And sometimes the bullies don’t actually mature and gain self-insight; they just get older and make life miserable for their co-workers. Unfortunately, jackasses such as your company’s vice president are sprinkled throughout offices across America, and everyone will encounter one. Sometimes the work bullies even have power over your paycheck. But the harassment will only escalate if you don’t firmly put a stop to it. The next time the VP comes over for one of his joke sessions, say, “Dick, I’m getting uncomfortable with the nature of your jokes, especially about drinking and doing drugs. I’m also not going to pretend to be drinking whiskey at my desk. Actually, I’d really appreciate it if you stopped making comments about the whole subject. Thanks so much.” Practice this at home and enroll a friend to play Dick so that you’re prepared for his possible come-backs. You can also start a personal file with a time stamp on it documenting Dick’s behavior in case he doesn’t get the message and either escalates or turns on you. If that happens, explain the situation to one of the higher-ups who thinks highly of your talents.
I’m in my late 20s and getting married shortly to a man with whom I have an incredible relationship. Many of our friends are getting married, too, and I recently found out that at a bachelor party last year there were strippers, when all of the wives and girlfriends had been told there were not. Apparently the men were sworn to secrecy by the groom. There was also a stripper at my future husband's bachelor party, when I had made clear that I was not comfortable with that. I am incredibly upset because my fiance has never been dishonest before. There is one couple in our group of friends who are the perpetrators of all this nastiness. The other wives and I think it's weird that a wife finds strippers for her husband's friends. Other than this, they are nice people. I feel betrayed and disrespected. How can I possibly get over these feelings before my wedding? How can I deal with my guy ever going to a bachelor party again? And how do I stand to see this couple socially?
—Stripped of Respect
It will be a good lesson for your marriage to accept that even if you would like to dictate the terms of all your future husband’s encounters, you can’t. Your fiance didn’t order the strippers, and unless he paid them for more intimate services, he did nothing to harm you by staying at the parties. He wasn’t even required to tell you all the details of what went on there. Although he might let you know if you were the kind of person who could have rolled her eyes and even laughed at the whole business. If you asked him point blank about strippers and he lied, he should apologize. But have sympathy for a guy who’s about to go through life with a wife who has a mental meltdown over something stupid at a party. What you do about your wedding and the other couple is lighten up. Now that just about all of you are married, your gang's wedding season is coming to an end. I’ve never heard of strippers at baby showers.
More Dear Prudence Columns
"A View to a Thrill: Neighbor boys peep at my scantily clad daughters. Should I have them cover up?” Posted June 30, 2011.
“Loving Thy Neighbor: I have sex with the couple next door. Should I tell my kids about it?” Posted June 23, 2011.
“Fatherly Advice: Dear Prudence advises a dad whose wife fears he'll abandon the family in favor of his long-lost daughter—and other Father's Day advice seekers.” Posted June 16, 2011.
“Businessman on the Road to Ruin: My wife doesn't know I visit strip bars and porn theaters while away on business. But that's not cheating, right?” Posted June 9, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“All Dogs Go to Heaven: Dear Prudence advises a dying husband on whether to confess his infidelity—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted June 27, 2011.
“Sloppy Stay-at-Home Mom: Prudie advises a man whose wife is great at everything except keeping the house neat—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted June 13, 2011.
“The 40-Year-Old Mean Girl: Prudie advises a former bully whose kids are being mistreated by her victim's children—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted June 6, 2011.
“The Accused: A young neighbor's unfounded claims put my family in danger. Should we allow the girl back into our lives?” Posted June 2, 2011.