Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Oct. 14 2004 8:09 AM

When Nude Is Rude

Dealing with roommates who bare it all.

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Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click here to sign up. Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

Dear Prudence,

I am a single young woman and have been living with a married couple for about a year and a half. I would not consider myself sheltered, and I am not easily offended, but my roommates' behavior is borderline disgusting, and I am not sure how to handle it. About a year ago, the couple joined a nudist resort. They asked me several times if I was interested, and we had lengthy conversations about why I didn't think it was right for me. My male roommate then began hanging around the house naked, but his wife has never joined him. I made comments to him a couple of times like, "Hey, I don't want to see that," but the best he will do is have a blanket nearby to toss over his lap when I come in the room, or he will wear a thong (which is not much of an improvement). To top it off, they have recently started watching porn on the TV in the living room. I have no problem with porn in the bedroom with a spouse or significant other, but I think they are disrespecting their relationship, and me, by watching it in a more public area of the house. When I went downstairs yesterday morning to find a naked man in my kitchen, I was extremely annoyed. What do I do about these people?

—Not a Prude, but Not Crude

Dear Not,

What you do is tell them either the living room porn and the birthday suits go ... or you do. Prudie's guess is that you are there because they need the extra cash from a renter. You are not a family member, you are not a nudist, and the guy in the kitchen is the last straw. Get their commitment to rediscover clothes, or find another place to live.

—Prudie, courteously

Dear Prudie,

I have one heck of a dilemma and am in sorry need of advice. My husband, who I love dearly, is drinking more and more these days. He is retired and on disability. I have suggested counseling and many other forms of help, but he believes that is for the birds, and no way is he going to talk to someone else about "problems that don't exist." But it gets worse; he has now taken up driving with his drinking. Meaning not only is he drinking and driving but drinking WHILE he is driving! Plus, his eye sight is not what it used to be. We aren't kids, Prudie; he is 50 years old, and I'm 45. I admit I consume beer and wine, but I do it at home, and there is no way I would ever get behind the wheel once I have one drink. We live in a country setting, and I fear every time he gets in his car that someone is going to be hurt or, worse, killed. I have gone so far as to talk to a local policeman I know, and he said I should talk to the county sheriff's department and tell them what he is doing. I know if I do, they will put his vehicle on a watch list and pull him over just about anytime he is on the road. And I know that would result in a fourth DUI for him and some jail time. Would I be considered a bad wife if I do this? Tell me what you think, please.

—Sincerely,

Ready To Call the Cops

Dear Red,

Since he won't go to AA, you should go to Al-Anon, the support group for family members. An old truism regarding alcoholism is that if someone close to you thinks it's a problem, it's a problem. Your husband is in denial, obviously, and his three previous DUIs underline that problem. Drunk and impaired drivers have to be kept off the road because other people's lives are at stake, so by all means bring your concerns to the county sheriff's office. You have the chance to avert catastrophe. Do not consider your action duplicitous, but rather one of tough love. A perfect addition to this plan, if they are willing, would be for someone in the sheriff's office to advise your husband that, because of his record, he is now on that list. That way he will have been forewarned, and if he should wind up with a fourth DUI citation, he will be forced to confront the issue. You are certainly not a bad wife to look out for your own husband—as well as others on the road—but, rather, a good citizen. Prudie hopes you follow through.

—Prudie, preventively

Hi,

I have a question. I have several gay male friends, and I've noticed that many of them speak in a somewhat high register and often with a subtle lisp. Is this natural for them, due to a loss of testosterone, or is it a conscious effort they make to sound like what they think women sound like? Just curious, and thanks for your time.

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—Natsumi

Dear Nat,

Being curious along with you, Prudie asked a gay friend's opinion. Here is an edited version of what he said:

The kind of speech this woman is referring to is not meant to mimic women. It is too dramatized and over-the-top for that. It is a feminine way of speaking, but in an effeminate gay way, not feminine in the biological sense. It is a speech pattern considered to be in keeping with high camp. Everything is absolutely fabulous, and the voice and mannerisms are part of the presentation. I suspect that most, if not all, of the gay men who talk like this consider themselves the sexually passive partner, or the one taking the female role; they think this feminized talk is attractive to more masculine men. The problem with this scenario is that it's stuck in a time warp when gay social relationships tended to be as "natural" (i.e., heterosexual) as possible, something akin to African-Americans believing that white features, straight hair, etc., made them more attractive.

—Prudie, linguistically

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Dear Pru,

I am a 25-year-old single female with a question that neither my girlfriends nor I seem able to answer. I thought maybe your love expertise could help us. Everyone always says you will never forget your first love. My mother once told me that no love will ever be like your first and that even having been happily married for over 30 years, she still has dreams of her first high-school boyfriend. As for my single girlfriends and me, we are at the stage where some of us have experienced two or three serious relationships that for one reason or another have not resulted in marriage. Some complain that "the feeling" is just not there like it was with their first love. My question is: Does the magic that occurs with the first person you love ever repeat itself, or do we all just have Disney princess syndrome?

—Waiting for Prince Charming the Second

Dear Wait,

Disney princess syndrome? Prudie is unfamiliar with that but hopes it does not involve wanting a life with one of those cartoon animals. In any case, here's the benefit of her "love expertise." Your mother has done you a great disservice, and trust Prudie: The world is not filled with women dreaming of some kid from 30 years ago. "The first love" ideal is one of those folkloric things that's been romanticized and overrated. While it is true that some women may always remember their first love, this in no way means that the ones to follow will not be superior. As for your direct question, the magic does repeat itself—and often with improvements on the original.

—Prudie, historically