Men Are From Mars

Men Are From Mars

Men Are From Mars

Advice on manners and morals.
April 13 2000 11:30 PM

Men Are From Mars

Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com.

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Dear Prudence,

I have a complicated situation to ask you about. I had given up finding a man who fits my romantic ideals and was ready to settle for less until I met Lou. After talking to him for only a few hours, I realized that he was the one. I didn't want someone like him—I wanted him. We spent two and a half days together while he was in town, and I had never been so happy. He had to go home and made no secret that there was a girlfriend waiting for him, but explained that it was a bad relationship he was trying to get out of. He went home and we e-mailed and talked on the phone for two months. He even broke up with his girlfriend ... but then got back together. We still communicated, but the e-mails became distant.

About a year after we met, he sent an e-mail saying his girlfriend was pregnant. (It happened during a good time between all the bad times.) When the baby was born, he moved out. I knew I had to make my move then. Under the pretense of work, I flew to his city and was there for his 25th birthday. He was stunned I was in town and came to take me to dinner. It was like we were never apart. At the end of the night he walked me to my hotel room and hugged me goodnight, and we stood there, staring at each other, neither of us wanting to leave. Finally he left, telling me it was the best birthday he'd ever had. We continued to talk, and he talked about coming to see me for my birthday. One day I called his office and his secretary told me he'd quit three weeks ago and left no forwarding address—and also left two paychecks that he never picked up. Now I'm going nuts. Please tell me, am I being a sentimental sap?

—S.

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Dear S,

Yes.

—Prudie, sadly

Dear Prudence,

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I recently turned 18 and have been dating this guy for five months. So far we've just been messing around. I am still a virgin and don't know how to proceed. I would like to give myself to him, but I have reasons not to. One reason is that we don't really go out, and another is that I don't know how long our "relationship" will last. I really like him, and he tells me not to let anything come between us. I don't know what to do—whether to go all the way or not. I fear it might be a mistake ... but I like him a lot.

—Virgin Mary, lost and lonely

Dear Virge,

Prudie has never been asked to make this decision for someone before, so she offers thanks for your confidence in her advice. Which is this: Do not become horizontally accessible at this time. Prudie further believes, the young man's wishes notwithstanding, that what should come between you is clothes.

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—Prudie, chastely

Dear Prudence,

I am a normal guy with a greater-than-average liking for the ladies, but there's a new practice that throws me: the hello tongue-kiss. Now I stand second to no man in my appreciation for the tongue and its finer applications, and I could accept it better if it had any erotic promise behind it ... but it obviously doesn't. I conclude (sadly) that it is just a cheapening of the currency. What is a fellow to do?

—Recoiling in Memphis

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Dear Rec,

Shake hands or offer your cheek. And close your mouth. Prudie thinks ... well, hopes, that this practice is limited to an odd group of young women in your particular town.

—Prudie, aloofly

Dear Prudence,

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I'm 20 years old and in a relationship with a very successful man who has a serious outlook on life. We have been together for four months, and he is talking about marriage so often that it scares me. When I told him of my feelings he became quite negative. I feel terrible, but I'm not ready and think we need more time to know each other. Have I just turned the man of my dreams away?

—B.M.

Dear B.,

No offense, but how would Prudie know? Do follow your instincts, though. If you feel you are being rushed, it is only sensible to put on the brakes. If this man will not let the relationship develop, then you need to be philosophical and believe everything happens for the best.

—Prudie, karmically