Three's Not Company

Three's Not Company

Three's Not Company

Advice on manners and morals.
April 20 2000 11:30 PM

Three's Not Company

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

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Prudie,

There's a guy I like a lot. We are friends. He is dating a girl who's living with another man. My friend says he likes me, too, but he wants to make his other relationship work. How can it work when she lives with another man? I want this guy really bad. He has a lot of good qualities. He and I have been alone twice, and the passion is starting to fly. I don't think he is being treated fairly by this other person. What should I do?

—D.L.

Dear D.,

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For a start, you might try really hard to grow up. This guy you have your eye on sounds amenable to having a harem. Prudie also guesses his head is not on straight, what with trying to maintain a relationship with a woman who already has a live-in lover. Flying passion not withstanding, develop a hobby—quick!—and try to evaluate things with a more mature outlook. Reassure your hormones that another candidate will appear at a later date.

—Prudie, selectively

Dear Prudence,

Whenever one of those cars with amps, woofers, and speakers cranked up passes by going bang, bang, bang, etc., my whole body shutters. My heart pounds. Everything tightens up. Nausea begins. It is just horrible, like when someone has just scratched a chalkboard. Can you find any reason for this? Please help.

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—Noise Averse

Dear Noise,

Don't you hate when that happens? Prudie, too, finds this aural assault delivered on four wheels one of the really maddening stunts perpetrated by strangers. It is tacky, thoughtless, tasteless, and lower-class. It is also retaliation-proof. The only remedial thing you can do, when possible, is to switch lanes and get your car ahead of, or behind and away from the offender. The only wicked thought with which to console oneself is that the lowlife driving around in his own rock concert will, at some point, become deaf.

—Prudie, patiently

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Prudie,

Three months after we started sleeping together, my boyfriend called me in a panic to tell me he was not quite truthful with me when we first discussed our past sexual histories, need for precautions, etc. Turned out there had been an Atlantic City stripper in his recent past who had left him with—ahem—an unfortunate legacy. He is now seeing another woman, and I doubt that he has been honest with her either. What is the protocol? Do I call to warn her?

—Squirming

Dear Squirm,

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Prudie does not think there is a "protocol" for calling your successor to warn her she'll probably be getting a venereal disease. You are kindhearted, though, to want to give this person a heads-up. Let me rephrase that: You are kindhearted to want to give this person a warning ... but it is really not your business. There might be two possible in-between measures. If the new woman is an acquaintance, then you might open the discussion with her, but if she's a stranger it would be too awkward and, perhaps, misunderstood. Also, you might strongly suggest to the chap with the Atlantic City memento that he do the right thing and fess up. Beyond that Prudie recommends you do not go.

—Prudie, pragmatically

Dear Prudence,

Things were going really good with a friend I had met after a three-month e-mail relationship. We had several dates and then we made love. Although I had only friendship as an expectation, he said I expected too much. He stopped e-mailing me except for a brief message a time or two. He pursued me, enjoyed the wonderful night we had together, then ran away. What do you make of this?

—Scorned

Dear Scorn,

Sorrowfully, Prudie makes of this that he pursued you, enjoyed the wonderful night you had together, then ran away. Next time you must be more on your guard and a little surer of the relationship's foundation. Don't beat yourself up, however, because you can't undo the experience. Just be a little more intuitive next time.

—Prudie, reservedly

Dear Prudence,

Great advice for the lonely teen-ager. But there are several resources out there for gay and lesbian kids. Please let her know that she can call PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), or even do a quick Web search for tons of organizations. My very best to her.

—Amanda

Dear Am,

Thank you for being a Prudie—who feels like a dunce for not having thought of her own medium, the Internet. Several readers wrote to suggest chat rooms and the like.

—Prudie, gratefully