Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
June 13 2002 2:24 PM

Battle of the Bulge

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 have a bit of a dilemma. I recently reconciled with my ex-boyfriend, which isn't the problem. The problem is his fascination with our pregnant neighbor. We are both in our late 20s and want to make sure that this time our relationship will last before we make any permanent decisions, like marriage or children. I know he longs for kids, and I do, too, just not in the foreseeable future. I recently moved in with him, and that's when I noticed the fascination that he has with the neighbor lady. She is obviously pregnant, and my boyfriend can't keep his eyes off of her. The other day I caught him watching her cook dinner while she was wearing a sports bra and a pair of those paneled maternity pants. He says he can't help it, the "ripeness" (his word) of her figure appeals to him. He offers all the time to help her carry packages from her car and is often in our kitchen trying to catch a glimpse of her. To be honest, I'm going crazy! My girlfriends say not to sweat it, she'll have the baby soon enough, but that just isn't cutting it with me. To be honest, the attention he pays her is a little hurtful. I keep myself in great shape and wear pretty nighties for him, but he's craving those tacky paneled pants! I'm tempted to go over and lay my cards on the table with her and ask her to avoid my boyfriend and wear T-shirts in the kitchen. Please help, Prudence, before I go nuts.

—Competing With the Bulge

Dear Comp,

Prudie has some familiarity with this problem, having once been propositioned when she was eight months pregnant. The man's interest struck her as somewhere between hilarious and unbelievable. Mentioning this to a few people, she learned it's a bit of a kink: Some guys are simply turned on by pregnant women. Your boyfriend's "interest" has nothing to do with wanting children. As for your buying stretch-front pants (instead of, say, a nurse or schoolgirl outfit), it's certainly an individual choice, though Prudie gleans that you are not inclined toward dress-up sex. As for asking the neighbor lady to wear different clothes or close the curtains, Prudie would not be in favor of that. Rather, you might "suggest" to your beloved that his attentions to the enceinte neighbor lady are inappropriate, as well as hurtful, and to please knock off the peeping tom bit.

—Prudie, correctively

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Hi Prudie,

I am a little befuddled by my newest relationship. I am currently dating a wonderful guy who happens to be in radio. His morning show is very popular, and one of their "bits" is that he's the guy who can't get a date. The problem is, well, we're dating and have been for a month or so now. He refuses to tell his co-workers, saying that he would rather tell people when he's ready. I do understand that his inability to get a date is important to the way their show runs, based on the gags, etc., that I hear every morning. However, I obviously know otherwise. I'm a little disappointed that he prefers to have everyone think he is single. I'm also a little concerned about being brought up on the air ... it's kind of a Catch-22. He's asked me not to call or e-mail in to the studio and says his idea of introducing me to his co-workers is to "just show up with me somewhere." What should I do???

—Off the Air

Dear Off,

Wait until he invites you to just show up somewhere. (This presupposes that you've met other friends of his.) And try to remember that yours is still a new relationship. As for professional situations like radio, stage stand-up, or columns, any gimmick is fair game even though it may have little to do with "real life." Howard Stern's deal is to belittle his manhood, Jack Benny's was to be cheap, Phyllis Diller morphed her actual, good-natured husband into "Fang," and even Prudie refers to her spouse as "Dr. Pussycat," despite heart surgeons being a famously macho group. Your only cause for concern would be if you determine that he's using the on-air shtick to keep you hidden because he doesn't wish to acknowledge the relationship to anyone.

—Prudie, jocularly

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Dear Prudence,

I work in an industry that is primarily male-dominated. I travel with the job and quite often have to go out to dinner with "the group." The other night when we all went out, we got into a conversation about men and how they all cheat on their wives. These men (there were four) told us that ALL men cheat on their wives, especially if they travel. Of course the women that were there didn't believe it, but the four men then told us that they had cheated on their wives and that my husband will and will lie about it. I'm just recently married, and I have to believe that this isn't true. All men don't cheat, do they? I know this may sound like a stupid question, but it has really scared me since their wives are trusting their husbands and think they are in monogamous marriages. Please tell me I just had dinner with a bunch of pigs and not all men are like this. 

—Sinking Heart

Dear Sink,

You just had dinner with a bunch of pigs, and not all men are like this. The gang of four you describe must be particularly swinish to be so blatant about their escapades. There is also a chance that these guys were looped and their declaration about male behavior struck them as funny. In any case, you can only judge your marriage by the behavior you experience ... not by listening to some loutish traveling salesmen. In the future, close off this avenue of conversation.

—Prudie, certainly

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Dear Prudence,

Reading about D,
who doesn't want to fake it in bed, I was struck by your assertion that a guy wouldn't want "battery-powered competition." I asked my friends, and not only did most find the idea to be a turn-on, but many felt great about the idea of our partners being able to achieve orgasm reliably (and more frequently, and often simultaneously!!). Sometimes it's a tough job, and what one really needs is the right tool (no pun intended) for the occasion. For guys who are too squeamish, look at it this way: Skiing is a lot more fun with chair lifts. It's all downhill from there.

—CPW

Well, you could've knocked Prudie over with a double-A battery. Most of the mail about D's letter agreed with you! If the DP people (as Dear Prudence is known in "The Fray") wish to take a third to bed, as it were, there will be no catcalls from this corner. However ... to stay with your skiing metaphor, the Japanese ski on Astroturf, but it ain't snow.

—Prudie, genially