Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
May 29 2003 11:43 AM

Infatu-Asian

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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 husband has a thing for Asian women (we are both Caucasian), and I don't know how to handle it. Whenever we are out in public or watching TV and he sees Asian girls/women, he can't take his eyes off them. It makes me uncomfortable and really throws a damper on any outing. From the time he spots one, he is distracted. I had a good friend who is Chinese, but the friendship fizzled after I found out (from him) that he came on to her once when he'd been drinking. He developed a crush on a co-worker of his who is Japanese, but fortunately they no longer work together. I don't believe either of these women encouraged him in any way. I had never felt prejudice against Asians until I realized that my husband is fascinated by the women. Now his obsession has turned into my obsession. My stomach is in knots every time we are in the presence of an attractive Asian woman. In my husband's rise up the corporate ladder, he may inherit a secretary who is Asian, and it has become one of my biggest fears. I really don't think I will be able to handle it. This isn't far-fetched because we live in an area with a higher-than-average Asian population. I have talked to my husband very honestly about my feelings. He denies that he is obsessed, but denial is standard operating procedure where he is concerned. I know I can't change what type of women my husband is attracted to, but how can I learn to live with this?

—No Asian Vacations 

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Dear No,

Well, now you are both obsessed with Asian women. Their attraction for American men is nothing new; they can be exotic-looking, along with having the cultural stereotype of a docile, man-pleasing submissiveness. This, of course, is not necessarily the reality. As for the electricity these women hold for your husband, there is nothing you can do except put in some time with a therapist—and maybe take your husband with you—to talk about your fears and try to come away with a way to manage them. No offense, but one wonders why your mate did not marry one of these women in the first place. Your response to the situation may be extreme, but it is evident that you did not manufacture this problem out of thin air. And you must resolve this insecurity if you are to have any peace of mind. Get thee to a shrink.

—Prudie, therapeutically

Dear Prudie,

The other day, I came out of the shower and went directly into my bedroom (wearing a robe). After putting my dirty clothes in the laundry basket and getting my clean clothes out of the dresser, I proceeded take off my robe and get dressed. After I got dressed, I went into my home office to check my e-mail. My boyfriend (who does not live with me) came into the room and asked me where his 7-year-old daughter—recently dropped off for a visit—was. I thought she was in the living room with him. He calls to her, and she tells us that she was hiding in my closet, watching me dress. I was COMPLETELY embarrassed and felt violated. She saw me NAKED! I took him aside and asked that he speak to her. He did, and she apologized but told me that she said she was sorry only because her dad told her to. My problem is that I can't seem to get past the embarrassment and mistrust that I feel. I spoke to him about it, and he said that I should be over it by now. How do I handle being around her and "get over it" and, in the meantime, not let it destroy my relationship with my boyfriend?

—Victim

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Dear Vic,

The kid did not do herself any good by arranging a peep show, but do realize: She's a KID. Kids like to see grown-ups naked. Granted, it was sneaky and rude, but there you are. As you wisely mention, your relationship with the boyfriend could take a hit if you do not put this in the past and continue to be cordial to the little monster. So do it.

—Prudie, rationally

Dear Prudence,

I have a question about appropriate levels, if any, of public displays of affection. I belong to a group of friends who are all around the same age, in their 20s and 30s. Included in this circle is a newlywed couple; let's call them Katie and Andy. We were introduced to Katie and Andy as an engaged couple, and shortly thereafter we began including them in group social activities. At the beginning several of us noticed that Katie and Andy had no compunctions about public displays of affection. Mostly this involved kissing and snuggling, which we found cute. Since then, however, there have been some significant exceptions. The first few times we chalked it up to pre-wedding enthusiasm. As the incidents continued and became progressively steamy (verging on lap dancing—I kid you not), we rationalized it as a sign of how comfortable Katie and Andy were with everyone in the group. At a party, with several children present, when everyone gathered in the living room later in the evening, we were shocked to see Katie reclined on the couch with Andy on top of her. They were intertwined, kissing, and writhing together. None of us consider ourselves to be particularly prudish. Are we wrong to find this behavior rude and inappropriate?

—Affectionate in Private

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Dear Aff,

This is not a tough one. Tell them to knock it off, and if they won't, stop inviting them places. There are such things as taste and judgment, and this couple appears to have neither.

—Prudie, appropriately

Dear Prudence,

I have been involved with my current boyfriend for over two years now. We have a son, and the pregnancy caught us both off guard (during our sophomore year in college). We currently live with my parents due to financial constraints and have done so for over a year now. He consistently plays computer games throughout the day and easily becomes angry over stress and our son misbehaving. I feel neglected by his gaming habits. He feels I am "too demanding" and that he needs his space. I want a different life than the one we are currently leading, and he doesn't seem to want the things I want. I feel he is still rather self-centered even after having a child. How should I approach this?

—Wanting Commitment

Dear Want,

"Alone" may be the answer to your question. No one needs to live in her parents' house with a baby and a boyfriend who plays games all day. Why is this chap not working or going to school? Prudie would suggest couples counseling, and if his approach to life does not alter, you are young enough—and with the cushion of your parents' support—to finish your education and make a new start. Nothing about this relationship sounds promising. As for wanting his "space," if he cannot radically change, he should be given lots of it. Away from you. Good luck.

—Prudie, alterationally