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Dear Prudence Presents: Asking the Tough Questions

Let's get sexy, everyone! Actually, let's not, because while some of Prudie's questions today might deal with sex, tantalizing they ain't. First of all, this one lady hosted a big family party at her place, and afterwards found herself alone in a room with her brother-in-law, with whom she's "never seen eye-to-eye, but we are civil."

Initially, he complimented my outfit and hair, which I thanked him for. Then, he implied that Beth no longer has sex with him. I wasn't positive if that was what he meant, so I chose not to say anything further. That was when he mentioned that he had always thought that I was beautiful, then laughed as he mentioned that "no one" would hear us if we had sex together out in the sun room. Thinking that he was drunk, I said, "Well, we're both married, and your wife is probably waiting for you in the guest room." He answered, "I've already had to have a little fun on the side." I turned around to leave and found him standing with everything on display.


She ran the fuck out and didn't tell anyone, not even her husband, whose sister is the one married to the creep. She says he'd support her if she did, but no one else would, because the flasher "is a professing Christian and takes every opportunity to bring up his piousness, and my in-laws adore him. Meanwhile, I am the liberal atheist." Her worry is that telling would pointlessly wreck her and her husband's relationship with his family, since the guy would simply deny everything and they'd rush to take his word over hers.

Prudie says that her worry ought to be where her psycho in-law is going with this crazy, spectacularly inappropriate, no regard for consequences shit he just pulled. That's the kind of IDGAF thing you do when you're totally out of control and speeding towards disaster. Prudie says to tell her husband immediately and the two of them can figure out where to go from there. Getting the cold shoulder from the kind of shitty family that closes ranks around the guilty isn't much of a punishment, and she can save the I-told-you-sos for the inevitable dénouement when his true character is revealed.

Next, a concerned husband finds himself more than a little discomfited by the foot and back rubs passing back and forth between his wife and his sister's teenaged son. He's just got a bad feeling about it, and he also has no clue how to mention this concern to any of the people involved. Prudie agrees that this is Not Normal, but her advice is mostly to keep his eyes peeled on the situation. Someone from the peanut gallery chimes in to mention that "teenager" covers everything between 13 and 19, and that knowing the kid's age would provide a better perspective. Prudie says "it's more creepy to imagine back rubs between an aunt and her young-looking 13-year-old nephew, and more provocative to envision them between aunt and hunky 19-year-old," so somewhat surprisingly blasé on that guy's fear that his wife is grooming his nephew for sex. I imagine that her response would have a different tone if the genders were reversed, though she also takes a really hard line against an 18 year old's flirtation with his high school teacher.

Next up is a zany Groupthink type screwup, where you wind up causing offense through your runaway desire not to offend.

I attended a casual friend's BBQ over the weekend and struck up a conversation with "Campbell," a person obviously born female but very butch. During the course of our conversation, I very quickly asked what pronoun Campbell would prefer me to use when referencing her. I thought I was being aware and polite in case she identified as something else, but she got huffy and almost yelled, "Don't I look like a woman?" She then abruptly ended our convo, and I could tell she was whispering about me for the rest of the night.


Welp, at least you don't have to worry about getting invited to barbecues anymore! Prudie walks the letter writer through some of the numerous ways of satisfying your curiosity without inspiring mortal offense, and someone else points out that their question was equivalent to "Can you please tell me if you're pregnant or just fat? I wouldn't want to hurt your feelings if I guessed wrong."

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