A: I agree with you that dressing up as Honey Boo Boo and family is a tasteless mistake. It's not a matter of offending the neighbors, it's a matter of explaining to the kids that even though these people are on television, they are real human beings leading dysfunctional, even depraved lives. You understand the impulse to laugh, but mocking the poor, uneducated, and disabled will make your own children appear mean and insensitive.
Q. Re: Kink Disclosure: Don't you think you had a kind of mocking tone there? C'mon. We all have something (sometimes deep) in our psyche.
A: Yes, and what goes on in one's head is fortunately encased in a skull so our little private movies are just that. The problem is when your partner become Cecil B. DeMille and recruits you to star in an actual production of "Plushies in Chains."
Q. The Cock Doesn't Crow: Our neighbors bought several chickens and a rooster and raise their own fresh, organic eggs. The rooster would wake us up every morning before dawn and crow incessantly throughout the day. I gave my teenage son a BB gun for his birthday, and not long afterward the neighbor's rooster went missing. I asked him if he had anything to do with the rooster's disappearance (for which I am very grateful) and he denies having anything to do with it. Unfortunately, my neighbors are convinced that he killed their rooster, despite having no evidence to support their claim. They are insisting that my son replace the bird, but I don't think that would be fair unless we were sure he did it. Besides, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet. We have put up with the neighbor's noise to keep the peace, but I don't want to take this. Is it ok for us to stand our ground this time?
A: Speaking of foxes, I assume people who raise chickens understand that incessant crowing is a siren song to predators for miles around—and I don't mean kids with BB guns. A fox or a dog could easily have taken out your local Chanticleer. Stand your ground (not in the Florida sense, just the moral one) and tell your neighbors your son has denied any involvement, they have zero evidence, and they just need to be more attentive to guarding the hen house.
Q. Re: For the alcoholic FIL: Perhaps some of the other guests at the party don't drink much and they could have a designated sober table (with all of the guests agreeing of course). That way he wouldn't feel alone. There are always people at a wedding who don't drink.
A: Good idea, thanks.
Q. Tried To Help Someone Out: My son has a friend who is a good kid. I knew the friend's mother and she lost her home and job. She told me that she was trying to get her housecleaning business off of the ground and even though I don't need someone to clean my house, I hired her to help her out. She is a single mom, and my mom was, too, so I have a soft spot for ladies in that position. I've also loaned her money (which I don't expect to see again but I wanted to help her child). Long story short, I recently realized that she has been stealing from me, mostly jewelry that I don't wear much but has great sentimental value to me. Obviously, I can't have her clean my home any longer, but how do I handle things so that her child is not hurt?
A: You're entitled to contact the police, but even if you don't want to, you should fire this woman immediately. When do so, you can tell her that you're sorry for her situation, but items have started going missing and you're letting her go. You don't have to say anything to her son, and he can continue to come over. Just bring him to the door to meet his mother when she picks him up.
Q. Husband's Prejudiced Grandfather Ruined Wedding: My husband's grandpa has always made uncomfortable racial comments. In the privacy of his home, I'd keep my mouth shut and not say anything, as I knew it would cause a rift in my own relationship. I was married a month ago, and three of the couples invited were gay and lesbian friends of ours. Another couple, my cousin and her girlfriend, also attended. During the dancing at the wedding, my husband's grandpa approached my cousin and asked, "Are you a boy or a girl?" She answered him politely. Later on in the evening, he was retelling this in a crowd and blurted out, while I was in earshot, "It told me it was a girl. I can't believe those (epithet)s throw it in our faces out in public." I was furious—and pulled him aside to tell him how hurtful his comments were. He left in a huff with my husband's grandma. It has been three weeks since we got back from our honeymoon, and my husband's family has gone almost completely silent on us. Except for one message from my husband's grandmother, who has asked me to apologize to her husband! She's either gotten a very edited story of what happened, or she's a fool along with her husband. I haven't responded. What should I do?
A: Where's your new husband? He needs to respond to his grandmother's message by explaining to her that grandpa repeatedly, and loudly, insulted your friends at the wedding and that you quite properly pulled grandpa aside and told him to cut it out. If your husband's family wants to cut you two out because you refuse to be entertained by racist and homophobic rants, then that frees up a lot of time to be with more agreeable people.
Q. Am I Unfaithful?: My husband was laid off, and has been feeling worthless and struggling with unemployment. At the same time, I have a very fulfilling friendship with a guy on the other side of the country. We IM and text all the time, and he makes me feel happy. It's not romantic (although he does make me feel like a desirable woman again). I love my husband, and what I want most is for him to be feel good about himself, and for us to be happy—but I worry I'm being unfaithful, being so close and getting so much support from my friend, while I try to help my husband. I find myself looking forward to his calls, and think of him a lot—I feel as though I should cut him off, but I really don't want to, he's really helping me at the moment.
A: It sounds as if you'd have some serious explaining to do if your husband saw the written evidence of this guy's "support." You probably know that if he weren't across the country, he'd be "supporting" you in a hands-on fashion. Yes, it's a drag being with someone who is feeling worthless. But if you're wondering in writing whether your behavior is a violation of your husband's trust, you already know the answer.
Emily Yoffe: Thanks, everyone. Talk to you next week.
In a new approach, we’re publishing the chat transcript in shorter, more digestible pieces. You will still be getting all the questions and answers, and we may even publish bonus letters Prudie didn’t get to address during the chat hour.
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