Help! I’m a Breast Cancer Survivor Who Thinks “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” Is Silly.

Advice on manners and morals.
Oct. 14 2013 2:57 PM

All Pinked Out

In today’s chat, Prudie advises a breast cancer survivor who refuses to participate in national breast cancer awareness campaigns.

(Continued from Page 1)

A: You may know this is who you want to be with, but the corrections department of your state is going to have other ideas. I also don't know what "next step" you envision with someone whose steps are constrained by leg irons, or eventually maybe ankle monitoring. You're right that when your beloved is behind bars, he tends not to make a lot of demands of your time. But that your boyfriend gives you a lot of space is a given when you're talking about a prisoner. You say you're going to get comments from the people who love you that you're making a big mistake. But you don't even deal with the mistake your boyfriend made that resulted in him "just happening to be in prison." If you're writing to me in order to get support for bringing a convict into the life of your young child, then you've come to the wrong place. If you're imagining a wedding and you realize your wedding color should be orange to match the groom's jumpsuit, then you need to have another think about your choices.

Q. Re: Breast cancer funds: My boyfriend's mother had breast cancer about seven years ago, and thankfully is in remission also. He was obsessively purchasing pink ribbon yogurts, items, etc., and pretty much mandated I do the same. I sat him down with some research about where the funds go to some of the better known breast cancer foundations and pointed out to him the, in my opinion, criminal way many of the donations are handled. I volunteer at hospitals for breast cancer patients to help. He jumped on board with me. You don't need to justify your choice of not walking around with a pink ribbon tattooed on your head.

A: Exactly. Follow the money is excellent and sobering advice. Peggy Orenstein wrote a fabulous story in the New York Times Magazine a few months ago exposing the dark side of the major breast cancer organizations. But it's also true that just because someone has been diagnosed with a disease, they are not now obligated to pour all their energy into it. If someone has had breast cancer but her charitable passion is habitat protection or vaccinations in developing countries, she should not be pressured to spend her life on pink ribbons.

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Q. Re: Grandchildren's Names: Please follow Prudie's advice. My husband's family asked us the very same thing for our third child that we are expecting in February. It put us in an awkward place, to say the least. Our choice of names for our children has nothing to do with how much we love and appreciate our parents and everything to do with what names we like and want to pass on. Your kids likely know that you are hurt by this; we certainly picked up vibes before they were clearly articulated to us. Please remember that they are not selecting other names to hurt you, they are just selecting other names for personal preference that can and should remain personal.

A: Hurt grandparents, please read this!

Q. Only Wants to Make Love AFTER I'm About to Head Out the Door!: I love my boyfriend so much. He is an amazing partner in all aspects, except for one thing that has been driving me absolutely nuts lately. He has taken to ravaging me after I am done getting ready for work or volunteering, etc. My hair done, makeup done, about to head out the door and he'll insist on ripping my clothes off and having some fun. The first time or two this happened, it was fun! I didn't mind that the last hour and a half was essentially a waste because it didn't happen that often. Prudie, he's doing this every single day now. I've passive aggressively said to him “You seem intent on messing up my hair and makeup every day eh?” and he's just agreed and clearly not gotten the hint. He got a bit upset when I denied him the other day because I would have been late. Any suggestions for curbing his enthusiasm for getting frisky right as I'm about to start my day?

A: Since there are fetishes for everything (people who can't get aroused unless their beloved is wearing slippers with big bunny heads on the toes, etc.) I'm wondering if there's more to this than the fact that you look ravishing and in need of ravishing when you're on your way out the door. It's one thing to have a very occasional quickie that puts a spring in your step. It's another that now your boyfriend insists every day that you redo your entire toilette and miss your morning appointments. So stop hinting and start talking. Do so at the end of the day, after you've gotten into your sweats. Tell your boyfriend you're thrilled he's so attracted to you, but that you just cannot make love in the morning when you need to get to work. Say you were concerned that he seemed pissed off when you explained the other day you couldn't go back to bed, and you wonder if something is going on he needs to tell you. I hope this results in some honest conversation and some respect for your schedule. If not, so that you can get out the door, keep a Taser in your purse.

Q. Ex-girlfriend and Girlfriend: I have fallen in love with my former assistant. She started working for me when I was still married to my ex-wife, and the two of them used to have a sisterly relationship. When my ex and I divorced she drifted away from a lot of our mutual friends, including my now girlfriend. My ex and I will both be attending a wedding soon and I am not sure whether it is appropriate for me to call and tell her about my new love. I never cheated on her with my girlfriend and was not romantically involved with this woman until recently.

A: Once someone becomes your ex, you are no longer obligated to clue them in about your social life. I think it would sound extremely defensive for you to call your ex and say, "I wanted you to know that Jennifer and I are now a couple. We weren't getting it on when you and I were married! Seriously, we weren't." Instead, when you all run into each other you say hello. I assume there will be some raised eyebrows or expression of surprise on your ex-wife's face. That gives you the opportunity to say, "Jennifer and I reconnected six months ago. As you can see, this time it's a personal, not a professional relationship!”

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

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