Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 28 2002 2:31 PM

What Would Prudie Do?

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,

I've recently moved into an apartment-sharing situation with three roommates. One roomie, who is Jewish, has a Christmas card posted on the fridge with the comment "May You Walk With Jesus" written on it, as a joke. Several times she has shown me "What Would Jesus Do" cards (WWJD) and other Christian paraphernalia that she buys for her friends, expecting me to find it as funny as she does. I'm not a practicing Christian (though members of my family members are), but I still find her attitude irritating. Can I ask her to take the offending card off the fridge?

—W.

Dear Dub,

Indeed you can. And here's what Prudie would do: She would tell the judgment-challenged jokester, as non-confrontationally as possible, that you do not share her sense of humor about the belief system you were born into and you'd appreciate it if she would denude the refrigerator door of religious jokes. Surely she will comply. If not, remove the refrigerator art yourself, and tell her that's what Jesus would do.

—Prudie, respectfully

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Dear Prudence,

I have been married for 15 years. I had always suspected my husband of having affairs but was never able to have definite proof. To make a long story short, several years ago I found him with another woman. He was leaving a bar with her and didn't see me. When he finally did see me parked behind him, he lied and said that she was drunk and he was driving her home. After six months, during which he was very mean about the whole deal, he finally admitted that he had been intending to sleep with her. Looking back I can see that he has always lied to me about other women. I don't think I can continue to be made a fool of. There is so much more I could say, but all I want to know is: Am I in the right to expect to be told the truth? I need the truth to go on with our life together. What do you say?

—Help Me

Dear Help,

Prudie says it takes balls of brass to essentially get caught and then admit only to "intending" to stray. You can wish to be told the truth, my dear, and even demand it, but that does not mean it will be forthcoming. It is not in the nature of tomcats to fess up, and, in fact, they usually tend to dig in their heels. There's an old saying, attributed to Fernando Lamas: "Deny, deny, deny." The companion saying is, "Who are you going to believe? Me, or your own eyes?" Prudie's gut instinct is that you're never going to get the truth out of this guy, so you must decide if you can live with his lies and infidelity ... or without him.

—Prudie, historically

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Dear Prudence,

Recently, two good friends of mine—both wonderful people—broke up after a three-year relationship. I think very highly of both of them, and I have long been attracted to the girl. I also know that she thinks highly of me. (She once set me up with one of her best friends.) My question is this: How long do I have to wait before I "make a play" for this girl? She's very attractive and already has several suitors. And how do I do it without alienating one or both of my friends?

—Curious but Wary

Dear Cure,

You may make your introductory moves as soon as you like. (There will probably be no good time for your mutual friend ... your pal/her ex.) Perhaps the best way to proceed would be to invite her, as a platonic friend, of course, to an event of your choosing—lunch, a movie, a charity event. When you're together, just the two of you, there will either be chemistry—or there won't. Should she give you the slightest encouragement, you will then have joined the ranks of Her Suitors. Be prepared for the possibility, however, that she will regard you in the same light she always has: as a good friend. In any case, nothing ventured, nothing gained, though if the two of you do click, there's a chance your mutual friend—your pal/her ex—might also become your ex-pal.

—Prudie, explorationally

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Dear Prudence,

I am in a wonderful relationship with a man I adore, but I have been friends with another man longer than I have been going out with my boyfriend. The friend of longer standing seems to be showing a romantic interest in me that was never there before. What I want to know is what should I do about it, and why would he start showing an interest in me now? He knows I am in a committed relationship. And I've made it clear I love my boyfriend. (And I have never flirted with the other guy.)

—Totally Confused

Dear Tote,

There are two possibilities: 1) He's the kind of guy who only wants what someone else already has, or 2) he's always harbored feelings for you but never made them known, and now they're creeping out. In either case, because you are happily involved you will have to gently—but firmly—close down the flirtatious behavior. If he keeps it up and makes you uncomfortable, you will, alas, have to close down the friendship.

—Prudie, choosily