#dearprudence

I got this, Pru

Q. My just turned 18-year-old son, who is a senior in high school and lives at home, recently came home and told me he has his first girlfriend and that he is in love. He said she is older than he is. He looks a bit older than 18. Turns out his new love is 48 years old. That is a year older than me. I met her, and she is actually very nice and in love with my son. If I had grown up in this town, we would have been in school together and likely best friends. She is not his teacher or in any position that would be suspect. They simply met in a cafe and fell in Love. Is this OK?

A. Not really, no. Again, why has no one read Oedipus Rex?! More importantly, why on Earth would a 48 year old woman be interested in an 18 year old kid? 18 year old males are at the same maturity level as 14 year old girls. I’m not exactly sure what you can do about this situation considering the fact that he’s no longer a minor and if you tried to, say, take away his allowance, his new girlfriend could just step in. Let’s put it this way: no woman who is over the age of 21 and in her right mind would want to date an 18 year old guy. Ergo, she’s nuts. Try to have her committed.

Q. I recently lost my house after losing my job and being unable to keep up with the payments. A distant relative graciously let my teenage daughter and myself move in with them and work on their family farm. I sold a large share of my belongings and moved 1,000 miles to their place. Now for the problem; I saw their teenage son and his friend engaging in sex acts with the livestock. I’m mortified! I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I should talk to his parents or not. This is now my place to live and my employment, but I can’t imagine staying here, whether I tell them or not. I don’t want my daughter around these boys, but I don’t have the means to move again or belongings to furnish it, not to mention how that would affect my daughter.

A. Run like the damn wind. Run and don’t look back.

Q. Last Valentine’s Day my boyfriend proposed to me very publicly. I was completely shocked and said yes, when in private I would have told him no. I am totally not ready for marriage, but I didn’t want to humiliate him. Afterward, I explained I wasn’t ready but was keen to talk about it in a few months. I suggested we tell our family and friends that we came to a mutual decision to postpone an engagement due to personal reasons. My boyfriend immediately became upset and said I was dishonest with him by saying yes in the first place. But I said yes because I didn’t want to publicly embarrass him by turning him down. I feel kind of angry that he put me in the spotlight like that when he knows I’m a private person. Who’s at fault here?

A. Both of you. It’s his fault for being an insensitive, shallow-thinking, selfish doofus. And it’s your fault for letting the relationship progress to a point where he thought marriage was a viable possibility. Honestly, I think the fact that you keep referring to him as your “boyfriend” instead of your “fiance” pretty much answers your question.

Q. One of the neighbors in my apartment building found out I work in IT for a living and a couple of times now, I’ve gotten repeated calls for my assistance for a computer “emergency” while trying to unwind at home after work. A computer/cable TV problem could take 10 seconds to fix, or 10 hours, and there’s no way to judge it accurately until I’m already trapped in their place. I realize (and have no qualms) with being the family fix-it guy, but how far should I extend this courtesy to neighbors before I should refer them to the “Computer Repair” section in the Yellow Pages?

A. Are neighbors your friends? I think until proven otherwise, these are probably two different things. Still, it would most likely be awkward to ask them for money, so I’d try to milk them for food instead. When you head over, start rubbing your stomach and mention how you haven’t had dinner and that there’s NO WAY you could be in the right frame of mind to fix their computer unless you had something in your stomach and Thai would be the perfect brain food.

Q. Last year my girlfriend and I attended a birthday party for a co-worker of hers with several other people we did not know. We all ordered a few pizzas and the others present ordered several bottles of wine. While we did not mind simply splitting the bill for the food, we both did not partake in the alcohol and felt it would be unfair if we paid for that as well. When the bill came we felt out of place to speak up about it, and no one else spoke up either. We ended up shelling out $80 and we each only had one slice of pizza! Are we wrong in thinking that while we’re happy to treat the birthday girl, we don’t want to pay for her friends’ alcohol? She’s having another birthday get-together in the coming week and we’re afraid of a repeat of last year.

A. 1) Convince your friend to pick a restaurant that’s BYOB. 2) Swing by the Trader Joe’s wine shop and pick up like, ten bottles of Two Buck Chuck. 3) Bring the wine. 4) Revel in your new title of Best Party Guests Ever.

Q. My wife and I were at our friend’s house for brunch. They have a 4-year-old girl adopted from China. I asked about the adoption in front of the child. I was surprised when our friends reacted harshly and changed the topic. The next day I got an email from him saying that I was out of line in mentioning the adoption in front of their daughter, that his wife cried all night, and he wants me to apologize. I was unaware that they hadn’t told the girl. They’re Caucasian, so it’s obvious. Should I apologize even though I don’t feel I did anything wrong?

A. You. Are. An. Idiot. Why the frickity frack would you say that in front of the CHILD? I don’t care if a couple of elephants have adopted a damn hummingbird. What is the point of bringing that up? Yes, you should apologize you silly fool. And try keeping your mouth shut for about, ever.

-K

#dearprudence

Prudence gives great advice but sometimes people just need it told to them straight. Thankfully, I am here.

Q. Pregnant Teacher: My daughter’s fourth-grade teacher is unmarried and pregnant. Although she is a fantastic educator, kids at that age are bound to ask questions and are old enough that you cannot placate them with a simple answer. I asked her teacher what she told the children about her condition. She told me that she informed them she was pregnant (she is due in June, so this was obvious) and that was it. I asked her if she planned to keep the baby. She told me that was her business alone and she is not obligated to explain her marital status or plans with her child to me or anybody else. I feel that this woman has significant exposure and influence over my child and my questions were perfectly acceptable. Should I take this to the principal or switch classrooms? My husband thinks we should drop it, but I don’t want my daughter to get the impression that single motherhood is acceptable.

A. First of all, her condition? I’m sorry I didn’t realize it was 1964. You lady, are a nosey harpy and need to get out of other people’s shit. I can’t even believe you asked this women the questions that you did. I’m embarrassed for you. Props to the teacher though. If I could get away with it, I wouldn’t explain shit to anyone. Ever. And, hey lady, you better get used to a bunch of single, pregnant ladies running around. Welcome to the future. Listen, single motherhood IS acceptable and is often quite necessary. Would rather we just send all fatherless children to orphanages? Yes! That’s the solution! Your husband sounds like a smart man, which is confusing because he’s married to you. Listen to him. Also, do you know the amount of shit kids wouldn’t notice if you didn’t make a big deal about it and bring it to their attention? A lot of stuff. This is only a problem if you make it a problem. SIT DOWN.

Q. Breast-feeding and Drinking: My son is 6 months old and I am still breast-feeding. Occasionally, I like to have a cocktail or two, so I purchased some strips that detect alcohol amounts in breast milk. After I drink, I pump my milk, test it, and discard the milk that contains alcohol. This way I can occasionally have a drink and still breast-feed safely. However, I’ve noticed that from perfect strangers up to my own mother there is a lot of judgment in this decision. I don’t really understand why; I am not harming my baby in any way whatsoever. Both my doctor and my husband think this is perfectly fine. What should I say the next time somebody brings this up? I am tired of justifying my Manhattans.

A. Let me just say that This. Blew. My. Mind. Good lord, I had no idea it was possible to spike breast milk! Whoa. Moving on… The next time someone says something to you, tell them that you just carried a HUMAN BEING around in your uterus for NINE MONTHS, all the while, this was compounded by the fact that you couldn’t drink, and now that said human being is no longer occupying your uterus, you are entitled to as many damn drinks as you want. Remember how Daniel Day-Lewis kept giving his baby alcohol in There Will Be Blood? The kid seemed fine. Then say, “screw you,” and knock back a tequila shot.

Q. Looking for a Mrs. Degree: I attend a small university studying engineering. I hold traditional values and I would like to get married to a woman willing to stay home and raise our children. I am lucky enough to not have any student loans and will be able to support a wife and children on my salary. Preferably, I would like to marry a woman who has a college degree and is smart because we would match intellectually and she would provide the best environment for my children. Women I meet on campus frequently call me sexist. I never thought of myself as sexist because I have no problem whatsoever with women who work in general and I respect my fellow female students and professors. Just because I don’t want my wife to work does not mean I think women in general shouldn’t work. Am I sexist? Is there any way I can meet a woman who shares my values, or was I born 40 years too late?

A. Yes, you are a sexist prick. It’s not the fact that you were born too late; it’s the fact that you were born at all. I don’t even have time for this.

Q. Long Car Rides: On car rides, my husband refuses to stop for bathroom breaks between gas fill-ups. Now that I am pregnant and he is planning a long trip next month, I have asked that he relax that rule for me, but he just says I should either hold it or wear a diaper. This doesn’t seem normal to me. What can I do to convince him to allow me to take more frequent bathroom breaks on long car rides?

What. The. Fuckity. Fuck. ALLOW you to take bathroom breaks? AND you’re pregnant?! ARE YOU SHITTING ME? Nice catch Nancy Drew. No, this is not normal. Do not go on this fucking trip! And divorce this deranged, bladder Nazi, yesterday.

Q. Brother’s Adoption: My brother and his wife are adopting a 2-year-old from a foreign country. They only recently told the family after starting the adoption process and are not far from bringing her home. The little girl already has parents, but they gave her up to an orphanage because they are so poverty-stricken. I am not really the type to comment or care about other people’s business, but this situation breaks my heart. I feel like it’s wrong to take a child away from their country of origin when she has healthy, living parents. I feel like it would be in her best interest if my brother simply sponsored the child so she could live in her own culture with her biological parents. I’ve even considered sponsoring her myself, which wouldn’t make a big dent in my monthly paycheck at all. Should I say anything to my brother, or just butt out?

A. It’s amazing how often these people answer their own questions. Oh, it breaks your heart?! I’m glad we’re focusing on the most important person in this situation. And listen here, dimwit, don’t you think the definition of “healthy” implies being able to properly provide for their child, which the birth parents clearly can’t because, in your own words, THEY’RE POVERTY-STRICKEN? Yes, butt out. Butt the hell out and try not to be a crappy aunt.

Q. “Tupperware Party” Ambush: A new co-worker recently invited me to a house party. I have had trouble making friends since I moved to a new town, so I accepted. When I arrived at her house I discovered I had been invited to a “sales party.” My co-worker spent the evening demonstrating the benefits of a line of cosmetics and lotions she sells. I could not afford (and furthermore did not want to buy) any of her products, and I felt put on the spot when she really pressured me to buy something. I left her house on bad terms, but the next day at work she joked, “Next time, come prepared!” She wants me to come to her next party and is having trouble taking no for an answer. What should I say?

A. Say: “No. I’m not coming to your ridiculous sales pitch masquerading as an actual social gathering. Leave me alone you pushy, demon Avon lady. Don’t you know what a party is? I would rather have no friends than sit through that shit again. I hope you don’t sell anything you greedy floozy.”

I just fixed your lives.

-K