Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 20 2001 11:49 AM

Where Did You Fling Your Ring?

Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

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Dear Prudence,

The question, in a nutshell, is this: How can I tactfully tell my downstairs neighbor that she makes WAY too much noise while having sex? There is nothing so mortifying as having friends over for dinner, making your way through a nice dinner and dessert, only to be interrupted by heaving and groaning sounds coming up through the floorboards. I have previously asked this woman to turn down her radio and TV. (The crazy thing is that I'm 27, she's in her 40s, yet I'm the one complaining about the noise.) Please, please let me know of a subtle yet effective way I can let her know that her private moments are not so private.

—Just sign me,

Mortified, Disgusted, and Annoyed

Dear Mort,

Try this: Since you've previously mentioned the volume of her radio and TV, write her a note saying that during your last dinner party, your guests were mesmerized by whatever TV show she had on because it was playing much too loudly and sounded just like a couple having sex! She should get the message. If somehow she does not—due to dim bulb status—and you're treated to the amorous "soundtrack" again, phone her and sweetly ask that she "turn the volume down." If you are still plagued with this problem, forget about delicacy and leave her a note advising her of when you will be entertaining guests and request that her own entertaining be less vocal because you feel certain she has no idea of how the sound carries in your building.

—Prudie, mutedly

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Prudie,

Please help! I am a 26-year-old single woman who is perfectly happy that way, with no intention of changing my situation anytime soon. I have my own house, vehicle, and a wonderful job. Why is it that every married person wants to see single women married off? My grandmother has decided that something is "wrong" with me. My mother essentially said now that I'd shown everyone I was independent, I could just stop it and find myself a man! While I don't claim to be an unfortunate victim of my failed relationships, the more men I date, the more I'd rather spend the time talking to my dog. How can I explain this to people who are constantly asking why I haven't married and given my parents grandchildren? The constant haranguing from co-workers, family, and friends is making me crazy. Is there some response to that age-old question, "Where is your husband?" I'm tiring of my old one-liner, "buried in the basement, with the rest of the people who ticked me off."

—Happily Alone

Dear Hap,

Prying questions don't necessarily deserve an answer, so forget about trying to explain your reasons for not having married. And don't, for Pete's sake, bring up your preference for conversing with the dog. You will sound like a man-hater who might be, well ... barking mad. To close down co-workers, family, friends, mother, and grandmother, simply say, the next time this inappropriate question is asked, that when the man who meets your high standards asks you to join in the "I do" thing, you hope they will be able to dance at your wedding. Trust Prudie—after that, there is nothing anyone is gonna say, and you won't have to demean yourself by talking about a stiff in the basement.

—Prudie, definitively

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Dear Prudence,

I have been dating this guy for two years, and we are pretty serious. Well, just a week ago he tells me he feels uncomfortable having sex with me because he is afraid something will happen, like me getting pregnant. So I say OK, we will "cool it" for a while with the sex. Then two weeks later he is telling me that we need to take a break from each other but says he still loves me. Then just yesterday he started not to answer my calls or to hang up on me when I just want to talk and is generally being an ass to me. I don't get what's going on, and when I try asking him, he says, "Nothing, we're just taking a break." Please give me some advice about what to do. Thank you!

—Sincerely,

Arizona

Dear Ar,

It pains Prudie to be the one to tell you what your former boyfriend was trying to: The romance is over, and rather than "taking a break" from it, this chap is making a break for it. He's done it very poorly and with not a lot of regard for your feelings, though Prudie gets the idea he thought he was letting you down easily. As to what to do, salvage your dignity and avoid any more humiliating treatment by accepting that it's over, stop asking him to give you reasons, and remove his number from your speed dial. Some guys are just emotionally klutzy and now you are free of just such a clunk.

—Prudie, supportively

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Prudie,

Given the comments on the
reuse of wedding rings, it would be fun to find out just what interesting things people have done with them post-divorce. I am intrigued by Prudie's comment that she threw one into a fish pond. Myself, I took mine to a pawn shop and purchased a bottle of vodka with the proceeds. The ring is a symbol, yes, but a powerful one, and my trade-in helped greatly with my personal exorcism. I'd love to hear other readers' comments!

—Sue

So would Prudie, now that you mention it, so here's the deal: Everybody write what they did with the ring once the marriage was in the past tense. Prudie will share the best five afterlives of wedding rings. Put "rings" in the subject line.

—Prudie, mischievously