Help! I Think My Relative Is Hiding Something Truly Awful in His House.

Advice on manners and morals.
June 27 2013 6:15 AM

Fright in the Attic

My creepy relative won’t let anyone set foot in his house. Could he be hiding something terrible?

(Continued from Page 1)

Dear Prudie,
I am a young media professional working at a small, niche publication in the Midwest. Everyone I work around is at least 10 years older. I've only been at the company for about six months, but already I've noticed some issues in our efforts to reach and expand our audience. Right now, our publisher, in addition to her many other responsibilities, handles both our website and social media. We have some online presence, but I have training in this realm and I know we could be doing a lot more. For example, we have Web content that isn't being posted, and what’s there sometimes requires obscure search terms to find. I've brought this up to my editors who shrug and say it's the publisher's responsibility. My publisher is not a receptive person when it comes to change. Do you think it's worth making the effort to try to improve this?

—Stymied

Dear Stymied,
The incompetent, oblivious boss is starting to lap porn-addicted husbands and crazy mothers-in-law in my in-box. Apparently, the motto at your small, niche publication is “We’re becoming ever more obscure!” I think you should put together a proposal of what you would like to do over the next three months to expand your online and social media presence. Make specific recommendations and say you will take this on in addition to your current duties because you are committed to broadening the reach of your publication. If the publisher blows you off you have to consider whether, like the letter writer above, you’d be better off at an enterprise that would still like to be around in the coming years.

—Prudie

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Dear Prudie,
My ex-husband is a Disney hater. He's always held very strong opinions about the evil this company has done to the world, their financing of war conflicts, their stereotyping, and their indoctrination of young minds. We have a daughter and when we were married, I accepted that we would raise her Disney-free, even though I have fond memories of watching Disney movies as a child. So our 9-year-old daughter watches Disney productions when she's with me, but I don’t know if she’s told my ex. I’m now remarried and my husband has family in California near Disneyland. He loved going there as a kid and would like to offer the same experience to his stepdaughter. My daughter wants to go but is fearful of displeasing her father. (My ex is also very jealous and has forbidden our daughter to refer to my husband as her stepfather, but that's another story.) My husband argues that my ex does not have any say in the way we spend our money or where we want to take the girl for vacation, as long as she's not endangered, and Disneyland hardly counts as "endangerment of a child.” We're traveling to California in August so we have to make a decision. My ex will say that we had an agreement on how to raise our daughter and I’m violating it. Help!

—We’re Going to Disneyland?

Dear Going,
There’s an argument to be made for limiting any corporation’s hold on your child particularly one responsible for the travesty of Oz the Great and Powerful. I also agree with Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, in her objections to the Disney-fueled princessification of American girlhood. But this isn’t evil, it’s just marketing. As for how Disney spends its money, someone has to tell your ex-husband that Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise doesn’t mean the company is actually in the military business. There is plenty in this letter that makes clear why this man is your ex. You mention as an aside that he forbids his daughter to call her stepfather her stepfather, a crazy and unenforceable demand. Your ex seems to specialize in these. Unless your divorce and custody arrangement specifically had a goofy Mickey Mouse clause that your daughter can not be exposed to any Disney products, I agree with your husband that your ex can’t stop all of you from standing in line for hours when you’re in Anaheim. But I’m worried about your daughter’s fear of her father’s displeasure. After this vacation, you don’t want your daughter to feel she either has to lie to him about what she did on her summer vacation or endure his wrath. So Mom, when you get back, you should give your ex a heads-up about your trip to the dark side. You need to be able to calmly talk all this through with your girl and tell her she should let you know if her father gets angry about things. It could be that your daughter needs more Disney and less Dad in her life.

—Prudie

More Dear Prudence Columns

Skin Deep: Should a husband tell his wife how he feels about her physical flaws?” Posted March 22, 2012.
My Gay Husband: He’s closeted, but I don't mind. Should I set him free anyway?” Posted March 15, 2012.
Gastric Warfare: I fear my mother-in-law is poisoning me, but my husband doesn’t believe it.” Posted March 8, 2012.
Smell Ya Later!: Should I break up with my fiance because he thinks I have horrible body odor?.” Posted March 1, 2012.

More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts

The Wrong Touch: In a live chat, Dear Prudence offers advice on a frisky roommate, felonious family members, and friends who become lovers.” Posted April 2, 2012.
Whoa, Momma: During a live chat, Dear Prudence offers advice on having children after tragedy, elective surrogacy, and the demands of parenting twins.” Posted March 26, 2012.
Should I Leave My Infertile Partner?: In a live chat, Dear Prudence advises a man who wants to bolt after learning his girlfriend can’t have kids.” Posted March 19, 2012.
Sex Education: In a live chat, Prudie advises a student whose pregnant friend doesn’t know where babies come from.” Posted March 12, 2012.

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

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