The Naked and the Bed
I want to sleep nude with my wife-to-be, but she refuses. Can I change her mind?
I am a widower with teenage children. Through my church, I met a divorced woman with two younger children. I would like to marry her. My problem is that there's something I would like her to do that she refuses. My wife and I slept together in the nude every night, even after having kids. One of my fondest memories was how we would hold each other as we drifted off to sleep, and when we woke, how sensuous and intimate it was. It also provided an incentive to work out any problems so we could look forward to going to bed each night. When I discussed this topic with my new love, she made it clear that she would never sleep naked with kids in the house. I assured her that parents can sleep in the nude and not cause any harm to children. All our kids saw were bare shoulders, and we kept robes next to the bed. The woman I now love is not my former wife nor is she a substitute, but I really want to keep this one joyful element from my old marriage in my next marriage. I don't want to give up this relationship, but would like this one request honored, yet she refuses. What should I do?
What was mutual in your first marriage would be resented in your second. Even if you could get your new wife to agree (and it sounds as if you couldn't), it would hardly be erotic to find that though she was naked, she was also cold and unresponsive. I agree that what you had with your first wife sounds blissful, and that you're not pulling a Vertigo and trying to remake your second wife in her image. But if someone doesn't want to sleep in the nude with kids in the house (particularly a set of stepkids), trying to convince her of the benefits will only drive her into a flannel nightgown. Drop the discussion and let it go. Perhaps on a night down the road, when you two are by yourselves, after you have made love, suggest that you two fall asleep naked. If she agrees, enjoy it as something for special occasions (and if she doesn't, just forget it), but don't try to convince her that birthday clothes should be her nightly uniform.
Dear Prudence Video: Family of Freeloaders
I recently worked for Barack Obama's campaign in Iowa. Since returning home, my grandfather has been sending me anti-Obama e-mails, including several claiming Obama is a Muslim. I have never known my grandfather to be anything but a good man who served his country, so I bit my tongue. However, these e-mails have persisted, and now I'm receiving some that are not just anti-Obama, but anti-Muslim. These e-mails have crossed from that which I disagree with politically to that which is sheer bigotry. While I can simply delete the e-mails, it is also upsetting because his e-mail list is in the hundreds, and includes my entire extended family and family friends, many of whom now openly question me for supporting Obama and are 100 percent convinced he's a Muslim. Coming from the heartland, I'm used to finding myself a little to the left of my family in the political arena, but this is getting out of control. Is there anything I can do, or should I continue biting my tongue?
Next time you get one of these mass e-mails, hit the "Reply All" button. Write a brief, nondefensive message saying you felt the need to set the record straight. Explain that while you are a strong supporter of Barack Obama, and hope everyone will take a look at his candidacy, you want them to make their decision based on the truth, not Internet rumors. Say that Obama is a Christian, which they can confirm by taking a look at this article and this page from Obama's Web site. Before you do it, send an individual note to your grandfather explaining that while you respect that you have differing political views, you're sure he would want to know the facts about Obama—give him the links above—and let him know you're going to follow up with the group.
Photograph of Prudie by David Plotz.