You’ve found—as is so often the case—that relying on an all-volunteer army usually means that the women notice you need help and offer to jump in, while the men seem to think dishes magically appear clean and tucked away in the cabinets the next day. Are there any men who can help me out?” Hopefully—I’m assuming the guys you socialize with are more passively than actively sexist when it comes to kitchen cleanup—you’ll see a few chastened faces, followed by a hasty offer or two. "Dear Prudence: Thanksgiving at my family's was a nightmare. Don’t dread the holidays. If she tries to argue further, you can just say, “I love you, Mom, and I know we’re all dealing with Dad’s death in different ways, but this is my final decision, and I’m not going to argue about it anymore. I worried constantly about my mom. I felt as though she cared more about not hurting his feelings than about hurting mine. Resenting that they are now an established couple will add to the strain between you and your mother. Dear Lonely,I hope that not talking about your father for the sake of your mother’s boyfriend was not done at her beau’s request. Submit your questions and comments here before or during the live discussion. Dear Prudence, Recently, my husband and I were arguing over something trivial, but it escalated and I suddenly found myself spinning out of control. This runs the gamut from telling him that there is no Santa Claus to a detailed description of the crimes of serial killers to an explanation of how animals are butchered for meat. “If the guest bedroom doesn’t work for you two, I’ll understand if you decide to rent a hotel room” isn’t the equivalent of “My house, my rules, so put up or shut up, Mom.” But it’s a line worth holding to, and if your mother keeps pressing the issue, then you can tell her that you’re genuinely happy that she’s found someone but that you’re having a really hard time dealing with your dad’s death, still need space, and think it will be best to see everyone for Thanksgiving dinner while having separate places to sleep. The Specter of Famine Help! My sister is hosting Thanksgiving this year. The thought of my mother having sex with her boyfriend in my bed makes me want to vomit. But by allowing one person to smoke, you have arrived at the perfect solution to making everyone unhappy—except your grandmother. I never thought I’d find a living man. I understand you want to be with your new guy, but this is a recent romance, and a huge family celebration is not necessarily the best venue for introducing a potential but not-yet-established boyfriend and his family. Then the clean-living won’t have to inhale cigarette fumes while they inhale their food. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. Follow us on Twitter. But I imagine you don’t relish the thought of doing so if it would cause him grief, and I can also imagine your getting in touch with these people may potentially upend their whole world if they don’t already know that your biological grandfather abandoned another family wholesale in the 1950s. That way, whatever comes next, you’ll be ready to handle it. It would be one thing for your sister to say there is simply no room for your party of four—which would be awkward—but I can’t get over her threat to scrub the holiday. It was amicable; I decided I wanted kids, he didn’t, and he lost his faith. Dear Prudence advises that we respond with regrets to a host that may cook a delicious turkey but casts repulsive ballots. Or do I keep silent? Is that normal?” Posted Oct. 8, 2009.”Dirty Pretty Things: My girlfriend has worn the same undergarment for weeks. I sometimes end up refusing because I hate the optics of it: The men sit around drinking, while the women wash up. I had never heard that version before. He is withdrawn, is reclusive, and hates children. Maybe your previous talk with your mother felt like an accusation to her, and it hit a nerve, because she may be simultaneously happy and guilty about finding a new love so soon after her husband’s death. That doesn’t mean you have to harangue everyone, but it’s perfectly appropriate for a host to say, “So lovely to see you. Dear Prudence, My girlfriend is the chef and owner of a local restaurant that’s recently become extremely popular. Kevin Kuenkler. It wasn’t the biggest deal in the world, but you don’t have to agree with me in order to acknowledge that it’s reasonable for me to have disliked it.” It may also help if you can drop the request for him to apologize to your family, since it doesn’t sound like anyone else has expressed a desire for an apology. Sometimes I stop and cry because something reminds me of him. There was a raffle for a full Thanksgiving dinner, in which all PTA members were entered. Or should I skip my family’s dinner and make other plans with my date? That was not acceptable to her, because she wanted the family together on this day, and she said that I could come with only my date. All rights reserved. You can cancel anytime. I started screaming at the top of my lungs, slamming doors--basically throwing a tantrum like a child. "Dear Prudence: Mom always hosts Thanksgiving; this year, I have the job. on Nov 23, 2020 at 12:17 am. But since your grandmother sounds as if she’s still moving under her own power, maybe you could set up the garage as a smoldering anteroom. He has a large family, and I am looking forward to going. Our relationship is now very strained. In a live chat, Prudie offers advice on the desire for a “quiet” Thanksgiving. ... Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. He won’t apologize, either to me or my family, which is infuriating. If a host says, “Here’s the guest bathroom” and nothing else, no reasonable person would assume, “Before I use the towels and toiletries provided by the shower, I should ask if there is a secret backup stash of towels and toiletries I’m supposed to use instead.” It’s fine to be a little fussy as a host, but then it’s incumbent on you to tell your guests what they can and can’t use. He began coming to our family events, which was fine at first. I have tried to explain that one smoker is different from 15 of them. It took me a while to get back to dating. Her 17-year-old granddaughter, who lives on the other side of the country, is a vegan. Guys, I’d love it if a few of you would help me with the dishes this time. Dear Prudence, This past Thanksgiving I hosted dinner, and enjoyed roasting the turkey and preparing all the side dishes. She and her mom and family are coming to grandma’s for Thanksgiving. Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. Tell him, “Whenever I’ve tried to bring this up, it’s felt like your main priority is defending the joke, and as long as that’s your priority, you don’t really listen. He may have any one of a number of possible responses; be patient with him and give him time to process this new information. But soon he was coming to every single celebration we had as a family. Do I share this information with my father? I don’t want to be the drag, but I can’t deal with this. Don’t cancel Thanksgiving yet. And you'll never see this message again. Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite holidays. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. Given the age and precarious health of your relatives, you might want to explain to your beau that your family comes a little unglued when they get together, so you need to join them solo for the meal, but you would love it if he and his brood could come by for dessert. Did I do something wrong here? Last year, he volunteered to give the blessing at Thanksgiving. We have been invited to his cousin’s house for Thanksgiving. I am the only one still grieving for my dad. I don’t suppose you could tell Granny you want her to quit her habit because you’re worried it will shorten her life. Am I a bad daughter for wanting to go to my boyfriend's at Christmas?" We’d been friends for a few years before we started dating months ago. Before we began dating, I explained to my boyfriend that I was looking for marriage and children. Dear Prudence, My large, extended family—including my 96-year-old grandmother and my ailing parents—is getting together for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Slate’s Dear Prudence, is co-founder of the Toast and the author of Texts From Jane Eyre and The Merry Spinster. I encouraged her to continue with Thanksgiving plans and said I would join my date and his family for Thanksgiving elsewhere. I was appalled and let my boyfriend know it later when we were alone. I was taken aback, because I’ve always thought of that as pretty normal guest behavior. “Abuser Seeks a Way Out: I’m an emotional bully to all my girlfriends. Dear Prudence is Slate's advice column, where Danny M. Lavery responds to your questions about relationships at home, work, and beyond. Dear Abby in Advice December 18, 2020 Mom Working Swing Shift Is Pressured to Stay on the Job. Dear Dinner,Some families feel new faces liven up the Thanksgiving celebration, and some families have tighter entry requirements than a restricted country club. Accept that what seems interesting and a bit removed for you may feel fresh and painful for him, be prepared to listen, and take your time. I’m hosting a Friendsgiving, and some people will bring their own dishes or booze, so I don’t even know if it’s appropriate to ask for help if they’ve contributed something to dinner. I feel as though I have lost both parents, and I am dreading the upcoming holidays. Tell her that your guest bedroom only has twin beds, and if that doesn’t meet her standards, she should find a nearby hotel. Surely everyone will benefit from the fact that the Thanksgiving meal tends to put even the most volatile among us into a stupor. My husband and I are expected to attend a family yearly Thanksgiving dinner hosted by my husband's sister and brother-in-law. Submit your questions and comments here before or during the live discussion. Yes, it was a lot of work, but I like to cook. • Call the voicemail of the Dear Prudence podcast at 401-371-DEAR (3327) to hear your question answered on a future episode of the show. This led me to an interest in Pilgrim and Puritan history, and a few stories I like to recount on Thanksgiving. Dear Prudence,Whenever I host large dinner parties, only the women offer to help with dishes. Why is my guest room not acceptable? Alternately, you could explain to your sister that you’re going to eat with your boyfriend, and then you alone (or your whole group, if it’s all right) will come over once the meal is finished. I was glad to see her happy and began to worry less about her. You’ve run out of free articles. Should I tell Grandma not to smoke, either? You can still say that politely. Help! My Son Keeps Stealing My Flavored Condoms. I try to act as a mentor to the more junior female attorneys when possible, but I am at a loss as to how to deal with one particular issue. “Callous Co-Workers Count My Calories: Prudie counsels an American whose European colleagues monitor her diet—and other advice seekers.” Posted March 1, 2010.”Help! He’s lodged several complaints about kids coming into his yard without permission and sent notes to everybody warning that he was not prepared to take on any liability for their safety on his property. This man sounds dreadful to be around. If your mother has made talk of your father verboten because of her friend, then you need to explain to her that while you’re not going to dwell on your father’s death in their company, neither are you going to wipe him from your memory. Dear Prudence, My father had an affair many years ago, and I found out about it. Every year, millions of people across the nation take to the roads, rails and skies to make it home in time for this special day. My husband is an atheist. It was hard to see, but my sister and I acknowledge that our mother did much of her grieving before our father died. Reply . If you’re not, it might be better to close the lid on this Pandora’s box. While most adults don’t thrill at the idea of spending the night in a twin bed, sometimes it happens when one bunks with family, and insisting that your host clear out of her own bedroom for you—even if said host is your adult child—is out of line. Dear Smoked,Smoked turkey is a delicious dish. We are never specifically invited by my sister-in-law, who doesn't phone or invite us personally; she does not speak with us throughout the year. and fluffy towels right by the bath. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. We encountered an issue signing you up. Get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week; click here to sign up. And what do I say to my son, who is now having nightmares about serial killers and afraid to cross the street?—Neighbor Hates My Son. All rights reserved. Photos by Jasmin Schreiber on Unsplash. I expected my father’s father would be dead. Holly and … As we were all gathered in the hospital, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the little morsel, my long-term boyfriend thought it would be “funny” to call out during that special moment, “Wait until 18 years from now, when she’s screaming that she hates you and ya gotta figure out a way to pay for college!” This was said to my brother, as he was holding and gently rocking his newborn daughter. Dear Prudence, I am a senior female associate at a small law firm in a major city. ... You’ve got little time to address this so that Thanksgiving is not a debacle. Family dynamics and political opinions can be hard to navigate during Thanksgiving. I used them without thinking, just like I borrowed a shirt and a toothbrush from my boyfriend. Please try again. Here’s a recent Christmas-themed letter from Dear Prudence you might enjoy, with my advice to follow: My husband and I have two grown daughters, “Holly” and “Ivy.” I also have another much older daughter, “Gertrude,” born during my brief first marriage. You’re on mashed-potato duty” to a guest, even if that guest has already brought you a bottle of wine. If you’d be willing to reconsider doing so if your father were strongly against it, then tell him you’ll wait to hear from him before doing so. Ask yourself, too, what your goals are in reaching out to your grandfather in particular. If you are hosting a holiday meal, you have every right to cheerfully conscript your friends and guests into whatever tasks need doing in order for them to get their free meal. Am I being unreasonable? Isn’t that disgusting?” Posted Aug. 27, 2009.”Lunchroom Bandit: My co-worker is stealing everyone’s food” Posted Dec. 3, 2009. Dear Not,Your letter is a perfect example of how moving in together can get you further away from your life goals if a clear plan for achieving those goals is not part of the discussion you have before signing the lease. It also sounds like he’s only lashing out when kids knock on his door or play in his yard, rather than leaving his house and looking for children to push around. Got a burning question for Prudie? But I’m curious, and based on genealogical information, publicly available information, and family resemblance, I’m certain I’ve found my biological grandfather—as well as several other relatives that would mean siblings for my father, and uncles, aunts, and cousins for me. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. I thought he wanted the same things. Advice columnist Mallory Ortberg shares her tips for how … Carpio; Dana Fuchs The whole family fights over politics. Prudie counsels a letter writer whose atheist husband coopts Thanksgiving grace to rant about God. When we began planning dinner, I said that I would be inviting a gentleman I have been dating for about five months, as well as his daughter and granddaughter. Send me updates about Slate special offers. How can I change?” Posted Jan. 28, 2010.”His Endowment Is Cocktail Chatter: My wife blabs to her girlfriends about my large penis. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. And you'll never see this message again. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. Less delicious is turkey that’s been roasted in the oven, then imbued with the aroma of Marlboros. Hopefully he can come to see that acknowledging your feelings and perspective doesn’t mean he “loses” and that this moment could have gone better had he been willing to ask himself, “What part of me feels so uncomfortable in this happy, loving scenario that I need to imagine a future where all of these people hate and resent one another?”, “My family are Christians who are active in the Episcopal Church. Tell your boyfriend either his family finds two more seats at the table, or you are going to have to decline their invitation and spend Thanksgiving with your parents. Photograph by Teresa Castracane. I can’t imagine that “bringing charges” against a 7-year-old for wandering into his front yard would result in any actual consequences for you and your family, but he’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want your son to knock on his front door or to play in his yard, and you should make sure that your son doesn’t, even if it means monitoring him a little more closely. If you wanted to get in touch with some of your (likely) newfound cousins, aunts, and uncles, you would be able to do so in your own right as their relative, even if your father didn’t want any part of it. I have asked the smokers, who make up about half of the guest list, to smoke outside or in the garage. I actually don’t understand why, after two years together, you would agree to an open-ended cohabitation. Recently my sister phoned me in tears, stating that the family is upset that my date would be bringing his family, and so the dinner is canceled. • Join the live chat every Monday at noon. We spoke daily, and I did my best to make holidays and special occasions as fun as possible. This is “unacceptable” for adults—my mother is demanding she get my room. By the time I got to the house, I just wanted to take a shower and get clean. Is there a way around this cleanup issue, or am I forever doomed to do all the dishes by myself the next morning?—Thanksgiving Cleanup Anxiety. For the record, my parents have invited his over for parties, dinner, and holidays. Thanks for signing up! This past election season, he ran for our local city council election and came close to winning. When it comes to this newfound fear of serial killers, you can keep reminding him that he’s safe with you, that there are very few of them, and that your neighbor was trying to scare him—which may lead to its own conversation about how to give a wide berth to someone who clearly doesn’t want company. Am I being “too uptight”?—No Joke, You don’t want to endlessly rehash this with your boyfriend, because in the grand scheme of things it was a relatively little moment, but you should also be able to have conversations about jokes that bother you. Need the Credit. Dear Prudence, My large, extended family—including my 96-year-old grandmother and my ailing parents—is getting together for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. Annie just told me that she would like to be invited to Thanksgiving." Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. The biggest issue here is not whether you get to bring three guests or one, but that your sister would bizarrely consider canceling the entire event because of a conflict over your guest list. “On the off chance he eats your kid PLEASE SUPERVISE HIM.”Daniel Mallory Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss this letter in this week’s Dear Prudence Uncensored—only for Slate Plus members. This would not be news you'd be required to announce at the next Thanksgiving gathering. Let’s talk later.”, Dear Prudence,Last week, my youngest brother’s wife gave birth to a little girl, their first child and our parents’ first grandchild. I appreciate this, but when I take them up on their offer, there’s a gender imbalance in the kitchen I’m uncomfortable with. The guest bathroom had a pretty arrangement of toiletries (minisoap, shampoos, etc.) Slate's advice columnist Dear Prudence takes your questions on manners, morals and more. Photo illustration by Slate. I gained one other thing: an appreciation for the hard-earned Pilgrim values of prudence and thanksgiving. My grandmother remarried, and I love and admire my grandfather, who is still living. His sister lives in the Deep South, while we live on the coast. Of course, the nonsmoking part of the family doesn’t want any smoking in the house. Dear Prudence, I work at an elementary school with a very needy population. Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Slate’s Dear Prudence, is co-founder of the Toast and the author of Texts From Jane Eyre and The Merry Spinster. I told him my family would not be amused by that at all, and he answered that it was just a joke and we were all “way too uptight.” I’m upset, both by his comment in the hospital and by his attitude toward my feelings about it. My flight was delayed four hours, and the airline lost my luggage. Dear Prudence: I have been happily (mostly) married to a great man for the past 17 years. I told everyone to bring a dish or dessert and I would cater in. Flew out to your inbox each week ; click here to sign up for the dear Prudence, I flew. That front, at least, your unpleasant neighbor is in the cold Yoffe hope. Smoker is different from 15 of them resenting that they are now an established couple will add to strain. Mother having sex with her new boyfriend off at Halloween and shouts at any time you re..., while my mother, younger brother, so my mother immediately moved on to a great Thanksgiving ''... 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