Help! My 19-Year-Old Niece Has Made a Porno. Should I Tell Her Mother?

Advice on manners and morals.
May 3 2012 6:00 AM

A Dirty Debut

My 19-year-old niece just confessed to me she's made a porn film. Should I tell the family?

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Dear Stupid,
A few weeks ago I got a letter from a woman who had abruptly broken off a close friendship that left her abandoned friend confused and bereft. The reason was that the letter writer had had an affair with the other woman’s husband. This is an explanation for some mysteriously severed connections. But there are many other alternatives, and you present a compelling and likely more common one: being a giant doofus. We’ve all put aside the social task that we wanted to take the time to do well, postponed the email that should be long and full, only to realize we never did it at all. The dashed-off note that gets sent is preferable to the heartfelt missive that dies aborning. But here you are, having destroyed a wonderful friendship because you never finished the note acknowledging your friend’s wonderfulness—calling O. Henry! I agree that there are no amends that will set you up for a joint 60th birthday celebration. But even now your friend deserves an explanation. She must have gone over every exchange of that birthday weekend wondering what in the world she did or said that so offended you. Write her address on an envelope today and enclose this column with a cover letter saying that “Stupid and Cowardly” is you. Say you make no excuse for your behavior, but you finally wanted to do the right thing, thank her for her kindness, and let her know why you disappeared.

—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
My wife has a huge crush on a famous celebrity. She and I met in college and she used to have posters of him all over her room. She has DVDs of every movie he’s been in. When he's on TV she won’t talk to me and watches him entranced. I'm not jealous because there’s no possibility of her meeting him. But I feel weird hearing about my wife's crush so frequently in my own home. Am I being petty for wanting her to stop talking about him to me? Am I going to turn into a control-freak husband if I ask her to get rid of some of his memorabilia?

—Not a Fan

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Dear Not,
As Princess Diana once said of her husband Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” You married your wife knowing it was just you, her, and Brad Pitt. Ever since you and your now-wife got together, she’s probably been imagining that you are Brad and she’s Geena Davis being ravished in Thelma & Louise. You are not going to extinguish this obsession, and as long as your home is not an open pit dedicated to Pitt memorabilia, her collection is her business. But it is fair for you to tell her that while you understand that she’s Brad’s (or whoever’s) most devoted fan, you’d appreciate hearing a little less about him. If she can’t put a lid on it, maybe it’s time you started collecting Angelina dolls.

—Prudie

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.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column. 

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