Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 19 2002 11:38 AM

Feets of Endurance

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 Pru,

I've read about a few kinky carryings-on in your column but have never seen what I am dealing with. My boyfriend (and we are not kids) is seriously into the foot thing. He occasionally does things to my feet, but mostly he likes me to do things to his. I find feet, in general, kind of gross, but I must say that his are at least well-kept. Anyway, the "real" sex between us is wonderful, but I would like to know if he is a deviate who perhaps needs professional help.

—Louisiana Lady

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Dear Lou,

Your feet-seeking missile is not a deviate, my dear, as the term is generally understood. And as kinks go, this one is (with apologies to Roger Ebert) two toes up. Because you say the "real" sex is good, this can be thought of as just a little something that turns him on. Foot fetishism, by the way, can take many forms. Your beau's inclination seems more "normal" than sniffing shoes, does it not? In any case, the B.F. is not a candidate for professional help ... unless it would be from a reflexologist, who would, of course, be paid to concentrate on his tootsies. Just try to think of your beloved's idea of foreplay as ... well, a footnote.

—Prudie, playfully

Dear Prudence,

My husband of more than 20 years said he would grant my request and quit smoking the day he proposed to me but never has. I've hung in there, puff after puff, hoping for him to make good on his promise. Now not only is his smoking killing him, it repels me. His coughing, hacking, and smoky odor is so unattractive to me, I am no longer at all interested in him sexually. We have two great teenage kids, so I think I should stick around a few more years until they're fledged while faking it. Your opinion, please?

—Smoked Out

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Dear Smoke,

Faking what, my dear? But onward ... if you are inclined to stick around until your kids are grown up, fine with Prudie. But seeing as how your husband has not been able to keep his promise to you for more than 20 years, it is perfectly acceptable for you to Lysistrata him and say you will resume conjugal relations when cuddling up with him does not seem like getting it on with an ashtray.

—Prudie, odiferously

Dear Prudie,

My situation is this: I am currently dating a guy after a six-year break from one another. We were high-school sweethearts, separated for college, and recently, at 25, he contacted me, and we've begun dating again. Everything is GREAT ... with one exception. He has major issues with events that occurred during our time apart. I had a few flings in college, more sexual partners than he did, and he has a problem with this. He told me, "I just don't want to think of my girlfriend as ever being promiscuous or slutty." Such a double standard! How can I get him to forget the past and look toward our future? Will he ever get over it? Certain things on TV make him think of things ... and he told me he wishes he could have locked me away for the past six years to keep me untainted. Please help.

—Heather

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Dear Heth,

Oh, please. This chap has the kind of problem you don't even want to try to fix. He has somehow worked it out that whatever sex life you had while you two were apart was somehow you cheating on HIM. His understanding is lousy, and his jealousy quotient high. Prudie would recommend that you man the lifeboats and get away from this reconstituted romance—fast. If you continue with someone who thinks like this, there's a good chance he may try to lock you away, socially, for the next six years.

—Prudie, definitively

Dear Prudie,

Some of my neighbors and I are beginning to be concerned about a man living at home with his mother. He's in his early 30s and, according to the mom, just moved in until he could get on his feet. Well, two years later he's still on his ass, in front of the TV drinking beer. He's not even pretending to look for a job. Of course, we're avoiding socializing with him. (Our neighborhood is, or at least
was great for informal get-togethers in the summertime). No one wants to get together now because "Sam" might show up. He tells stories (to be kind about it) that are so blatantly false that we other adults are embarrassed for him. And he hangs out only with the kids in the neighborhood. One mother forbade her two boys to go into his mother's house when she found out they were visiting him alone. In short, he creeps us out. His mother has a total blind spot, and that drives everyone nuts. Sam doesn't pay rent, do any upkeep in the house or yard, and is becoming infantalized the longer he stays there. Frankly, we'd love for him to leave the neighborhood, but why should he when he has it so good? His younger, far more successful brother and his wife have mentioned to the mom that she was making Sam too dependent on her. The next time they visit, do we take the wife aside to mention our concerns about his drinking and wanting to play only with the kids in the neighborhood, or do we just do a massive MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS and cluck behind our backs?

—Tired of Shaking My Head in Disbelief

Dear Tire,

Alas, the only real option open to you and your neighborhood pals is to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and cluck. You cannot open up the mother's eyes and get Sam to stop sponging off the ol' girl or make him give up the tube, stop drinking beer, look for a job, quit lying, pay rent, or clean up the yard ... or leave the neighborhood. What you can do, however, is enlist the help of the smart mother who put Sam off-limits to her kids in informing the other mothers that nothing good is going on with this thirtysomething lout. Good luck.

—Prudie, pragmatically