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Dear Prudence Presents: Your Own Business

Prudie's first question comes from an unhappy working stiff who only makes a tenth of what his wife does. Of course, his wife is pulling down upwards of $400k, so he's not exactly on minimum wage status himself. They have two little kids, and he'd like to transition to stay-at-home dad, but "she insists that I continue to work to contribute to family finances." They already have a nanny and part-time domestic help, so he says the switch makes financial as well as personal sense, at least to him.

I don't understand why she insists that I work when she has a stable and high-earning job, compared with my stressful long hours for low pay. Every week I'm tempted to just quit my job and let her deal with it.


It's more socially acceptable for women to drop out of the workforce like that, but the issue cuts both ways for whichever gender wants to give up the 9 to 5. For men, I think the default negative assumption involves smoking weed and playing video games all day. With women I think it's probably something like bon-bons and soap operas. Why is it always bon-bons? Do people even eat bon-bons anymore? In any case, the root fear and resentment is that the more balling party winds up as a chump stuck working full-time to subsidize someone else's lazy pleasure existence.

Of course, anyone watching two kids, keeping the house (a mansion?) clean, plus doing the cooking isn't anyone's idea of a lazy pleasure existence, but there you go. Maybe her fear is that he won't hold up his end of the bargain, maybe it's something else. Prudie basically punts on the question and tells him to take it to a marriage counsellor. The point she makes is sound though – any decision really has to be a mutual one. He can't unilaterally decide that he's a stay-at-home dad now, and she can't be like "Nope, I require you to hold onto that job you hate until retirement." If they're stuck at an impasse and can't talk it out on their own, better to take it to a professional.

The next issue comes from "accidentally" discovering the terms of your mom's will for when she finally kicks off. There's two sisters and a family trust to be split between them, and "I am to receive 25 percent initially, another 25 percent in 10 years, and the remainder in 20 years. I am currently 46. My sister, on the other hand, is to receive nothing for 20 years. She is 44." What's the point of this delay? They have no idea and want to talk to their mom about it, but Prudie says how DARE they. It's their mom's money, she can do whatever she wants with it, and if they bring it up at all then they should get ready to be disinherited entirely. I was like damn, she's really up on her high horse on this one. There have been plenty of other letters where the will-maker wants to make a point of stiffing someone for whatever reason, and Prudie always counsels against leaving a legacy of pissed off inheritors. What's the diff here? No idea, but she is really hammering on quiet gratitude as the only emotion they're allowed to experience.

The next case involves a happy 26 year old lady happily planning her marriage to an older man. How much older we don't know, but she nannied his kids throughout college, "and shortly after I turned 22, my relationship with him became romantic." She "came to love his young children as if they were my own," so the whole thing sounds kind of spicy and also very boring at the same time. The hitch here is that her folks "still see my fiancé as some sort of predatory monster. They've never been comfortable with our age difference or how I met him." They've said their piece, they continue to say it, and she's sick of hearing it. Prudie says to tell them that comments on the matter are officially closed, and "the only relationship they have a chance of undermining is theirs with you." She also says that "You can end the discussion by handing them a copy of The Sound of Music and explain that there's a history of relationships such as yours working out beautifully." ⊙_ʘ


I'll just copy the next one in its entirety:

I am a mid-30s, quite attractive woman who owns a multimillion-dollar company. I also am disabled, walking with one or two canes. I have become accustomed to the stares I receive, but in light of the ALS ice bucket challenge, I am now being approached by people telling me regularly how brave I am and what an inspiration I am. ALS isn't even my affliction! The last time this happened, I was in a rather important business meeting at a local restaurant. How can I respond to these well-meaning but completely inappropriate dolts?


I was like, what does that first sentence have to do with anything? If she was ugly and broke, would it be less inappropriate for people to hassle her? It also makes me start casting that suspicious eye around, like is she really some local magnate, or is she just full of shit? Maybe she's *gasp* not even that good-looking! Anyway, she definitely sounds like a prig, but it's also true that people everywhere need to do a much better job of minding their own business.

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