Friday, November 10, 2006

Telling it like it is

I have to say, I wasn't happy when Slate Magazine got a new Prudence (agony aunt). I liked the old one - she was a savvy New Yorker who looked as though she'd been there and done that, albeit in only the best style. So when a new younger woman came on the scene, I stopped reading it for a while, until one day, out of boredom I went to see what sort of advise this upstart was handing out.

And to my surprise (and delight) - I love it when someone proves me wrong and turns out to be a good egg - she's fantastic. She's a lot less diplomatic, and feels completely at ease to tell someone off when she thinks they're in the wrong. None of this fence-sitting business for her. You may not always agree with what she has to say, but at least she has an opinion, which in this oh so politically correct world we live in, you've got to respect for it's sheer ballsiness.

This week was no different, one woman sent in the following:

Dear Prudence,
I've been married for a little over a year. I met my husband several years ago when we were neighbors; he was married at the time and had a young son. He moved away, got divorced, and I didn't see him for several years. Then we reconnected, dated, and got married very quickly. His son is now 10 and I'm having a really hard time getting to like the boy. This might sound mean, but I can't stand him sometimes. I know he's a child, and that he gets his bad manners from his psycho mother, but everything about him just grosses me out: the way he eats; the way his mother dresses him (like a little rapper); that he's too lazy to even clean his room. I try so hard to hide my feelings, but my husband senses it sometimes. I take his son to buy school clothes or toys, but he can't behave and it's driving me insane. I really don't know what to do, especially now that we have him every weekend. I asked my husband if he can give me "me" time at least once a month, but his excuse is that he hates leaving his son with his ex-wife. I really can't take sharing my husband with his son. What should I do?

—Can't Stand Him!

Prudence responded with:

Dear Can't,

What a heartbreaking situation this boy is in—he has a psycho mother and a spiteful stepmother. I have no doubt this little boy is difficult; given his circumstances, that's almost a guarantee. But one of his problems is you. You can't even refer to him as your stepson, but only as "his son." You are asking for advice on how to dump this child. But since you knew getting into this marriage that your husband had a child, maybe the thing for you to do is dump the marriage. You express no love or understanding of either your husband or your stepson. You sound hostile and resentful. And if you get out now, you will have been only a blip in both of their lives.

—Prudie

I can't help but like her.

For more ethical dilemma's check out Your Dilemma. Please feel free to send in your own dilemma, or even to leave a comment (anonymous if you so wish) to generate discussion.

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