Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Nov. 21 2002 11:23 AM

Man's Best Girlfriend

9_dearprudence_01

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.)

Dear Prudence,

My brother-in-law is a fortysomething, single man who has a Great Dane. He takes this dog with him everywhere he goes. Not only to the park and on walks, but whenever there's a family gathering, here he comes with the dog. My problem is that I feel it is inconsiderate of him to automatically think that because he has been invited to a family gathering, the HUGE dog is also invited. He made the comment to me one time that if the dog is not welcome, then neither is he. In addition, whenever he corresponds with anyone, he signs the dog's name as well as his own. He also has professional photos taken of the dog, which he sends out in holiday cards. Certain family members have started referring to the dog as his significant other. Do you think it's rude of him to just show up with this enormous dog? And do you think his actions are just a tad weird?  (His answering machine says, "Hi, Frank and Fido are not here right now.") Should and/or how does one go about mentioning this to him?

—Dog Tired

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Dear Dog,

Would you be through with Prudie forever if she told she was laughing? Perhaps this response is related to the fact that Prudie's brother and sister-in-law have made her an "aunt" to a chocolate Lab named Hershey. Anyway, cupcake, Fido is Frank's significant other, and here's the bottom line: If Fido doesn't bite any of the guests, pretend a chair leg is a tree, or knock over little kids, let it go. Your brother-in-law obviously needs this hound in his life. Letters from him and the dog should give you a big clue. As for "mentioning it" to him, trust Prudie, he needs no reminder that he is schlepping around a 200-pound, 3-foot-high friend. A little understanding and humor will solve your problem.

—Prudie, tolerantly

Dear Prudence,

I have been married for almost two years. Here is my question: My mother-in-law, to this day, spells my name incorrectly. She will write a letter to us (my husband and me) and say, Dear "Fred and ----," and in the same letter spell my name differently many times. I really take this as an insult, especially since I sent her an invitation to the wedding almost two years ago with the correct spelling of my name. She has even gone as far as to make a pillow with the embroidering of our names and wedding date with my name spelled wrong. I know this may seem like a weird problem, but I feel this is just an example of many other careless, disrespectful things my mother-in-law does to make me seem less important. Thank you for your time.

—D

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Dear D,

The woman is hostile, honey ... either that, or a world-class dumbbell. The best way to respond (retaliate?) is to totally ignore this childish acting out. Don't even bother to correct her. Perhaps the next time your name shows up with her 13th alternate spelling, just laugh. It's too bad the relationship is so rotten, but there you are. Can you spell i-g-n-o-r-e her?

—Prudie, nonchalantly

Dear Prudie,

I read your
response to the woman who wrote about her truck-driver husband with cologne on his shirt. You shouldn't be so quick to think he's got a girlfriend. He may have a boyfriend ... or just like the quickies he can get from men at rest areas and truck stops. Being gay, I can tell you that just because a man is married to a woman, while he is on the road, he does not necessarily have an aversion to sex with a man or men. They also, more times than not, are the submissive partner. Just thought you should be enlightened to the real world.

—Out There

Dear Out,

Prudie is fanning herself. Yours was not the only such letter she received. Who would have thought that a truck driver whose shirt smelled of cologne would have generated so much mail? Here's another take on that letter:

Dear Pru,

I could not help but notice the quandary you addressed from the lady who suspected her husband was cheating on her. It could certainly be the case. I work as a dispatcher for a long-haul moving company, and, quite frankly, I find more cheating wives than I do husbands. These guys for the most part are on such tight schedules, they simply don't have time to fool around, and the money at stake is pretty significant. It takes a special lady to handle the oddball schedules and husbands who are away for weeks. Oh, the stories I could tell. I guess the letter you printed really hit home because I am, right now, dealing with a really great guy who found out his wife is cheating on him ... yet again. Just one man's thought.

—Mark