Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
March 3 2005 7:05 AM

Too Much Information

Dealing with a relationship that's been tarnished.

9_dearprudence_01

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Dear Prudence,

Somehow I think you've heard this before. I've fallen hard for a wonderful woman, but the more I've gotten to know her, the more things she's told me about her past—disturbing things. She's a single mother and had a hard time with work. When we met, she told me that she'd always been a secretary (which is what she does now). Then she later admitted that for a year she worked as a stripper. Now she's confessed that for another year she worked as an "escort"—and though she claims she was a real escort, namely escorting men to dinner and such, I know, as everyone does, that "escort" simply means "prostitute." I like her but don't think I can get past that. I also don't want to hurt her. Should I forgive and (try to) forget, or should I concoct an excuse to get out? Help!

—John (Who's Not a John)

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Dear John,

Oh, my. The lady does have a past, as they say. The charitable explanation would be to assume that she never did more than her job description (because Prudie does not wish to hear from strippers and escorts). Alas, this girl was plying the sex trade for awhile, and Prudie gathers from your saying you "like" her that she was not the woman of your dreams to begin with. Different men respond to this kind of information differently, of course. For the record, some of the so-called society A-listers were launched, shall we say, as very upper-end call girls. (A current society page regular was known, years ago, as "Mimi From Geneva.") Taking an educated guess, in your case Prudie would say that the relationship has been irredeemably tarnished. And you don't need to concoct an excuse for an exit. "This is not working out" will do just fine.

—Prudie, inauspiciously

Dear Prudie,

I have an aunt who recently lost 50 pounds. For the past two months, it is all she can talk about. She talks about how horrible she looked before and how fat she was. We come from a family of "thick" people, not fat. While I am very happy for her losing all the weight, I am exhausted from every conversation being about how much weight she's lost and how horrible she looked before. I personally think she looked very good before losing the weight, for she was not fat, just thick. And the more weight she loses, I think, makes her look sickly. Not to mention that I feel bad about myself when I am around her because she makes it seem that "thick" people look horrible with the way she talks about her "old self." Is there a nice way to tell her that I am tired of the subject, and if she loses any more weight, she will look sick? Do you think I am just jealous, and that's why I feel like I do? Please advise.

—Thick, Beautiful, and Confident

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Dear Thick,

Losing 50 pounds is an achievement—if one has 50 pounds to lose. Prudie, herself, has crowed, from time to time, about knocking off 10 pounds. Not having seen your aunt, however, it's impossible to adjudicate whether she was fat or merely "thick." Prudie does not think you are jealous, per se, but Auntie's losing some of her avoirdupois might feel threatening to your own self-image, if, perhaps, you ever had doubts about being "thick." It is likely that she will stop talking about it ... sometime ... so until then, just change the subject. As for telling her that she is close to looking sick, that would be about as welcome as your hearing how unhappy she was when she was ... thick.

—Prudie, diplomatically

Dear Prudence,

I inherited a hair stylist when her predecessor retired. She is great with styling and coloring, but I can't afford her any more. I am trying to change to a less-expensive hair person, but I'm finding it very difficult. "Amy" always books me not just for one appointment but for two appointments in advance, saying that she's so busy that she needs to do that in order to secure me a spot on her schedule. She says I need to use special shampoo, which is quite expensive ($20 for a small bottle) and is only available through her. I've tried explaining that I just can't afford her anymore, but it's falling on deaf ears. I'm also a little nervous about leaving her as we are in the process of getting my hair back from a beautiful but expensive-to-keep-up red dye job to my natural color. I have images of pissing her off and ending up with orange hair when I go to another, cheaper operator. An additional challenge: I live in a small community where I am bound to bump into "Amy" after I make the break. Any advice for a wimpy person who wants her hair to look nice but can't afford a ritzy salon anymore?

Thank you,

—Pocketbook Challenged

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Dear Pock,

"Amy" is not only a good stylist, she is a good salesman. Prudie is sympathetic to your quandary because she, too, has a red dye job and fears that anyone other than her wonderful Cyndi will turn everything orange, or maybe even green. Because you write that your plaint of limited finances has fallen on deaf ears, you are now free to take matters into your own hands. Here are your options: If you can swing it, stay with Aggressive Amy until your natural color is back; go to another operator in the salon; or find a new place. As for seeing her around town, there is no shame in not being able to afford a particular service.

—Prudie, colorfully

Dear Prudence,

My roommate and I are both in our mid-20s, and we rent an apartment from my roommate's grandmother. (She lives in the building, too.) We both have steady boyfriends, and mine spends many a weekend night with me, which doesn't seem to bother anyone. She is reluctant to have her boyfriend visit and spend the night (since he does not live nearby) because she lives in mortal fear of her grandmother or someone else in her family thinking they sleep together and passing judgment on her. Apparently, she does not think it would be beyond any of them to ask such rude and invasive questions as "Where does Bobby sleep when he comes over?" She is terribly confused and upset about it, and I don't blame her. I think she should simply tell anyone who asks such a thing, "That's none of your business, and I'll thank you for not asking such IMPERTINENT questions again." She thinks she needs to make a big show of having a sleeping bag and bedclothes on the floor so as to sway her family's perception. What do you think?

—Trying To Help a Friend

Dear Try,

Prudie thinks girls in their mid-20s should be able to do as they please regarding sleepovers, certainly in their own apartment. She also thinks it would be highly unrealistic to expect a young woman to tell a family member, "That's none of your business, and I'll thank you for not asking such IMPERTINENT questions again." There is a chance that confirmation of being sexually active would not send anyone into a dead faint. If she is right, however, that she would be judged harshly, by all means go with the set decoration of the sleeping bag and bed linen on the floor.

—Prudie, practically