Dear Prudence: I’d like to give my deceased wife’s vibrator to my new girlfriend.

Help! My Wife Hardly Used Her Vibrator Before She Died. Can I Give It to My New Girlfriend?

Help! My Wife Hardly Used Her Vibrator Before She Died. Can I Give It to My New Girlfriend?

Advice on manners and morals.
March 14 2013 6:15 AM

Things That Make You Go Hmmm …

I’d like to give my new love the hardly used vibrator of my deceased wife. That cool?

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Dear Trying,
“We can’t afford that” should be a standard part of the parental vocabulary; it’s not an example of child abuse. In trying to protect your son from the difficult realities of his circumstances, you have surely left him more anxious and confused. His father’s gone and isn’t even helping raise him financially. You try to act as if everything is fine, but then tell him there’s not going to be milk for the cereal until the end of the week. Your son deserves the truth, told carefully and sensitively. Explain to him that because you’re living on a single income, and you don’t get paid a lot, money is tight. Fortunately, you have a good job, a home, and you’re both going to be OK. But you two need to live on a strict budget. That means you can’t buy some of things for him his friends have, and restaurants are for very special treats. Then tell him you two are going to work as a team. Have him grocery shop with you and keep track of what you’re spending—that will be good for his math skills. At home make cheap, delicious meals together—learning to cook will be another excellent life skill. Enroll him in free activities; for example see if there’s a nearby Boys & Girls Club. Look into all the services that are available to you: food stamps, food banks, subsidized meals at school, etc. Convey to him that living within your means does not mean deprivation, but the comfort in knowing that what you have, you can pay for.


Dear Prudence,
I am an American female by birth and my husband is from a conservative Asian country. His relatives recently moved to the U.S. and visit our home, and we theirs, frequently. My husband and I live an Americanized lifestyle, but I try to respect the cultural differences between us and his family. One problem is proper female attire. My in-laws believe a woman's clothes should cover everything except forearms. When my husband and I visit their home I try to wear their cultural dress or baggy clothes of my own. But how much I should change my style when they are visiting our home? Once when they came in the summer I wore a skirt and T-shirt and they looked at me in shock. Am I rude not to change my clothing style for my conservative family guests?

—Foreign Fashion Faux Pas


Dear Faux,
As summer draws near and shorts, tanks tops, halters, and flip-flops become de rigueur on city streets, your in-laws are going to be dropping not from the heat but from the sights. They are in America now. If they don’t like how Americans dress, they are just a plane ride away from a place where they are more comfortable with the sartorial standards. I agree with you about the distinction between your visiting their home, and their visiting yours. But in an effort to be overly accommodating, you are giving them the wrong idea about who you are when you appear at their door in their typical garb. It’s respectful to dress more conservatively in their home, but they need to get used to seeing you in your own clothing. When they visit you, wear what you would if you were entertaining any older guest. So in the summer that means a T-shirt and skirt is just fine. Joining their family and respecting their culture is not the same as adopting it. There’s no need for you to be defensive about dressing appropriately for American eyes.


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Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.