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Dear Prudence Presents: The Ogre Within Us

Some good ones from Prudie's live chat today, including a couple that might possibly land near and dear to the hearts of a number of Groupthinkers. First of all, a husband comes home from Thanksgiving completely appalled by the way his wife was treated by her two elder brothers. Nonstop pretty much literal physical and verbal potshots, up to and including being chucked into the swimming pool fully clothed. The family dynamic has consisted of such fun n' games since forever and ever, and she accepts it to the point of refusing to tell them to stop. He's not super enthused about watching her being treated like dirt, plus he doesn't much care for seeing Mutt and Jeff model such hilarious behavior in front of their 1 year old son.

Prudie says the situation sucks, but that he should at least entertain the possibility that his wife truly is cool with such wacky hijinks. Another reader chimes in to say that he needs to ask himself if there's any real give and take going on, or if it's all just give for them and take for her. Like, if she pulled any of that shit with them would they be completely fucking flabbergasted like the world had suddenly turned upside down? Prudie advises him to have a "serious talk" with the family punching bag re: taking her lumps.


Next letter writer claims to "suffer from what it is known as 'bitchy resting face.'" Uh, no, it's "resting bitchface," dumdum. Big time stank look all over the other phrase. She says she's a pleasant, approachable person at heart, but worries that her grim visage may be driving potential friends away. Prudie acknowledges that the requirement to decorate the world "is something people do to young women and, without exploring the inherent sexism of this, as you've discovered it's actually better not to look like an ogre." She recommends that she cultivate a mysterious, Mona Lisa-esque half smile, which is pretty much EXACTLY what I use for swanning about with.

Letter #3 is of the type that I hate — the the kind that deliberately lacks any details. She's worried about integrating with her potential husband's unspecified "religion/culture" because she doesn't know if she can go along with whatever it is they believe and do. I also hate the ones that are all careful to be like "my partner" so you never know anyone's gender. Details matter, people, so stop pretending that your bullshit questions are some kind of fairness logic puzzle. Prudie says that converting to a religion that neither you or your boyfriend believe in just so you can please his family is a stupid idea.

Next up is a case of blatant favoritism, where the writer sees that their younger niece has clued in to the fact that her mother prizes her above and beyond her elder sister. This manifests in a lot of manipulative behavior, the point of which is to get her unloved sibling spankings, scoldings, and time outs for bullshit reasons. The sister-in-law, their mother, is apparently the source and the gamesmaster of all this, while other family members stand around feeling sick while they watch one kid getting dumped on unfairly and the other one taking sick pleasure in it. Prudie says to get a few of these relatives together and talk with the husband, who I guess would be the writer's brother. Wherever he's at, he's got to be the one to step in and head off the horrible damage his wife seems determined to inflict on both their kids. In the meantime, she recommends spending a lot of fun alone time with the older niece, because it might be helpful for her to hear from someone that she is in fact a human being that has value.

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