experiences that you’ve had as a woman. But I would not describe it as the thing that happens to women accidentally happened to him. Does that make sense?
S10: Do it? No. Absolutely. I mean, of course. And I think maybe one of the things that we can see happening here is that this letter writer has been understandably and from a position that is extremely difficult and easy to sympathize with, sort of caught up in a fairly disturbed and traumatized set of associations between child molestation and kind of gay relationships or gay people, between the sexual assault of women and the sexual assault of male children. And these things are all very, very different. And the associations are clearly very present. As is often going to be the case under the conditions of trauma. But this is just one of those moments where we have to say that the task that this person faces and to some extent you face as well is I’m picking these kinds of associations in the context of a therapeutic setting. And I think that’s just something that is really at the root of a lot of all this is like your partner needs and deserves the committed and serious attention of mental health care professional specializing in post-traumatic symptoms of childhood sexual abuse.
S15: There are people who take that speciality in every city in the country. It is not going to be entirely different coat for you to find somebody who can do that work. But that work is is necessary and it will help.
S10: And it will help you, too. If you can speak to another therapist or another kind of counselor who’s able to help you pick through the kind of associations that are being activated for you around this. This is just a kind of we’re dealing with the kind of life deforming effects of childhood rape here. And it’s no surprise that these kinds of mangled associations are being produced in its wake. But the work of disentangling them is is a serious one that will take a great deal of attention.
S5: Yeah. Yeah. I think as you as you say, like, you know, this is the it sounds like this is the first time he has shared this with anyone. Someone was 14. He’s 53. He has had a lifetime of carrying this around inside, trying to make sense of it as best he can. So, yeah, I think it makes so much sense to think it is not going to be the project of a few weeks or a few months or a single conversation, a disclosure and admission.
S10: You know, that’s like often the first time you say something like this. You think that now? I said it. Get done. Right. And the truth is that in a situation like this is like now I’ve said it now there is much, much more work. Now, I know that the strategy of repressing and self silencing and projecting out this kind of compulsive hatred towards gay people. Trangie is not working for me as a way of managing my post-traumatic symptoms anymore. I’m going to need different strategies and finding them is gonna be very hard.
S1: Yeah, and I think for you, in addition to doing all this, when and if he says something homophobic after this conversation to still challenge it and to say you need to stop saying that and that that’s not cruel, that’s not dismissive of his rape, that’s still really important. I don’t know if either of you feel like in addition to them both seeing therapists on their own that they might benefit from couples counselling, since it sounds like it’s also a city with fears about their own forms of intimacy and whether or not she might potentially leave. And I always get a little nervous ones like this comes up because I worry that the belief is going to become I’m not allowed to leave now because my partner is sad and suffering.
S9: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s that’s kind of what I wanted to speak to. I think all of everything that Grace said was I agree 100 percent. And I think that’s super important. But I think you should also really ask yourself the question, is this a relationship and a project that you want to continue and take up because it is going to be a lot supporting this partner or sticking through them with this? Dealing with homophobia, which will inevitably continue to crop up as their therapeutic process continues. I think you’re gonna have to really ask yourself, is this something that I want to stick by with and deal with to this depth? And then I’m not sure as far as couples counselling right now, I think maybe eventually that might be good. I don’t know if that’s a kind of top of the agenda thing.
S11: Yeah, I agree that I think individual therapy is probably the first priority. Yeah.
S1: And yet to maybe save couples counseling for if he’s seeing a therapist, if he’s making like real strides to make it a regular commitment and you’re seeing also a shift and he’s no longer like tossing out homophobic statements, then at that point couples counseling might be something that you would consider. But yeah, I mostly just want to say I feel for him if he’s afraid that you’ll leave him. I feel for him when he’s worried that you’ll see him as less of a man or question his sexuality. None of those answer the question of to a want to be with somebody who is this homophobic. And that wouldn’t make you cruel or callous or unkind. If you decided I want you to get help with this, I’ll help you find the resources. I can support you from afar. But like, if you’re not seeing real progress here and you’re starting to feel like the homophobia is just relentless and causes me great pain and I cannot find a way to stay consistent with my values and be with him, you are allowed to leave. You’re allowed to leave even if he’s very upset. He’s as true as it is that he’s dealing with his childhood trauma. It’s also true that he’s a man in his 50s now and he has the ability to contact a therapist. He has the ability to understand that homophobia is not the solution to healing anything about what happened to him. So don’t let your very real and necessary loving compassion for him turn into. I have to in some way treat him as a perpetually traumatized 14 year old. And that means I can’t leave.
S9: Absolutely. And I think it’s very important whether you decide to continue this relationship or not. To not only know in terms of how you act towards him, but know within yourself that he may have these misplaced associations with the fact that his sexual predator may or may not have been a gay man. I’m not sure if we can really determine that he can have those associations. He is also, like Danny said, old enough to be able to tease apart the fact that his predator is not emblematic of an entire marginalized community. He is old enough to at least rationally pick that apart so you can set the expectation of there being a difference for how he will unpack that therapeutically and what he vocally and action ably puts out into the world. Right.
S5: And then I think just the last thing that I noticed here is like clearly my partner needs a huge amount of support as a survivor of childhood rape. That’s absolutely true. That support does not mean his girlfriend’s not allowed to break up with him. Absolutely. If if you and your romantic attention were a solution to healing from childhood trauma, that would be kind of unheard of, frankly.
S1: And yeah, I’ve never heard of any kind of a therapist saying the thing that you need to heal from or process this trauma is for your girlfriend to stay with you forever.
S10: You know, I agree with all of this, and I think it’s a really important thing to underline, given that we are responding to a letter from from this woman rather than upon a. One of the things I just think reading this whole back and listening to us all talk about it is just like, wow, homophobia distorts and mangles lives and turns people into horrifyingly nightmarish people to be around. I think that’s that’s just an I guess we all kind of, you know, that banaz just like with underlining like this isn’t just a kind of casual prejudice or some sort of comes up.
S3: Right. Like like, oh, he made a mistake, an assumption that could’ve happened to anyone. Right.
S10: Experience what he experiences that kind of enormously and horrifying. We painfull about this. This is the compulsive rage that is coming out of this person in relation to homophobia.
S9: Yeah. And that’s why I wanted to like kind of really ask you to, like, stick with this question, because it is I think you already know this. You’ve stated this in your letter when you say things like seething homophobia. This is going to be like something that is ever present, probably for a long time. And again, you can set boundaries of how we can express that, what is okay and not okay for you as far as how he acts upon it verbalizes those feelings that he has. But it is the first of all, this is gonna be a project. It may get more difficult before it gets better. So, yeah, again, to circle back, really ask yourself if this is something that you want to do right. And that it’s OK if it’s not.
S1: And I think one thing to also, like letter writer, you’ll need to ask yourself this. One thing that this has just made me think is like the seething homophobia, the hatred and intolerance. I’m curious, like, has he ever threatened violence against gay people? Yeah. One of the things that I’m aware of here is like when you attempted to confront him about the very real like harm that he does towards gay people in the way that he speaks and acts, he immediately went to here’s the story of when I was victimized. And that’s real. And that, again, deserves love, attention, sympathy, compassion, support. But it’s also a deflection and it’s also an attempt to move the conversation away from adult behavior. He’s responsible for in the present to something that happen to him in the past that he’s not responsible for. And again, I don’t want to say like so therefore, he was like consciously doing this as an attempt to misdirect you. But I’m just I’m aware you actually didn’t get to have the conversation that you need to have with him about his homophobia. You had an unrelated conversation that was long overdue. But if if he attempts to kind of say, like, I think you’re probably right, I shouldn’t be so homophobic, but you understand how I became homophobic and that it was an accident and it was because of this one man. I would not accept that as a rationalization for the choices that he has made. I think if this were me, if I were to even consider staying with this person, I would need to hear a pretty full throated acknowledgement. I have chosen to be homophobic and to turn my fear and my anxiety outwards towards other people to make myself feel safe. And that’s wrong. And I cannot do it any longer. That would be like, okay, maybe we can do something here. But if it was just, yeah, maybe it’s not good to be quite so homophobic. But you see why I did it right then I would say, no, I don’t wish you well in therapy. But I think that we might need to part ways romantically and it can just really sorry.
S10: This is hard all around and you have kids as well. That’s something that I’ve been thinking about as well. Yeah. You know, you say he has taken in my children as his own. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it might mean that you have children who are still discovering who they are in the world and who is still, you know, but before a stage of naming or finding a sexual identity, that makes sense for them, which means that it is not impossible that you will at some point be confronted with a conflict between your opponents, compulsive homophobia and a gay kid you have. That’s what I was thinking, you know, and I mean, even if, like you kids are all straight. I mean, I’m sorry to hear that.
S3: But also, yes, sometimes people who end up being straight don’t know that, you know, and they go through a period where they ask themselves a lot of questions.
S7: And if they’ll be gay friends, you know, like kids, it’s not like it’s not like you can live in a world where there are no queer people if you have kids.
S10: Right. The option is not open to you.
S1: Yeah. Good luck. I would love to hear from you again. Let us know how you’re doing. Let us know how your kids are doing. I know that you have a lot of options and it is not your sole responsibility to help this man choose not only to seek out help, but to stop being homophobic, which he could do today. Right now. Yeah, that’s absolutely. That’s available to him right now. Let’s move on to a slightly nicer problem. Jordan, would you read this one?
S6: Oh, this one was we. Yes, I would love to. This one. This one’s a little heart warming. Okay. Subject striking out with women. Dear Prudence, I am a 29 year old bisexual guy. Recently I felt my attraction. Women are stronger than ever, but I’m not having success having any success dating. I’m not looking for marriage, but definitely more than hooking up. I do well, finding casual, fun relationships with men, but really struggle with women. I’m very open about my bisexuality on my profiles and I matched with plenty of women and I have one or maybe two dates. But then things seem to fizzle out quickly. I’m beginning to think I missed some crucial information in college or right after when I was mainly dating men. I would love to know this message board that you.
S3: Yeah. Don’t you know that everyone gets the most crucial sexual information in college and right after. In a handbook.
S4: And it’s it’s right to a tee all the time. I pretty much treat all my dates the same no matter what gender they are. And my younger sister tells me that’s fine. That’s exactly what I should be doing. I’ve even s.m my straight friends what the trick is to dating women. And they tell me that there is no trick and it just hang in there. But they’re all doing better than me. So I suspect that’s not true. How can I figure out what I’m doing wrong and fix it?
S9: I’m so sorry. This question is hilarious and so sweet.
S3: I just. Yeah. Like, what’s the trick to getting women to go out with me a third time?
S9: There is like I feel like like. Slightly less than innocuous kind of undercurrent there, but overall, my take on this is just there’s no trick there. Just keep trying. Be nice. Ask questions.
S1: I mean, like, yeah, the idea like you say, you’ve had a lot of casual fun relationships with men. You know, okay. I feel like you want to say, like, if I’ve had this many fun, casual relationships with men in the past, it should translate. There should be some sort of like conversion rate where I can be like, I have eight boyfriends in the past. Does this like, can I trade them in four or five and a half? Girlfriends? No, man. That’s like what if I bring a note from my sister that says she thinks I’m doing everything right? Then will a woman have to agree to a third date? Look again. No.
S7: You just. Okay. So you see then what are the things that we would do to encourage someone if they want to find a third date with girls like you? They’re not like we. There are things we could say or like ask questions.
S3: I think I would need more information that then things seemed to fizzle out quickly. You know, I mean, like. Yeah. Did they fizzle out? Because you and the woman just like are especially interested in one another. Are you always trying for a third date and everyone else becomes evasive? I don’t know. Like figure out how you make a big she. But maybe we don’t. Frankly, though, like you match with a lot of women and you go on one and two dates. Guto, you slut look better than most people. You’re doing pretty well, especially you only say you’re doing pretty great. You’re getting day. Yeah. You only notice like your attraction to women increasing recently. So like my my read here is that this guy is just like in the last six months I realized I really want to like go for girls in a way that I haven’t.
S5: The last couple of years I’ve had a number of second dates, but I don’t have a serious girlfriend yet. And it’s just like, yeah, that’s to be expected. It doesn’t sound like you’ve been doing this for like nine years and no woman has ever picked up the phone.
S13: Right. Congratulations on being pretty good at Tendo. It sounds like.
S4: Yeah. No, exactly. And like I feel like when I first read it, you know, there’s. And I didn’t know how much like kind of stuck I want to get to this. But there, of course, could be by phobia from straight women that you’re looking today. Sure. Yeah. But it seems like you mentioned it in your profile. They’re agreeing to go on dates with you already. I don’t think that’s like really at play here. Things just keep going. I think you’re doing fine, right?
S14: I think that’s a good point, because the implication a little bit of that last question is like, is there something residual Lee bisexual I’m doing that men respond to, but that women don’t? That I can turn off like I’m showing up in the wrong hat. And all the women are thinking like a straight guy would never wear that hat. I don’t think that’s the issue.
S9: Yeah, especially if you’re getting a second date. Like, I don’t know. Like how like like just to be completely honest, like how Master Femme you and whether some woman might not be into that because of their own hung up things. They’re going on a second date. That’s probably not an issue. So yeah, that doesn’t sound like it’s. Yeah. The main thing.
S3: And again, like I don’t think I would ever give you the advice of like butch it up. You know what I mean. Like. Exactly. Just because I it I think that eventually you would find that tiring. And then the woman that you had succeeded in attracting her attention when you were only butch was all of a sudden like gross. I hate that you’re slightly camp now and then you have the same problem. Plenty of straight girls who like slightly effeminate boy slots. I mean, I used to tell you this. Yeah. Yeah. I used to run a website for that. Yeah, sure. There’s plenty of bisexual women who are bisexual guys. Yeah. Maybe that would be helpful if you want to seek out by women.
S7: There would be only be hopefuls like kind of get take off the table. The fear the white phobia is actually what’s causing. But maybe you need that or maybe that is what is necessary.
S5: You could also like I don’t know how much younger your younger sister is, but if she’s like also in her 20s, you could ask her to set her up, to set you up with some of her friends or your straight friends be like, do you know anyone who’s interested in going out? If so, will you set me up on some blind dates? That’s one alternative to tender at least.
S6: Yeah. Then you go mix it up.
S3: Yeah. Trade. Try dating women in their 40s. Maybe that will feel fun. I don’t know. Like try something mildly different.
S16: But this is day. Women in their 50s. Hell yeah. He looks at me like like you read about. Oh, I’ve got Danny this time. So I just want to hear your own. Hear how high we can go. 60c.
S3: I mean go for Ann Richards. If you could take her away from Sarah Paulson. They seem pretty happy together. But, you know, give it a go. I was 100 percent of the shots to grace you. And this guy can team up and try to break up Sarah Paulson and Ann Richard.
S13: Baby. I feel like if Sarah Paulson and I met, you know, we would find a way to make that happen.
S16: Wow. You’re obsolete before you call me like love of your life. Richard, you know that I have a lot of confidence. I if you sort of what celebrity couple do you think you could break up?
S8: Oh, this is a really good question. I would never want to. So I like, hate and be even invoking this end of the world, but absolutely shocked Méndez and America. Just like on a functional perspective, I’m not interested in it at all. So if the opportunity arose, I would run for the hills. But like pure like logistics, wides? Absolutely. You’re just like, I’m really good at this. I don’t want to do it, but I want to make this. Absolutely. I would kind of unsexy by myself.
S17: Yeah. To think that prevent it from. I can’t imagine that you. No, I think I can imagine you looking anything. I’m pretty fucking hot. Hey, Danny.
S18: Which celebrity you want to break up is my favorite part of the wish celebrity couple.
S3: What I want to break up. Oh yeah. I feel like I need a list of celebrity couples. Which is embarrassing. Like I should just be able to like have it ready to go. You know what? We mentioned this in the previous podcast. I think it’ll be really fun to break up Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. All right. Bye. Yeah.
S4: How dare you say that? Because I was literally just thinking that because I saw that video of his birthday.
S16: Oh, my God. I loved that video is so charming. They seem very charming together.
S1: Everyone’s always like, oh, I want a relationship just like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. They both seem like really fun. Like they have great 70’s energy. I feel like they’d probably like just. Yeah. Either get back together afterwards or sort of happily become friends.
S3: I don’t think I would do any real damage, but they would also be a real sense of accomplishment like I brought down. Yeah, one of the most beloved straight couples of all time, which is really impressive.
S9: It’s extremely powerful. You should see the face that I’m making right now. That’s the best answer you could possibly say. Yeah, I see it. I see it clear as day.
S7: Well, Sarah Paulson, if you’re listening. Just know that my answer was, you know, often in good faith.
S3: And and Kurt and Goldie. You’re listening. I will also accept taking your son Wyatt off your hands. Oh, my God. Very good. It is just cause of his hair. He’s a very handsome.
S4: And Sean Mendez and Camila Cabello. If you’re listening, stay the fuck away.
S16: Need you know, if a producer just texted me. Web website that lists 41 couple celebrity couples who have been together the longest. As if I’m going to need to helenka kill Bill like. What’s it like there? Oh, yes, I love it. Quincy is the heart.
S7: If you were gonna try to set it, if you were going to try to split up like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, like, what would be your strategy making? Keep each other. Help, please. Yeah, I’m not so sure.
S18: You don’t need to involve yourself in them. Be less of an import. Should be.
S3: I think we’ve I think we’ve had a wonderful interview. It’s time to get back to you. People advice. Chris, would you read this next letter? I’d love to.
S17: It’s called Truth. I had my first marriage.
S3: And you have to see dear prudence. Oh, God, I’m sorry. You have to see all the lines. I just thought we could take that for granted because it’s the name of or never take it for granted. And. Well, I apologize.
S10: Subject colon truth. Dear Prudence, comma. I had my first marriage annulled since my wife was sleeping around me. Someone gave me proof and all my new bride could do was cry and beg me to forgive her. It was a mess. Legally, I’ve never been married.
S19: I’ve started dating again. But I’ve explained my situation is a broken engagement. This is deceptive, according to a few friends.
S13: I don’t know how to define it myself. I am not divorced legally. Ex engagement sounds better to me than my ex acted like an animal in heat. How do I speak truthfully here?
S3: So I don’t want to like tell someone your definitively not ready to date, but if you still cannot bring yourself to describe this admittedly painful situation as anything other than my ex acted like an animal in heat, I promise you you are going to terrify every woman who goes out with you. She will feel horrified greatly. She will feel the rage radiating off of your skin. And she will think I am going to run away when this guy’s in the bathroom.
S15: Will see like refer to it as a kind of sexist rage. Like it strikes me as, you know, like that. That’s an important aspect here is like, you know, this is a form of it is perfectly understandable that you are angry about this is perfectly understandable. You would want to name your anger. But this kind of dehumanizing language is designed to associate female sexuality with the kind of animal instinct that’s beyond the realm of human belief, humor, you know, human control. And it’s, you know, traditional old school misogyny. And you need to correct that.
S11: Yeah. Just say things like I got my marriage and all because my wife was cheating on me. That’s used the word annulment earlier. Like you like there’s no word for it. The word is annulment. Yeah. You know, I would recommend seeing a therapist. And you know, if you continue to have trouble getting second dates. I imagine it’s because these women are reacting to your like seething, seething rage.
S4: Mm hmm. Yeah. And I like I agree or not answering the question, but I don’t really care, because the most distracting thing is, again, this like red hot sexist rage coming off every word in this letter. Yeah. But like to briefly answer the question, because I don’t think it’s the most important. Who cares? Who cares what you say? Say X engagements, say Andelman.
S9: That doesn’t matter. Go to therapy. Did. Yeah.
S11: Yeah. I mean, it’s like. And again, like it’s okay to be really hurt by it. It’s okay to not be just magically over it. But I think maybe the real problem isn’t that you have wanted to say engagement. I think maybe the real problem is like you just don’t know how to describe it because you’re still in such pain and rage over it.
S5: And that means that, again, now that you have to take yourself on time out from dating, that may be in addition to these dates, you start seeing that therapist, because I think it’s going to take more than just the passage of time for you to feel anything that looks a little bit like peace or healing here. And there’s so many ways that you are allowed to experience and process your her and your frustration and your anger and your sense of betrayal that don’t look like de-humanizing your acts. You still like we are not asking you to give up all of your anger and say she was a great lady who treated you beautifully.
S10: No, anger is really important in an entirely reasonable response to the situation that you’re in. Learning how to name and describe that anger will be really important. And you know, staying in contact with that anger may be important, too. One of the things I’m I’m really struck by here is as I guess I often am, it’s just the kinds of verbal cruelty that often describe themselves as truth. You know, this the subject matter of this is truth. The question then how do I dare speak truthfully here? The implication being that the truth.
S15: You cannot speak. Is that my ex acted like an animal in heat. I think just a good opportunity for a soul to reflect, you know, like that’s not the truth. The truth is that know why you’re your bride or you know, your ex cheated on, you know, that she acted like an animal in heat. That is a sort of hyperbole that you are speaking an anger. And it’s just really weird, isn’t it, that like what seems to be at stake for this lesser rights is how do I describe this thing most accurately when in fact, what seems to want to happen is I want to describe this thing in terms that distort accuracy to better reflect my own, you know, theory of female sexuality that is emerging from my feeling of anger.
S9: And I think like I think that’s important subsect, because he says, how do I dare speak truthfully here? I mean, answers really kind of simple. You just say annulment. Yeah, but I don’t think that’s your real problem. I think your problem is one of like dealing with the pain of this. But like we said, there’s some other layers going on there.
S3: Yeah. And good luck. I hope that you are able to find other ways to talk about this that aren’t just with women. You’re going on a first date with. Yeah. Those aren’t the people who are gonna be able to help you the most here. Jordan, would you read our next letter?
S20: Oh, yes, absolutely. Okay. Subject odd requests from my ex after 25 years, Dear Prudence. Recently, my ex-wife Penelope emailed me that she was seeing a new therapist and they agreed it would be helpful for her in future relationships if she sat down with me and discussed my version of our divorce 25 years ago. It was a contentious and bitter divorce, and I basically had to start my life over again. We now have mutual respect for one another and become proud parents and grandparents of wonderful kids. Her requests, however, triggered. But I guess as an episode of PTSD, I became very anxious at the prospect of sitting face to face with my ex-wife and sharing for the first time my experience of the divorce. Contrary to what everyone in our lights believed or was told, I did not have a midlife crisis or an affair. I did not want to leave my home or my kids. I left an abusive relationship. I suddenly realized as she screamed at me one afternoon that this is what the rest of my life was going to be like. I was going to grow old with this person who constantly would fly into a rage regardless of our surroundings. This was after 20 years together and after hundreds of hours of couples therapy and years of seeing her own therapists. She had a difficult childhood with a lot of emotional abuse. My childhood was very different where anger was infrequent, and when it did occur, there was usually a justification for it. That last day and in the middle of her raging at me as she had for years, something just snapped. I realized that it was always going to be like this. So I stood up, grabbed my car keys and left. I remember checking into a motel and feeling safe for the first time in a long time. I don’t want to tell her why I left. Nobody ever asked me why at the time. As far as I know, she never even looked at managing her anger, her anger has affected the quality and direction of her life and her sex work relationship. I’ve remarried and for 25 years I have never once had an argument with my wife that came close to what I experienced with my ex. Just the rare minor disagreements or misunderstandings which we have always talked through and resolved. I have a wonderful and deeply satisfying marriage with a beautiful and kind person now. Is it OK to not address Penelope’s request? The thought of complying fills me with anxiety even after 25 years, even though my answer would have been short and simple. I left an abusive relationship and the person who did not believe she was being abusive.
S1: Yeah, I think that you are just dead on. Letter writer. That’s exactly what happened. You left an abusive relationship. You have been able to develop like a peaceful relationship with her. As an ex, you know, she has not addressed her anger in a meaningful way. The thing that she’s asking of you now is not like I thought a lot about what I did. And I need to. I want to apologize to you and try to make it right. Do you want to? It’s very like my therapist and I had decided I’d be better off if I knew exactly why you left me 25 years ago. You’re so on your rights to say I’m not available for that conversation.
S21: Absolutely. It is absolutely OK to say no to this. And I think it’s important to kind of understand in a way that I think you already know that the narrative she’s probably giving her therapist is very different from the narrative. What actually happened? It sounds like that’s the narrative that everyone and your guy’s life has been given. You’re right to assume that this probably wouldn’t be productive. That this probably wouldn’t be a situation grounded in truth. And you’re doing well now. Do you have a new life? You have a new life. It’s going great, you have a peaceful relationship with her and your kids and grandkids. I think it’s fine to say no. Right.
S11: Especially like as you were saying, like the explicit reason that Penelope gave was my therapist. I have agreed it would help me in future relationships. That’s not like it’s instrumentalized thing. It’s I think you can do me a favor. And she’s not prepared to hear actual truth about this. So I think. Absolutely. You don’t have to address it. You can ignore it if you think that she will let it lie.
S1: You can also just say, sorry, I’m not available for that and let that lie. You know, anything that you want or need to say to her to make it clear that you’re not gonna do this is totally, totally fine. I agree. I don’t think it would be safe to have this conversation.
S21: Yeah, and this is not something you’re required to do. And I’m not hearing any of it in the letter. But you also don’t have to go to give the kind of dropped the bomb of truth on her that it was an abusive relationship. If that does not feel healing for you, it doesn’t sound like it will just say no. Keep going. Keep going through your inbox.
S17: One question that I have is like, did you get the impression that the letter writer and Penelope were co-parents? To me, it sounds like the kids are grown. They say there’s. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Parents in grammar, but they are co-parents.
S13: Right. The letter writer was not saying that they are in a they’re co-parents with with the second wife.
S21: Yeah. I think it’s I think I got from and have become proud parents that they were co-parents. Yeah. But again, that’s not explicit in there.
S13: I mean I mean I guess the only thing that I’d want to say in that situation is like. To me, I wonder whether like being able to say in a safe environment to someone. You have a problem with rage and it’s significantly affected my life for decades. Might be the sort of thing that would be useful from a parenting perspective or co-parenting perspective. But as you are both indicating, maybe that ship has already sailed and it’s not really like a co grand parenting thing. Well, Ashleigh, I don’t know. I mean, I would thinking about this now, I’m thinking like I wish someone had told my grandmother that her relation to rage was significant and that she had like a really compulsive relation to rage, because that really did impact my growing up.
S11: Yeah. But they also, you know, that would assume that she’d be prepared to listen to it and would be ready to change.
S19: And she has a therapist. Yeah. I mean, I agree. Like, we’ve got no reason to assume that Penelope is acting in good faith. I would, in fact, seem as you both, I think, do that. She’s not. But, you know, a therapist will be able to use that anyway or a good therapist would be able to maybe get some work done there anyway. Well, this is just like an option. You don’t. I mean, it’s like as everyone else is saying, you know, laterite, it doesn’t have an obligation to do anything here and certainly shouldn’t compromise their own emotional security in order to do so.
S13: And you, a very large writer, is absolutely entitled to their account of this relationship. I mean, it just seems like, you know, that there’s not so much to gain. But, you know, as I’m only speaking as like maybe this is something that you might want to consider. But it’s not an obligation or duty.
S5: Yeah, I think that’s a really important distinction. To that end, it might be helpful to say that she’s been seeing her own therapist for a long time and she’s been in couples therapy with you. I don’t know if you’re seeing a therapist of your own right now, but especially just again, even if you decide never to say anything to Penelope about this. But you’re just aware that you’ve had, I think, what sounds like an episode of PTSD even experiencing increased anxiety. You might want to see a therapist for yourself for a little while and you might want to just explore in therapy. Are there any circumstances under which I would want to say to Penelope, I left our relationship because you were abusive or your rage and your anger and your fury made it impossible to live with you? And again, you might do that imaginative work in therapy, decide not to share it. That would make a ton of sense, but it might just help to process this with somebody else. So I guess Yahoo!
S4: That’s what I was going to say. If you want to investigate the option of doing this. Do this outside of the kind of parameters of this specific request.
S19: That seems good advice to me too. Yeah.
S5: And remind yourself, you have a lot of options if you decide not to share it with Penelope now. But at some point, you know, a year or two years or five years in the future, you feel like you want to say something. You are allowed to the choices to you are all on the table. And it’s just a matter of figuring out what would help me or would feel safe. What would feel empowering. What would feel necessary? What would feel unnecessary? What do I need? And. That that’s really what you should be focusing on. Yeah. Anyways, Jordan, you’re so fantastic.
S6: You are just a joy. You’re both a true pleasure. I’m so happy.
S3: I’m so happy. I hope he gets me in prison soon. I hope so, too. We do. In New York. Yes. Yes. New York. We’re going to do it. It’s gonna be any of trip there. You are fantastic. And the greatest guest in the history of time. And I hope you come back very soon. Okay. Bye. OK, bye. That’s my heart. OK. That’s right. Get out of here. All right. Bye.
S22: Thanks for listening to Dear Prudence. Our producer is Phil Circus. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton.
S23: Don’t miss an episode of the show. Head to Slate dot com slash Dear Prudence to subscribe.
S5: And remember, you can always hear more prudence by joining Slate.
S23: Plus, go to Slate.com slash prudy pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question, call me and leave a message at 4 0 1 3 7 1 dear at 3 3 2 7 and you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don’t have to use your real name or location, and at your request we can even alter the sound of your voice. Keep it short. 30 seconds a minute, tops. Thanks for listening.
S7: And here’s a preview of our Slate Plus episode coming this Friday. One thing they have in common is that they are both jeux when it comes to sexual ethics, like, you know. I don’t know. I kind of get that. But at the same time, like, why are these people still all having family holidays together?
S18: As middle child, it is your responsibility here just to get the heck out of you. That’s why.
S24: Take a vacation. Yeah. And you’re just going to need to like either decide like your sister hasn’t dated, is essentially estranged from the rest of the family. It doesn’t sound like like lashing out in her anger is just sort of like, look, I need I need my space. So, yeah. Either you can say like I am with you, I want to spend time with you. Let’s spend the holidays together. Or you can say, I really wanna get to know this new baby. And I feel like they’re actually good for each other. And I agree that what they did to you is awful. But like, I’m willing to put that to the side to get to know them, to listen to the rest of that conversation.
S1: Joint slate plus now at Slate, dot com forward slash prudy pod.