When Less Is Not More 

When Less Is Not More 

When Less Is Not More 

Advice on manners and morals.
July 12 2001 11:30 PM

When Less Is Not More 

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Dear Prudence,
I am somewhat unhappy in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Needless to say, I don't get much sex since we see each other about three weeks a year. But even when we're together, my boyfriend claims he can only get aroused once a month. It's very frustrating since I have a much more active libido. I find myself romanticizing single life again and liking him less, even though we had decided we were on the "marriage track" two years ago. Other than his prudishness, he's a very loyal and kind person. Am I shallow for wanting more action between the sheets?

—Repressed, but Not by Choice

Dear Rep,
You are only somewhat unhappy? Prudie is fascinated by your statistics. You spend 21 days a year on the "marriage track" with a man who has an erection schedule of one per month. It pains Prudie to have to tell you this, but his lunar arousal announcement sounds like so much nonsense. This is a very odd situation, and why you think being together three weeks a year constitutes a romance is beyond imagining. (And with very little romance, yet.) If you were to find a guy with a pulse who lived, say, at least in your state, you would not be shallow, my dear; you would be wise.

—Prudie, assuredly

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Dear Prudence,
This being the traditional wedding season, maybe you can help solve a disagreement and possibly clear up the issue for any others in my situation. My boyfriend of three years was invited to the wedding of a co-worker he has known for a few months and was told that due to limited space, he could not bring a guest. The invitation was last-minute (two weeks in advance)—apparently, a few guests couldn't make it, and there were exactly five open seats, so my boyfriend's co-worker invited all five people in their department, letting them all know they shouldn't bring a guest. My problem with this is three-fold. First, is it rude to invite someone to a wedding only because you've had other guests cancel? Second, is it odd to invite people to your wedding and tell them they may not bring a guest, especially when these people are either married or in long-term relationships? Third, given all this, my boyfriend plans to attend the wedding (he doesn't want to hurt the guy's feelings), leaving me feeling a bit miffed. I should add that my boyfriend sees absolutely nothing wrong with the whole scenario and thinks I'm making an issue out of nothing. What do you think about all this?

—Sincerely,
Feeling Left Out

Dear Feel,
When giving a party, it is not rude to put your standby list into play when some people decline—and a wedding is a party. The only sticky part is that when an invitation is sent very close to the event, then the recipient knows he was not on the original list, but most people roll with that. In many instances, for a variety of reasons, only a certain number of guests can be accommodated. It is somewhat odd, if not graceless, to inform people that they must come alone, but your beau's friend from the office is obviously constrained by capacity and rather blind to traditional etiquette. (If you two were married, or a long-term couple, then it would be totally inappropriate for only one of you to be invited—or to go.) Given the circumstances you outline, that the groom is trying to include his co-workers and he's new in your boyfriend's life, this is no big whoop. Be magnanimous and send the boyfriend with your blessings. Forgive the meow, but Prudie guesses you will not be missing the wedding of the decade.

—Prudie, maturely

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Dear Prudence,
What's up with gay people that they feel the need to tell everyone about their lifestyle? I am referring to the lesbian who wrote about having a hard time because she wants to be honest with her co-workers about her lifestyle, and their response is not exactly what she had expected. I am a fair-minded person and honestly believe that I treat people equally regardless of their ... whatever. The point is, I DON'T CARE!!! It's their personal life. When I go to work, I work. That is, after all, what I am paid to do. If we were friends outside of work and I joined her and her partner for dinner or a movie, she wouldn't need to inform me that she's a lesbian ... I'm not blind; it's just not an issue. When gay people "come out," for whatever reason, they are publicly defining themselves by a sexual criterion. I prefer to think of people using other parameters. I think people, both gay and straight, spend far too much time and energy thinking about sex when in many contexts it should be a non-issue. How about we change the official military policy from "Don't ask, don't tell," to "Don't care!" and leave it at that?

—Fed-Up With This Discussion

Dear Fed,
Your position is the utopian one, and the operative word in your proposal is "should." If everyone were as rational and right-thinking (as in correct, not politically right), we would be part of a healthier, better culture. Alas, we live in this one.

—Prudie, wistfully

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Dear Prudie,
I need your opinion on something that has bothered me for years. What do you think of people who call someone and start the conversation with, "Hi! What are you doing?" I find this incredibly rude and intrusive, but a great number of the people who call me do this. I have a couple responses, but they are rude and obviously can't be used on everyone. One is "Mind your own business" or "Having sex. What did you need?" If I say I am not doing anything, this usually leads to a long conversation which I don't have the time for. How do I respond to these people without offending them?

—Irritated

Dear Ir,
Were we once ever married? (Only kidding. Prudie's starter husband always began his phone calls with "Hi. What's doing?") For reasons unknown, you seem rather touchy about what is, essentially, a greeting ... just as "Hi. How are you?" is not really meant to elicit a detailed response. Granted, there are probably more graceful opening gambits when you call someone, but try to veer away from being quite so picky-picky. If you must have a comeback and do not wish to chat, say you're in the middle of doing something with Krazy Glue. How's that?

—Prudie, stickily