Advice on manners and morals.
Nov. 21 1998 3:30 AM

Drawing upon her rich experience of life, Prudence (Prudie to her friends) responds to questions about manners, personal relations, politics, and other subjects. Please send your questions for publication to Queries should not exceed 200 words in length. Please indicate how you wish your letter to be signed, preferably including your location.


Dear Prudence,

I disagree with your opinion that nine years of living together equals marriage. A person is either married or not, like being pregnant. While the father can be friendly and caring to his daughter's live-in boyfriend, he is not a son-in-law and shouldn't be treated as such. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe commitment means marriage. Anything less is just dating.

--Happily Married

Ms. Duffy Lewis

Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Dear Hap,

Prudie will split the difference with you. Of course you are right that not being married is not being married, and living together does not "equal" marriage. Commitment, however, need not involve marriage. Prudie knows committed couples whose relationships have all the ingredients of a really good marriage, and all that's missing are recognition from the state and contractual obligation. Prudie, in fact, can speak of this with firsthand knowledge.

The age and experience of the couple may be a factor. A committed relationship between twentysomethings would, of course, have different underpinnings than one between middle-aged people who have had, perhaps, a marriage or two under their belts.

--Prudie, perspectively



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.