Dear Prudence: My friend may have uploaded revenge porn of his ex.

Help! My Friend May Have Uploaded a Sex Video of His Ex.

Help! My Friend May Have Uploaded a Sex Video of His Ex.

Advice on manners and morals.
Oct. 3 2013 6:00 AM

Unwilling Amateur

My friend may have uploaded a sex video of his ex. Should I tell her?

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Dear Prudie,
My best friend is expecting her first child, and I couldn't be more excited for her. Unfortunately, she recently asked if I would host her gender reveal party, because (sign of the apocalypse!) this is a thing that people do now. She is getting a sonogram next week to determine her baby's gender and the results will go directly into a sealed envelope. They will pass that to me and I will open it. Depending on the result, I will fill a large box with either pink or blue balloons that she and her husband will open at this party, in front of dozens of friends and family. I have gone to more than my share of bachelorette parties, bridal showers, bridal luncheons, engagement parties, and baby showers without complaint and usually with enjoyment. But the gender reveal trend leaves a bad taste. This is a stupid idea, right? I'm pretty much already roped into hosting, so my question is: How do I pull this party off without giving away how narcissistic and unnecessary I think it is?

—It's a Whatever!

Dear Whatever,
For signs of the apocalypse brought to you by technological innovation, see also the first letter. I totally agree that the gender reveal is a noxious trend. It puts undue emphasis on a baby’s sex with all the accompanying pink and blue assumptions. It also encourages making public displays out of private moments. This whole thing makes me wish society would adopt the attitude from a more superstitious age. In Jewish tradition one does not have a shower for a pregnant woman so as not to attract the attention of the Angel of Death, and a baby’s name is not announced until after the birth. The mother-to-be may be your best friend, but that shouldn’t mean you get roped into doing things that leave you uneasy. If the invitations haven’t already gone out, talk to your friend. Tell her you couldn’t be more excited for her, but that finding out the sex of the baby is something private between her and her husband and you are simply uncomfortable with the notion of making this an event. If people are already planning to come, tell your friend you don’t want to be the one to announce this news. Say you’re happy to host a party—you’ll supply both pink and blue balloons—but that the envelope should stay in her possession, as the news, like the baby, is for her to deliver.



Dear Prudence,
When I was in high school my dream was to become a professional writer. My teachers were very encouraging but my parents refused to allow me to study creative writing in college, saying I needed to pursue something "safe" like nursing, which I did. The writing urge has never completely gone away and in the last couple of years I've come up with a unique (I think) way of dealing with it. I compose and send in made-up letters to advice columns and keep track of how many are published. Apparently I'm pretty convincing, because out of the two dozen or so I've made up, over half have made it into the paper. I get a kick out of seeing my letters published but I'm beginning to wonder if this is a little strange. I chose you to receive my first "real" letter because I usually agree with your advice. So please give me your honest opinion on my hobby. I don't feel that I'm hurting anyone but is this a strange thing for someone to do?

—I Swear This Letter Is 100 Percent True

Dear Swear,
I’d say thanks for leaving me out of your experiments, but your sign-off has me feeling as if I’ve just been sucked into a variation of the liar's paradox. I adamantly refuse to believe you are the author of the "twincest" letter! Years ago, students at Yale waged a long-running scam on Ann Landers, inventing letters and then crowing about it when she bit. Of course, I have wondered if some Prudie letters are fiction, but the reality of the human condition never fails to amaze and I have an abiding belief that the overwhelming majority of letters are real. I’m not about to contact the writers and fact-check their darkest secrets. I would hate to think I’ve been hoaxed, and I can’t endorse your hobby, but you have every right to it. However, given your high success rate, you clearly have an understanding of provocative, but credible, dilemmas. If you really want to pursue your writing dream, I’d suggest going into nursing could be the best thing to happen to you. Your profession must be providing you with endless material about humanity in extremis. So I say start plotting that novel based on your experiences. If it gets published, I want an invitation to the book party.


More Dear Prudence Columns

Reign of Terror: The president of my company just ‘pantsed’ someone at work.”
Come Again Never: My two little neighbor girls need somebody in their lives, but their visits annoy me.”
Too Much Kindness: A man keeps giving presents to my 5-year-old daughter, and it’s freaking me out.”
A Separate Peace: I’m losing my battle with cancer and want to stop treatment, but my family thinks I’m giving up too soon.”

More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts

Occupy the Dollhouse: In a live chat, Prudie advises a mother whose niece flaunts her expensive toys in front of her cousins.”
Toilet Paper: In a live chat, Prudie advises a man whose co-worker always takes the office newspaper to the bathroom.”
Me or the Dog: In a live chat, Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend wants her to give away her cocker spaniel.”
Snip and Tell: In a live chat, Prudie advises a woman who’s been trying to get pregnant—only to find out her husband had a secret vasectomy.”

Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.