The “Listen to Me” Edition

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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, prove these things that I should contact him again. Help. Thank you. Thank you.

S3: Hello and welcome back to The Dear Prudence Show once again. And as always, I am your host, Danny and Lavery. With me in the studio this week is Lane Moore, the creator of the hit comedy show Tender Live, where she swipes through tender profiles onstage in front of a live audience. Moore is also the author of the bestselling book How to be Alone If You Want To. And Even If You Don’t and the front person in the band, it was romance. Lane, welcome. Yeah. Thank you so much. I’m excited to finally do you. I am, too. I also love that the title of your book reminds me so much of. Did you ever read Marjorie Hillis is live alone and like it? No. Don’t worry. Came out in 1939.

S4: So very, very loving compared to some of 1939, though. It’s okay with me.

S5: She was the editor of Vogue and she was just like kind of remarkable person, this incredibly snappy, short book. And it’s just like, listen, you are an extra woman. It’s the 1930s. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night, you think there’s a man burglarizing your home while there’s not. Get it together. And it’s very Brisman straight and delightful. Do we know why she got married at 49 and was the happily married for 10 years? So she spent the majority of her life not in a marriage. Forty nine was like a thousand in 1939. And I believe that it was the oldest anyone had ever been at that point. But it’s a fantastic book. I read it for the first time in college and I just found it immensely charming. So interesting. Yeah, you should keep an eye out for it. Sounds great. Okay. Yeah. You can read like a literary ancestor. Yeah. And it’s three pages long. Just like shut up and do it. So this first question, I feel like I’ve been avoiding questions like these like just cause I don’t know anyone who has things like smart speakers. So whenever people write in and like what do I do about this app or the camera on my doorbell or like my garage is alive. And I’m just very little. I don’t know what you mean, but I still have to answer it. So I’m really. You read it? Sure. Beautiful. OK. Common area surveillance with smart speaker. Dear Prudence, I live in an apartment with three roommates. The newest one has taken some liberty is adding things to the common spaces. You can all already feel the ridge to the common spaces now consulting the group, but I haven’t spoken up about it and focus my energy on keeping my room in the way I want it. Recently, however, they’ve added a smart speaker to the kitchen. The corporation gives these speakers away for free, and I. It’s been wildly reported. Sorry. It’s been widely reported that they listen in on users and collect their data. I have no issue with my roommate using one of these speakers in their own room, but frankly, I feel uncomfortable and violated having this in the common space. I’m pretty sure my roommate thought they were doing the house a favor by adding this, so I’m not sure how I can voice my concerns about sound paranoid or pretentious. Am I crazy for wanting to veto smart speakers in the common areas? Do you have any advice on how I could approach this tactfully with my roommate?

S3: It strikes me as perfectly reasonable to have a privacy concern. I think so, too. With that in itself, crazy. Fine. I just want to like add the caveat that like, I don’t know to what extent this speaker like is activated when someone hasn’t said awake word. I don’t know where we stand right now on like exactly how bad all the privacy violations are. So, yeah, I don’t want to encourage necessarily like unnecessary panic, but it is unbelievably reasonable to say like, hey, I’m not super comfortable. Not even super that don’t you don’t cut yourself that much because you like. I’m not comfortable having a smart speaker in the kitchen. Can you please make sure it’s not in the common area?

S6: That’s a reasonable medical care because we don’t know what it’s doing.

S7: I don’t know. I don’t think it’s that it’s that weird. And I think so. I’ve avoid getting avoided getting one of these very similar. Just like I know. I don’t know. adria’s board, just like I’ve never needed it. My phone is pretty quickly. I’m not having them any time delays. But I had a roommate who had one in his room and I was always freaked out by. But it was in his room or whatever. And. But if you feel uncomfortable, I think just in general, if there’s something you feel uncomfortable about in your home. Like I I used to get really freaked out on an old apartment I lived in when when the room next to me would shut the door. It sounded so loud in my room and it would make my whole body shake. And so I asked my roommate, like, could you just like, turn the handle and close it quietly? And they got so mad. And I was like, I’m allowed to say there are certain things that aren’t gonna cost you anything that would make me feel better.

S3: You can say. Yeah, I just want to Jimmy like. I think they like the the like Zakk Gacy tag of smart speakers maybe like is kind of a red herring because this is basically just. Can I talk to my house man. Yeah. Things we do in the common area together. Right. Even if they had probably nice intentions and the like.

S7: Of course you live with you like you have to be able to. If you can’t then like. Precisely. I think that this speaks to like a larger fear of conflict. Yeah. And that line like I eat also I might. My guess is that this is like an earlier in life living situations.

S8: Okay. Remember how I fought with my siblings when we lived together? Yeah. I don’t want to treat other people like that. I like I know I can’t just like like punch someone in the arm and be like, get the fuck out of my room. Yeah, but what do I do then?

S7: I think it’s an exact I mean not that everyone hates their siblings. And you say but like the. Do you have any advice on how I can approach this tactfully. Like this is somebody who is like you sound like a thoughtful person if you’re listening to this. You sound like a thoughtful person. You sound like somebody who’s. I mean, you really like you wrote a lot.

S4: Like I see a little bit of myself in this. Like how much this person wrote or is like, first of all. But then like also and I also want to hold space for all the things that person went through to like try and think if they were being unreasonable. And like everything you said here, I mean, you don’t have to say this much, but like you could kind of read this in a way like, frankly, I feel uncomfortable in this way. OK.

S9: And you you do not have to like go into extensive detail about your concerns. You just say, I have some privacy concerns. Yeah. If your roommate, like, followed that up with, well, what do you mean list them all? That would be surprisingly antagonistic. Yeah, I think you can assume if this person is generally friendly and well-meaning that they would just say, oh, that hadn’t occurred to me, but it makes sense. I will move it. Or even if they’re like I really like using it when I’m cooking, you can say like that makes sense. But if I’m ever in the kitchen by myself, I’d like to turn it off or like, move it.

S10: Yeah. That’s what it is. It’s just like, I don’t know how to turn it off online. That’s fine.

S6: Even though I have a feeling that listening when they’re off anyway. Does that really work? We can. Yeah.

S3: I mean there’s like I don’t know if I’ll get a job like there is a little bit of electrical tape over your laptop. Sir. Your your camera laptop. And then there’s like you can certainly go too far. You can make it but you can also make that case.

S10: I don’t know. You could also make that case for like your phone is probably listening all the time. Like we don’t know.

S11: Anyway, I think that it comes down to like like you were both like no one could possibly know that. I’m sure there’s someone who’s just more tech savvy who’s like screaming at their headphones right now. Like, you can figure that out.

S12: I’m sure they are. But it’s just like I think I think the the collective thing that we’ve come to is just like regardless of like we don’t know anything about Somare’s because neither one of us does. I’m a little himbo. I don’t know anything about it. But you’re allowed to say I didn’t like it. Can we do something else? Gracelyn.

S1: Great. This next one. I also found very sweet and kind of charming thoughts. I kind of wanted to be like, congratulations, you kind of have a daddy. But also maybe you actually just kind of have like an attentive, casual ish partner. But anyways, yeah, it’s my turn. I’ll read it. Subject. How much is too much? Dear Prudence, I’m a guy in my 30s who met a woman on a dating app about four months ago after a breakup. Things are going well and we’re getting really close. We’re not officially dating, though. I think she would be interested, but she’s expressed that for now. She’s fine with how things are. She’s a great woman, adorable and funny and smart. She’s also extremely generous, which is throwing me for a loop. I work a lot and one of my gigs. This is an unpaid intern, so I have very little money. If we only have time to meet up for a short while after work, she will offer to call me a car. Since neither of us have cars and public transit takes so much longer. She’s done this a handful of times. We went to see a movie once and she paid and she’s gotten dinner and or drinks many evenings. When she picks up a treat from the store for her dog. She gets mine one that’s so like Rebecca and l.a’s are at the well. It’s really old man. I will water your camera here this week. All of those are small, but she’s also offered bigger things. When I had the flu and needed to see a doctor but couldn’t afford it, she said that if I couldn’t get in at the free clinic I was trying to get into that I should make an urgent care appointment and she would pay. Honestly, as sick as I was, I needed that offer and I don’t know what I would have done if the clinic hadn’t worked and I hadn’t had that choice to fall back on. She later brought me soup and Nyquil. I’m so grateful for the care that she shows me. But how much is too much? My other friends don’t offer these things, and she stands out for always being willing to show up. But not even my ex’s have done so much for me. I’m worried I might take advantage of her chi nature since I’m not ready for a relationship and don’t think I can commit to what she might want. Even when I am, I really just don’t know right now as I’ve been in long term relationships for so many years and I’m still sorting myself out.

S13: She didn’t have a lot of money herself, but doesn’t bat an eye when offering to treat or be kind. Is her behavior off or am I just used to lokey jerks? When is it okay for me to accept her generosity? So many thoughts. I have a lot of them. My first thought is just like this is why we fucking need Medicare for all that. That’s also true in a fucking position of like I’m so sick, I might need to go to urgent care and I don’t know how I’m gonna pay for it. Right. And if I weren’t dating someone like generous and with like spare cash right now. Yeah. I would just have to like pass out on the floor of the free clinic. Right.

S4: And now because I’m sick and we don’t have a common healthcare system, I have to ask this woman who owes relationships, that is I am not sure of. Right now I have to have a conversation about a relationship. This is why we need Medicaid. We really fucking do. We do like the right to allocate their partner. Let’s. All right. That one day. Yeah. We got a free to break on any without worrying. Will I be able to go to the doctor. Yo. So walk me through some of your thoughts here.

S7: I have a couple of thoughts and some of these you know are my own takes on things. But like I always think it’s and this is irrelevant to this person’s question, first of all. But the like, we’ve been dating for four months and we’re not officially dating.

S4: I’m just like, oh, I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted. Why? I mean, I I got it. Like everybody’s allowed to do what they want with relationships. It’s just that.

S7: But I just wish you could say something like we’re not exclusive and rightly dating. Hi. It’s still this fuzzy thing. Like because just like the way this person gets through the rest of this sounds like everyone feels fuzzy about this. And that’s the reason that I was like, I’m exhausted by this because this guy is saying, like, I’m worried I might take advantage of her. I’m not really ready for a relationship. Like she says she’s okay with this, but I feel like she might want one. Like there’s just a lot of uncertainty about this. And also it struck me as weird the like. I’m worried I might take advantage of her kind of nature. I’ve never really I don’t know where that stems from.

S14: So I think what this is for me is it speaks of the fact that, like, you guys need to have a conversation. It doesn’t sound to me it’s another red herring, one where it doesn’t sound like the question is really about like, is it OK that she buys me stuff? Because if you assume that someone like I relate to this a lot in that lake, it was only this year that I’ve like let anybody be really kind to me and like, take care of me and offer things and felt like I deserved them and I was allowed to have them instead of just being this like give, give, give until you pass out on the ground person that I had been socialized to be since I was a child.

S15: So if I felt like this was about that, then I would address that. But I don’t think it is. I think it comes down to the fact that. This guy doesn’t really want much from this woman, and it seems like she might want more. That’s what I’m hearing from this. Yeah.

S8: My thought here is like nothing that you’ve described here sounds so outrageous that I’m like, oh, she’s trying to bypass normal intimacy like protocols by trying to like by your trust or something. Like she buys you dinner cause she knows she has more money than you. Sometimes she calls you a car because she doesn’t want you to spend two hours on the bus going on a date, which is sweet. So, you know, unless and until she’s doing something where, you know, like she’s only going to have to eat rice this week because she bought me a hat or something. I think you can just let yourself enjoy the fact that you’re dating a generous woman who’s got some cash to throw around. It’s kind of hot. It’s kind of hot. And someone’s like told I’m like, I’m gonna get you a card. Like, hell. Yeah. Thank you.

S7: Oh, it’s extreme. It’s extreme. Like the first thing I thought when I read this was like, if you don’t want this woman, I will take her leave. I was the first thing I thought of. All right. It sounds like my dream girlfriend. Yes, please. I don’t know the thing that stands out to me the most and this is truly be like, I’m worried. I’m taking advantage of this person. I’m not really ready for all of this. Like, that’s what I hear. That was the same line that I got right. Like most interested in me. And I feel like the solution to that anxiety is, yeah, you cannot take advantage of her if she knows what you want. That’s exactly what I’m saying. All all of this is just just speaks to the fact that like if you if you really are open, you have an open conversation because that’ll bring things up and you’re like, hey, straight up. This is where I’m at right now. We’ve kind of said this, let’s say it more expressly and like openly share our feeling.

S3: And again, like you’ll need to kind of be honest with yourself ahead of time. Yeah. For you had this conversation, but I don’t think you necessarily have to frame it as like here are all the things I can’t give you. Do you think you’re okay with that? Yeah. Yeah, like I think there’s a lot of good here and that. So you can say like I’ve been loving seeing each other. I see. I really enjoy everything that we’re doing. I have no interest in changing any of this. Aside from just like I love how much we see each other. I love the ways in which we are close currently. I’m really happy with the status quo and that’s what I would want to go on. I am not interested in like an exclusive long term relationship. Does that sound good to you? How do you feel about that? We’re at a four month mark, right. Let’s check in if that sounds awful to you. Let’s figure that out now. Right. And then it’s up. It’s up to her, too. It’s up to her to state that.

S14: Because what I got from what I got from this is is at one point he said something like, you know, she said that that’s okay with her. But then he later says, like, I don’t even think I can do that even when I’m ready for that. So you might have a situation where and it sounds like he has a feeling he has a situation where she’s like, oh, this person will like want a relationship eventually. And I’m just going to like be chill with it. Like that’s what it sounds like it might be. So if you clarify that, you won’t feel like you’re taking advantage of somebody because somebody has all the facts and then they’re free to be as generous as they want.

S16: And I do think you should take her at her word. Yeah. If she’s like, no, I’m genuinely enjoying this, too. Don’t worry about the money. It makes me happy. I love the time we spend together. Let’s keep taking things one day at a time. Fabulous. And if she says, you know, this is a helpful, like moment to stop and take stock, I actually, now that I think about it, am developing more serious feeling, Ray. And I think if you don’t want the same things I want, it’s probably better to part ways now and then, like calling more because I found that amazing. Yeah.

S12: And then she said, give Lana call and I won’t let. Does the savings you square off. Let’s just say it’s a good thing. I mean you know, but let’s go ahead and say women buying soup is queer. That’s all I’m saying. I’ll just say it’s a lot of queerness in this woman. I love the idea of like testing out with like a friend like, oh does she buy soup? Yeah. You know what I mean? You got it. Just give me a couple zoop. Oh a couple. Oh I get it. Lenthall. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. She said it was OK. So this next one short and yet rich. Rich. You ready. Literally rich and figuratively. Roads. Okay. Subject. Wedding gift. I’m going to read this in like a specific voice. Good goodas think it. It’s begging for rain.

S17: I am begging you. Good day, dear Prudence. A good friend of mine is getting married to a guy who can’t manage money. He frequently maxed out credit cards and generally can not be trusted with money. I want to support my friend, but I hate the idea of contributing to his bad habits. She’s expecting cash gifts at our wedding to help pay down her debt. His dad rarely. But I don’t know how much to give. For what it’s worth, my husband and I could easily afford a larger monetary gift.

S9: I just needed to know after hearing that voice. If that woman does call, I will delete her voicemail and fight her for you. Thank you. So thank you so much. That was beautiful. It just felt like gathering up or needed to go. Manary. I felt like Katharine Hepburn just like pushed me into a river in Connecticut and I was like, swim back for breakfast. I’ll see you in the morning. You you make it out. If only she was still alive. So she could bully me? No. Sorry, Kate, I’m here. I’ll do it. Yeah. You can do a lot less here, I think. Letter writer. Not like give left, like pick an amount of money you want to give your friend and let her and her husband worry about the fact that they’re bad with money.

S15: That’s true. I just this just sounds exhausting. Like that’s gotta be it’s gotta be frustrating to like know to feel to feel like because I don’t know if you can know. But like to feel like this is your friends getting taken advantage of.

S1: But like you, I think it’s worth saying, like absent anything here, that’s like I believe he’s abusive towards her. Yeah. I think you can frankly say these are her bad habits, too. And also, like she is making a choice. It’s not the worst moral thing in the world to be a big spender. Like, I get that it’s worrying and it’s not what you want. And if you two are very close, you might at some point ask her, like how she’s doing with all of that. But you genuinely just ask and like let her figure out how she wants to handle that. If if her choice is to marry this guy who’s bad with money and to say have my credit cards, like, yeah, she can deal with that.

S7: It’s just because it’s like, what are you going to do? Otherwise, are you gonna like hand it to her, like, sneak it to her at her wedding when she’s like in her wedding dress me like this is just for you.

S1: I mean, mad money. You can definitely try to bring that back. But again, absent like if you thought I genuinely believe he manipulates and mistreats her in order to force her to give him money, then there would be a way other. Yeah. That’s a different. But if it’s just little like he is a spendthrift and part of what she gets out of this relationship is that she wants to be like part of that process and she wants to give him her credit cards again.

S6: That might be their dynamic. I don’t know. Maybe you get off on it. You don’t know that.

S9: Maybe it’s like maybe he’s just like, Mom, I need some Sue. And she’s like, I love to make you. So I’m gonna give you that. Suze, I got your soup. I got your soup. Yeah. Give her whatever amount of money you are willing to, like, just lose. Like you’re giving it away as a gift and you just don’t get to know what she’s gonna spend on it.

S1: Yeah. Also like. I just want to put in a plug for she’s expecting cash gifts like let’s all bear in mind that gifts are still gifts. So like you can still you know, it’s fine to say like that you have a registry that you’d prefer one type of gift over the other. But like, it’s not literally like everyone has to slap five hundred dollars into her hand or else they’re being bad friends. Yeah. You can get a gift if you’d rather get a gift.

S3: I think I realize that there are other people who would disagree, but I feel like you can’t dictate to your guests exactly what kind of. Yeah, just like. So I think that the point of this and the conclusion you’ve both come to at the same page is just buy her a horse, exact or worse. Absolutely. I’m sure she could use a lot sables at least until she had stables. I’m trying so hard not to make like a stay stability joke. And I just think, like, it’s not just his bad habits, it’s their bad habits. If you don’t want to give her money, get her something else. Yeah. If all else fails, buy them a horse. Right. Exactly. Because they said a larger monetary gift. I would say that the horse first thing I thought of was horse absolu. Absolutely. I wonder too if just like getting everyone a horse would have solved everyone’s problems in today’s show, you have to wonder. That’s the real question. I think we’ll see. We’ll see. Definitely. Maybe the cigarettes one.

S6: But not this one. Not this one. Would you know? It’s funny. Yeah, I’m gonna read it in that voice again because I’m realizing this is another one that would benefit from it because it is so like 1940 used in a way.

S18: I invite you to speak in that voice as often as you like. Good. Many past partners have also invited to go, and I love it. Everything so subject. This is the new world. Dear Prudence, I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a few months and it’s starting to get serious. I’m ready to introduce him to my parents, but I’m nervous about one thing. My mom is from a very old fashioned British family. Well, maybe I should be British. Now this time. And table manners are very important to her. My boyfriend’s table manners are perfectly fine by any normal standard. He doesn’t reach across the table or chew with his mouth open. But there are little things that my mother will definitely pick up on. For example, he doesn’t put is not good in his lap. This really doesn’t bother me at all when we’re dining together. My mom would also never bring it up with me or admit to judging a person based on something like this. If I brought it up first, so I’m not sure addressing it directly with her is the right move. But I know from previous experience that she would notice and it would impact her opinion of him.

S19: I feel super elitist and Eurocentric for even writing this, but I really, really want my parents to like him. What should I do? Is there a tactful way for me to coach him a little bit before any do get together involving food? Should I just completely ignore it and hope for the best?

S20: It really needed it. I just wanna take a minute.

S19: Can you see this?

S4: Like, no phones, like this person’s problems are very real to them.

S7: I would kill for a relationship or this was my largest issue and it’s only been eight months. Ideally, that is the level of problem you have a couple months. That is ideal.

S9: I do think I’m not experts jaundiced by this column where like it’s always like I’m a couple months in and he blew up the moon. But hopefully these are the level of problem. And I actually do think there’s a little bit more to it than just the napkin thing. I’m sure it’s because the crown is is essentially. I like my boyfriend a lot. Is it okay for me to pre-emptively tell him to work really hard to please my parents? Because I fundamentally think of my parents as like the real authority in my adult life rather than this is my life. And I want to invite my parents to see it and be a part of it. Right. I think it’s in loose in their own preconceptions about what this person is based on. A few things that don’t ultimately show how good of a person someone is. Right. I mean, that said, I don’t know what he does with his napkin either, because like if he talks it into his collar, that’s a little goofy. But if he just leaves it on the table, like, what’s his napkin doing?

S15: What’s this? What’s this problem? And also, I don’t know. I mean, I think I’m somebody who ideally and I say ideally, because I don’t I haven’t always done this, but ideally as variants like radical honesty in my in my relationships, I just really like it. If you’re able to do it.

S3: So, like, I guess I just wish that, like, if you been dating this person a couple months, that you could have a conversation where you could just straight up say, like, hey, I’m about to tell you something that is so silly. And like, I know that it is it will get here every second. My parents really love table manners. They’re gonna want you to put your napkin in your lap. Can you pretend you’re in like Pretty Woman or so? Just say you’re happy in your lap. You’re not you to have a mental fantasy in order to do it. You know what I mean? It’s just like just just like I’m taking. I guess I guess making a joke about I mean, like you could make a joke. That’s just like, I know this is silly. And you’re having dinner with people who, like, really love table manners or just pretend this is like some silly thing, like whatever. You don’t have to say that because I don’t mean to literally pretend that. But just like my parents are a little bit old fashioned and like this is what they like. Can you just do this even though I truly don’t care?

S1: Yeah. So I’m right there with you. I think like on the one hand on the scale of the napkin thing. Absolutely. It is fine. There’s nothing weird about you like encouraging someone to adhere to basic table manners, like putting a napkin in your lap. That’s fine. It doesn’t hurt him. You’re not asking him to like changes now herself, like he can put a napkin in his lap. But I think the more interesting question and you don’t have to have an answer to this right away, I think is like my. This doesn’t bother me when my mom’s not around. I know it would bother my mom. I know my mom would never tell me it would bother her. I know she wouldn’t even admit that it bothered her. If I pushed her on it. Yeah. So the degree to which you have like internalized fears about your mom’s like deeply repressed emotional reactions to someone else and the way that you feel like such anxiety about managing them again. That that strikes me as like I get it. We’re all as we grow up concerned about our relationship to our parents and like how do we deal with even the specter of their disappointment or disapproval? But so I would just say, you know, what would dinner with my boyfriend and my parents look like if I thought.

S3: Sometimes my mom is judgmental and she gets to figure out how to deal with that rather than how do I make sure my boyfriend doesn’t fuck up. Right. And then yeah. And then ruin it for my mom, whose emotions all then be responsible for.

S15: Yeah. I think that that’s I think that’s that’s very apt because it does sound. And also reader I.

S3: I didn’t mean to insult you anyway by putting on Katharine Hepburn voice for this, but these are very Emma problems that I think are very funny. Yeah, I know they’re not funny to you, but they’re only not funny to you because you have a lot tied up in what your mom thinks, which is extremely relatable. And I think you feel probably responsible for your parents emotions, which is also very relatable and co-dependent. And I get it. But I think it’s also going to be good for you throughout the course of this relationship, throughout the course of any future relationships, whether or not you stay with this guy for the rest, your life or not is going to be figuring out how do I live my life in such a way that chasing my mom’s approval is not my only or primary goal. And I don’t say that to suggest, like, you must be a real momma’s girl. I just mean, I think it will be good. No. Be aware of this tendency within yourself and say like because it sounds painful. Yeah, I know it’s painful. Yeah. That kind of like I. A part of me knows I’ll be monitoring my boyfriend the whole time through my mother’s eyes. Emet like worrying about when’s he going to do something that like quietly and privately bothers her, which is awful. Because then that’s like. That’s not a fun dinner for you.

S14: You’re worried about how if she’s going to say anything, if she’s going to feel like it’s just monitoring someone’s emotions that way is so exhausting. And I extremely, extremely, extremely relate to it, especially if this is someone that you’re really who you really like. So I don’t know. I think that exactly. I think maybe then just the addressing how that feels within you and how much co-dependency you might have with your mom, because a big thing for me that I had learned is when we talk about codependency, we think it means that you can’t live without another person and so much more often. And this was huge for me to realize. It means that my feelings are directly related to your feelings about me and things I’m doing. And that is the larger problem with codependency. That’s like, oh, no. Whatever reaction I have is based on the reaction that my mom has or my dad.

S15: And that’s so much more of what it is, really just something to think about.

S13: All right. So I’m excited for this next one because I just have a quick answer. But I think it’s your turn to read it or did. No, you read the last one, right? Yeah. You don’t take the fantastic. Great. Now the subject is can’t buy cigarettes, dear prudence. Suddenly I’m too young to buy cigarettes. My husband. Yes. The irony refuses to buy them for me. I told him that if I get too desperate, I might have to get a fake I.D. or steal cigarettes from somewhere. But he’s willing to risk my going to jail. How can I convince them to help? Should I deny him sex hide his motorcycle keys? I will begin by saying I felt like the last two lines were tongue in cheek. Yeah, totally. It definitely did not strike me as like this was a totally straightforward suggestion. But I will just say if it would bring you joy to enter into like sex freeze out in order to get cigarettes, I guess you could. That sounds pretty miserable.

S9: Although I do understand this letter at all, if you like telling her like you can’t buy cigarettes anymore, you too. I don’t understand why you not hurt. There’s a new federal law. You literally now have to be 21 to buy cigarettes. It was signed into law. That makes so much more. I’m like, what? How were you know, I didn’t know that. Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. Yes. For context, listeners, anyone who is not aware it is now the law federally. OK. You have to be 21 to buy cigarettes. All right. Yes. That’s why I was just like. Is this even a real email? Like, what does this even mean? I see. Okay. And part of why I think it’s your confusion is shared by many others. The rollout of this law has been, you know, like many things out of this administration. Abrupt and confusing.

S3: A number of states have been sort of like, wait, what’s going on? When does the start? Right. Okay. All right. Good. No more buying on us. We’re all aware. It’s better not to smoke than to smoke. Yeah. And there are also lots of reasons that people choose to take the risk of smoking. And I’m just gonna trust that this letter writer is you know, they’re not asking me for advice on how to quit. They’re asking me for advice about how to get cigarettes now that they are older than 18, but younger than 21 and married, which, you know. Good luck and married. And your husband has a motorcycle and you’ve at least thought about a sex boycott before. Like you’ve had a very interesting life. Yeah, I like your life. Dope.

S20: I mean it, I guess.

S7: I mean, if I were to give a more serious answer this now that I have that information that makes this actually make sense to me.

S15: It’s like I guess he’s not buying them for you because he’s like concerned about your health. Which I get. But like, that’s not going to make you well. Yeah.

S16: So to that I would just say I don’t think you should waste your time trying to convince your husband he should do this for you. I think you should figure out how to get your own cigarettes. Yeah. So whether that means taking a trip up to Canada or out of the country to pick some up or ask asking older and younger than you to buy them for you.

S10: And a fun uncle is a fun and you got a fun ass life. I’m just reading this email. My. That’s the cigarette, the motorcycle, the 8:54.

S3: Yeah. You know, some cool people. Yeah. I came out of the equation ordering them online. Yeah. Cause he’s not saying he’s going to leave them. He’s going to leave you if you smoke again. He’s just like I don’t wanna buy those for you. Yeah but absolutely. Like get your do what you need to do to get your own cigarettes up to and including like breaking the law. I don’t know what to say about that. Yeah. I just I don’t feel strongly that that’s a law you need to like start worrying about. No, I don’t think so. I feel OK receiving criticism on this one. Yeah. Do you think you will? I mean, again, like I. I get that cigarettes are very bad for your health. They’re bad for the environment. There’s lots of great reasons not to smoke. But this is something that she wants. It’s so it’s like, yeah, it’s it’s tough. I hear you have also been quitting smoking since I was like fifteen. Yeah. And one of the things that I’m very aware of is like it is hard to. It is incredibly hard to quit smoking. Yeah. And often there’s something that smoking does for you. That’s like, yeah, there are long term really bad health side effects and she should be allowed to decide when she wants to quit. But there’s also like a lot of ways in which cigarettes like can provide you with a lot of benefits that have been very hard for me to give up. So to totally.

S14: Well, that’s what I mean. And that’s what I’m. There’s something that she’s getting out of this. It’s like I have a lot of like sober friends. And it’s like the last thing that they give up is cigarettes, because there’s something that’s like keeping those low, like. If this is something that’s like keeping her mental health in check for right now or even just brings her simple joy.

S11: I like it at all. Yeah. Say, what brings her joy? There’s plenty of things that I do that aren’t great for me. But like, I think that’s I think that’s part of why I feel so like. Just get them however you have. Yeah. I feel like we all make a lot of tradeoffs. Life’s really fucking hard. Yes.

S8: Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult. I don’t think the like right approach is for just like, you know, the age to suddenly jump up three years and for you to be thrown into withdrawal. Wishing nicotine withdrawal on any party. No. And I want you to get your cigarettes for as long as you need them. Seriously?

S1: You know, this next one sucks. I am sad about this one. This is a genuinely shitty situation. I’m really sorry.

S7: It really is. Which is why I will not use the voice. That’s why it’s subject F. I’ll feel it.

S21: Dear Prudence, I met my fiance’s parents for the first time in August. They’re from another country. It took a day for both of them to warm up to me, which I chalked up to cultural differences. I was cooking in the kitchen with my future father in law, came in to check on things. He was looking over my shoulder and I thought I felt him run his hand over my backside. I jumped a little, but he had no reaction at all. So I brush it off thinking maybe he had just bumped into me. Fast forward to Christmas. We went to their country for the holidays and I was helping my future mother in law with getting the table set, etc. My future father in law came up behind me and grabbed my ass. There was no mistaking it this time. My fiancee is in the kitchen with my mother in law and I was so startled by handful of plates that I didn’t know what to do. I made sure to avoid being alone with him the whole next week. How on earth do I approach this? I don’t want to overreact, but I know that last incident was intentional. Do I approach it straight with him? Ask my fiance and intervene. I hate this so much. I hear so much. I hate it so much.

S3: I hate everything. Kind of sucks. I’m so sorry. You are not overreacting. Nope, not at all. Not even a little. Every time was in time I was gonna say every single time was intentional.

S14: And it’s it sucks that you have to weigh that now. Yeah, but it was. And the thing is I’m I let. I want to cry because I know why I might cry. Because I know why you don’t.

S3: I know why. Like you want to make it at this time with attention. The last time was it because it hurts more. They were both intentional. Like my heart breaks while you’re doing that. Yeah, it sucks because it’s so much easier to just like think the one time was intentional on the other one was a one who somehow hurts way more. Right. And that even just the beginning of like I was cooking and my future father in law came in to check in on me. You know, like just already this dynamic of like women in the kitchen. Yep.

S1: Like paterfamilias is going to like pop in periodically to say, like, how about a little chickies and like grab a glass and just like that. One thing that I’m glad of is that you end with saying, do I ask my fiancee to intervene, which at least suggests to me that you believe that your fiancee would be on your side. Yes. And so. Yes. But like more even more than that. Like to not be around your in-laws. I think that’s a really bright, hard line you should like.

S3: I got to say and again, like I know I’m coming to this as somebody who like recently cut off their entire family of origin for like unbelievably painful but important and necessary reason. Somebody who wrote a book about doing that.

S6: We’re talking to you. Is that me? That’s me alone is so much about that, because I was like, hang on my books. Not about that. Yeah.

S10: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I was bringing mine into this. No. Good. I’m glad that you did. Yeah. My life. But like so much of how to be alone is about like if you don’t have the family that you’re supposed to have in your family, it’s unsafe. And like, what do you do and how lonely that is?

S1: I gotta say, you know, this is like a kind of a classic trope in like romantic comedies because it is like you you put up on the screen. If a future father in law does this, everyone in the audience boos and hisses. Yeah. Because everyone gets like this is the end of your relationship with your father? Yeah. Like, if your fiance’s response to this is anything other than my father sexually assaulted my fiance, say, while we were visiting. My father is a person who is not trustworthy, honorable, kind, loving. Twice, straight, twice. Like I cannot be in a relationship with my father and I like need to keep my fiancee. The letter writers say from him. Yeah. Your fiance’s response is anything less than that. If there’s hesitation. If there’s. Are you sure? Yeah. Yeah. I’m sure you just misunderstood. Like you’re getting married. This isn’t a new relationship, right? Maybe you forgot where your ass was. Well, if it’s any of that, he is handing you a red flag that you can’t trust him. The biggest red flag.

S14: And at that point, I would say like fucking Ron and like even beyond that, he is also like completely comfortable, like it’s a red flag. But it’s also like he’s showing you what the rest of your relationship is going to look like. And that is going to be a Bugsy’s enters. He makes you go to and puts you in an unsafe situation or let’s say let’s say, OK, that like this guy, which it’s a guarantee. Now we know he’s done it twice, that he’s gonna do it again or once do it again is might do something worse. God forbid he is putting you in a situation where like even if he never did any of these things again, you have to relive the fact that he did everything on time.

S16: You see him and you have to deal. I feel that way. And you have to feel uncomfortable so that he can feel comfortable, you know, and like you literally like the imaginary man unable to do anything in that moment cause your hands were full of dishes in fury. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Infuriates me. So, like, you’re straight up 3 level. There’s no overreacting here. You’re right. I mean, like, I don’t think it’s likely that you’re gonna, like, smash a plate over his head so short of committing like an act of like violence unprovoked, you know, and the overreacting category. And also, like, it breaks my heart. And again, I relate to it more than I want to. And I think so many people do that like, oh, I don’t want to overreact about this, like super horrible thing, because the fear is if I if I maintain is a really strong boundary here, how other people try to talk me out of it. Absolutely. And it would be so much. More painful to see my fiancee say. Hey, can you actually, like, find a way to be cool with the fact that my dad’s going to grab your ass sometimes as you are? That’s the way it is.

S1: Or like because I knew he would reveal himself to be a coward. I also feel like I also feel. Yeah. I don’t know. I just. I hope your fiancee is great about this. I hope it is. I do not feel like you have to broach it with the with your future father, who will hopefully never be your father in law.

S16: Like, I do not have a lot. He knows what he did. Yeah. Like there’s a reason he and grab your ass in front of his son. Oh yeah. Because he knows that it’s not at all his old boy. His wife. Yeah. Like he knows he grabbed your ass. He knows he did it repeatedly. He knows he waited until you were alone and holding a bunch of fucking dishes for his dinner which is the most painful part because it’s way easier to just feel like maybe he was confused like that. I took a.. Maybe he just thought it was friendly, like. Nope. Right.

S10: Nope.

S14: I took a self-defense class a couple of years ago and one of the most powerful things that came out of it is they had us do this exercise where, like, you just keep coming toward someone even though they’re saying no. And I will never forget it. The reason it was powerful is because they had found that most women would tell themselves, oh, they didn’t know. They’re making me uncomfortable. But when they put us in the situation where we were, the one who was pushing was almost saying, no, they were like, you all felt uncomfortable. That was right. Like there was no part of you that was confused or couldn’t read it. They were like, we do this because we want you to know the person who does things like this, who crosses boundaries, absolutely knows they’re doing it right.

S16: This is not a grey area. This is not a moment of mixed messages or crossed signals. So you can’t overreact to that. It was a gentleman that you because you’re marrying his son and he grabbed your ass while you were making him dinner. This is as unambiguous a boundary violation as it is possible to be. He is not a good guy.

S1: Yeah. And you don’t owe him shit? No, not at all. You don’t owe him politeness. You don’t owe him laughing it off. You don’t owe him the excuse of he didn’t know what he was doing. You don’t owe him a third opportunity to grab your ass.

S7: No, you owe him nothing. And also, like, if I. OK. However, however you broach this with your fiance, say is is perfect. I would say, however, you’re able to find these words. However. I would love it if you are able to do it in the way that like so few people have been able to do it because it’s so easy to want to do this and be like, hey, kind of weird, like, it’s so easy. I want to do that. We downplay it, don’t downplay it. And I mean, don’t beat yourself up again. You know, if you have to. But like, man, if you can find it within yourself to be able to be like this happened, and if you need to cry, you cry if you like. But don’t.

S20: If you can’t. If you can.

S7: Don’t you know, make it so that you’re like, oh, it’s fine, like this hurt you. This has been harmful to you. And if you’re gonna have an open relationship with this person, an honest relationship with this person, you need them to know that, like this is weighing on you. So if you can, don’t do it like a kind of do this thing. And I’m sure it wasn’t whatever. Like, you know, don’t doses what happened. Yeah, I’m playing it.

S9: Just an an encouragement is gentle encouragement. Yeah. And seriously, sorry, this looks lame. Thank you so much. Shrink you for coming on this show and for bringing Katharine Hepburn with you. Absolutely. Anytime. I’m extremely grateful to you.

S22: Thanks for listening to Dear Prudence, our producers still circus our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton. Don’t miss an episode of the show. Head to, slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember, you can always hear more prudence by joining Slate.

S23: Plus, go to slash pretty 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. That’s 3 3 2 7. 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.

S1: And here’s a preview of our Slate Plus episode coming this Friday.

S11: Problem is, Ryan, man, yeah, your problem is Ryan, who sounds like the most spineless motherfucker on like at least Caitlin seems alive. Yeah. I mean, this is a guy, Maggie, the cat is alive situation. Ryan’s there. Ryan’s just like, hey, move in. You’re not on the lease, but I do need you to make rent. So like you are running a risk because I could kick you out at anytime, but I’m not willing to like put in writing the things that we owe one another. I’m just going to like leave the house all the time and not set appropriate boundaries with either you or my girlfriends.

S8: The two of you just fight when I’m not around. Yeah, but like, don’t get me involved with your personal drama. I’m just trying to, like, work a lot more than to listen to the rest of that conversation.

S1: Joint slate plus now at Slate, dot com forward slash prudy pod.