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Assist! My Common Plastic Surgeon Is Going to Discover My Mysterious Facelift.

It’s Recommendation Week! In On Second Thought, we’ll revisit questions from the archives and dig into how a lot has modified since Slate started giving recommendation in 1997—and the way a lot hasn’t. Learn all tales right here.

The Nineteen Nineties—in accordance with letters readers despatched to Prudie—had been all about affairs, web cafe etiquette, trendy chivalry, and the correct method to eat bacon on the Ritz Carlton. Learn on for a few of our favourite Expensive Prudence letters from the last decade.

Expensive Prudie,

A detailed good friend is a plastic surgeon who did some minor (OK, semi-major) facial work on me prior to now. The outcomes had been wonderful, however now I need to go to a much more well-known–far dearer–plastic surgeon for main work: a facelift.

I do know my plastic surgeon good friend goes to note the adjustments once we get collectively and can seemingly really feel damage that I selected a competitor. How can I’ve my new face and my previous good friend on the similar time?

—Fan of Uplift

Expensive Fan,

There are a lot of choices. 1) You might say to your surgeon good friend what Ivana Trump mentioned: I’m very nicely rested, and I modified my make-up. 2) You might inform your good friend that you just received Dr. Well-known in a raffle. 3) You might say you had been in an auto accident, and the ambulance driver took you straight to Dr. Well-known’ workplace. 4) You might be truthful and say your individual model of “I used to be overcome by curiosity about this a lot talked about doc, and now I do know his work is pretty much as good as yours.”

And that is to offer you fortitude: Prudie’s shut physician good friend tells her that good medical doctors perceive this stuff and don’t take affront.

—Prudie, soothingly
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Sept. 5, 1998).

Expensive Prudie,

My spouse and I’ve been married 11 years. All the things about our relationship is nice, aside from one very minor drawback: We sleep in a king-size mattress, and I really feel we each would possibly sleep higher in two double beds. (I’d for positive.) I’m considering of a setup just like the one in I Love Lucy, the place they slept in the identical bed room however in separate beds. We each transfer round loads in our sleep, and I actually don’t prefer it when a toenail pokes me someplace disagreeable simply as I’m drifting off. I hesitate to carry it up with my spouse, as a result of I don’t need to damage her emotions and have her suppose I don’t need to be close to her, and I don’t need family and friends to suppose we’re even weirder than they already imagine we’re (married 11 years, no children). I’d respect any solutions.

—FSR in Fort Walton Seaside, Fla.

Expensive F,

Prudie can relate, having been socked a time or two by the beloved when he’s useless to the world. An excellent evening’s sleep, nonetheless, ought to be your paramount concern, and never everyone seems to be a neat sleeper.

A single mattress isn’t any barometer of a relationship. Prudie suggests you inform your spouse (and never family and friends) that you’re as loopy about her as ever however suppose two beds would possibly enhance sleep for each of you. And don’t neglect to level out that “visiting” can definitely boost the nighttime state of affairs.

—Prudie, conjugally
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Aug. 8, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

I simply had lunch at an area Web cafe. I introduced my very own laptop computer and wi-fi modem, the higher to learn Slate in its full framed glory. I used to be (slowly) downloading full pictures whereas everybody else was utilizing Lynx. I did order a cheese sandwich, and no person gave me any soiled appears, besides, I felt a bit of responsible about not spending any cash for my on-line expertise. Is it impolite to carry your individual digital system to an Web cafe? What about bringing meals however paying for a terminal?

—Sincerely,Someplace in Seattle
P.S. To be particular, I’m at www.speakeasy.org, and I simply completed my tasty sandwich.

Expensive Someplace in Seattle,

Prudence had by no means heard of an Web cafe till she acquired your letter. Apparently such issues don’t exist east of the Rockies or north of 25 years of age. I’ve, nonetheless, consulted the Web page to which you refer, and now have a clue as to the topic of your question.

As I perceive it, the cafe gives computer systems and modems for using its patrons for a charge and likewise sells meals. Your query is whether or not it’s improper so that you can carry your individual laptop computer and wi-fi modem, thus bypassing the charge, and to purchase solely a cheese sandwich.

The administration of the cafe has established the principles for using their facility. Since they’ve allow you to in and haven’t kicked you out, it seems that you haven’t violated any of these guidelines. You aren’t being impolite. But when there are a lot of folks such as you, and particularly in case you are occupying house that is likely to be occupied by a paying buyer, the administration will change the principles. They are going to set up a canopy cost or require a minimal meals buy for using a desk. The state of affairs shall be like that in a cabaret, the place you can’t sit down at a desk and watch the present with out paying one thing.

Within the meantime, till the principles are modified, it could be smart of you to go away a tip or spend extra on meals. In any other case you’ll not get desk or can have crumbs brushed into your laptop computer, regardless that, strictly talking, you’re abiding by the principles.

—Prudence, easterly
Herbert Stein From: Expensive Prudence (Jan. 17, 1998).

Expensive Prudence (and the way are John and Paul?),

My girlfriend’s former boyfriend broke up together with her by way of a notice. That she was pregnant on the time makes the state of affairs with respect to his morality fairly clear: He had and has the morals of a banana slug. (That he cringes at salt shakers solely bolsters this conclusion.) The query that I discover fascinating considerations the etiquette of breaking apart. I contend that the one manner one individual ought to kiss off one other is head to head. I’ve a lot of causes to help this view, however my basic reasoning is ethical (as morality is the premise of a lot mannerly habits): In justice, the kissed-off, because the offended social gathering, ought to have the correct to confront (and presumably to throw sharp objects at) the kisser-off.

Another manner (by phone, by notice) smacks of cowardice. Additional, it appears to me that my most popular mode serves a helpful societal perform as nicely, by making romantic relationships considerably extra steady since considerably tougher to dissolve throughout short-term difficulties. This final level, in fact, presumes that society has an curiosity in steady romantic relationships; should you settle for that society has an curiosity in marriage, and that steady romantic relationships each embody and result in marriage, it’s essential to conclude that society does certainly have such an curiosity. Have you ever any ideas on this? A nation holds its breath (nicely, aside from these holding others at gunpoint).

—Emily Put up’s Meaner Brother

Expensive Brother,

Whether or not a face-to-face encounter is required for a breakup relies on the rationale for the breakup. If A splits from B as a result of B has been clearly offensive and fraudulent, the courtesy of a face-to-face rationalization just isn’t required. Suppose, for instance, that Mr. B has given Ms. A each motive to imagine that he’s not married, however she learns that he’s. B then deserves nothing. Within the case to which you refer, the younger girl deserves a face-to-face assembly, an apology, and no matter solace may be provided. Most likely the final rule is {that a} social gathering who’s critically aggrieved owes no consideration to the aggrievor.

I’m shocked that you just didn’t point out e-mail as a medium for breakups. Isn’t there a Web page containing kind e-mail letters for breakups?

They’re nicely, thanks.

Herbert Stein From: Expensive Prudence (Jan. 2, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

Up to now, when escorting a younger girl to my vehicle after, say, popping out of a restaurant, I’d unlock the passenger-side door for her first earlier than strolling round to the motive force’s facet. On trendy automobiles with energy locks, nonetheless, unlocking the motive force’s-side door robotically unlocks all different doorways. This innovation makes first unlocking her door a superfluous and illogical gesture.

The place do you come down on this query of chivalry vs. logic? Is it insulting to unlock her door first once we each understand it’s pointless?


Expensive Lovelocked,

There isn’t any battle right here between chivalry and logic. Chivalry requires not solely that you just unlock the door but in addition that you just open the door for her, maintain her arm to assist her enter, see that the sting of her skirt has been faraway from the door body, after which shut the door. Serving to her enter can be the event for sweetly kissing her on the cheek. Trendy devices is not going to do all that, and actual males don’t need them to. One thing must be left for the lads to do.
Anyway, the concept of a battle between chivalry and logic is mistaken. Chivalrous gestures, regardless that not utilitarian at one degree, have a utilitarian logic at one other degree. Chivalrous gestures are a way of communication, and that’s helpful. Whenever you maintain the door for the lady, regardless that she is kind of able to doing it for herself, you’re speaking the truth that you care about her and need to be her helper. Except you’re a nice poet, it could be one of the best ways you have got of speaking these sentiments to her. Which gestures talk what adjustments over time, as does different language. In my time, no less than, holding the door communicated respect or affection or another favorable emotion–relying on the personalities concerned. What holding the door on your girlfriend communicates is totally different from what holding it on your mother-in-law does.

Herbert Stein From: Expensive Prudence (Dec. 20, 1997).

Expensive Prudence,

Final 12 months I went to the Ritz-Carlton in Boston for a buffet-style breakfast. I went as much as the buffet desk and took two items of bacon, and once I got here again to the desk I used to be uncertain of how you can eat the bacon. If I attempted to eat it with a fork it could crumble and if I attempted to eat it with my palms, I assumed the folks at my desk would suppose I used to be impolite. I shall be going again there quickly and I wish to know the correct method to eat bacon.

—Clueless on the Ritz

Expensive Ritz-Clueless,

Don’t fear a lot about what folks will suppose. If the bacon is crisp, decide it up along with your fingers and eat it (until you’re kosher). If it’s not crisp, why trouble consuming it in any respect?

—Prudence, crisply
Herbert Stein From: Expensive Prudence (Feb. 14, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

Aren’t child boomers affected by a surfeit of Beatles nostalgia? Wouldn’t Expensive Jerry or Expensive Altamont have been a nom de plume extra worthy of Slate’s cutting-edge tone? I imply, even my dad is sick of listening to references to the Beatles.


Expensive Nathan,

Prudence was prudent lengthy earlier than the Beatles had been beat. She has no intention of being evicted from her correct title by these upstarts.

—Prudence, defiantly
Herbert Stein From: Expensive Prudence (Feb. 14, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

Within the good previous days, when of us retired after 30 years in the identical workplace, it was normally a reasonably festive event. A going away present and playing cards could be offered, and folks would say good issues.

Right now plainly persons are usually hustled out of the workplace in the dark, and we study of their departure by chance. After all many employers have reputable considerations about safety and commerce secrets and techniques and the like. And maybe there’s a human sources skilled someplace who says that slicing the twine shortly is greatest.

However the query stays: Ought to a bunch manage and bid adieu to somebody who has all of the sudden disappeared?

—Your Recommendation, Please

Expensive Your,

What with “downsizing” as commonplace as it’s, the nation could be engaged in a single steady “retirement” social gathering if everybody did as you counsel. Good-hearted of you, although, to need to manage a correct farewell. If a particular good friend has been discovered redundant, because the Brits say, by all means take that individual to lunch and embody different mourners, I imply, co-workers.

—Prudie, festively
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Oct. 3, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

I couldn’t wait to get e-mail at my workplace, as a result of I hate returning telephone calls. Now I discover I hate returning e-mails. What do I do? And what’s the correct etiquette for an e-mail kiss-off? How lengthy can I hold saying, “Oh, I didn’t get it. Are you able to resend?”

Anxious in Austin

Expensive Anxious,

You may have positively recognized an issue for the ‘90s. I don’t suppose an etiquette has but been formulated for this drawback, so listed below are two jerry-built choices: 1) Ignore belongings you want to ignore, or 2) fluff off troublesome e’s with a short reply. One thing like “in haste” or “gotta run, however I received your message.”

And, dare Prudie say this in a web based journal? You may all the time say that your server screwed up … form of the digital model of “the canine ate my homework.”

—Prudie, briskly
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Mar. 21, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

I put earlier than you an etiquette quandary that I confronted a number of years in the past and should face once more. I used to be going commonly to a New York hair salon and getting my hair lower by the salon’s proprietor. Was I speculated to tip him? Even a hefty $10 or $15 tip appeared a paltry factor to place within the hand of the proprietor of the salon. To me he was “the grasp,” and suggestions solely appeared acceptable within the case of workers. I subsequently kept away from handing him a probably demeaning tip however was nonetheless left with the sensation that I ought to do one thing.

After a number of visits (and no clear recommendation from my normally sage pals) I resolved to offer him a replica of a e-book I had written. As a private present with no measurable worth, it appeared a greater method to thank him than to cost my gratitude at 10 bucks. I’ve moved from New York, but when I had stayed I’m not positive what I’d have given him subsequent. What ought to one do in such a state of affairs?

—Striving for Graciousness in Toronto

Expensive Attempt,

Effectively, some years in the past, Barbra Streisand married her hairdresser, however that appears an extreme thank-you. Since you’ve left New York, your query is hypothetical, until, in fact, you wind up in the identical state of affairs once more.

As for not tipping an institution’s proprietor, by way of etiquette you’re right. Prudie, a classically educated salon-goer, recommends a grand present at Christmastime. Such a  present may value the equal of a 12 months’s suggestions if one had been so inclined. BTW (as we are saying on the Web) or “by the best way,” Prudie was not too long ago in your fantastic Bloor Avenue.

—Prudie, grandly
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Dec. 19, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

I see that each editor as of late is making an attempt to repeat the tone of the fantastic recommendation given by the sainted Mary Killen within the Spectator. Inform me, why do you suppose that is? It could actually’t be as a result of they haven’t any good concepts of their very own, can it?

Yours expectantly,
Michael Elliott Washington, D.C.

Expensive Prudence,

In recent times, one in every of my favourite newspaper columnists has change into much less and fewer fascinating. “Eppie” (not her actual title) used to jot down an recommendation column. Readers would write her with their questions on life, love, and (normally) microeconomics, and she or he would give them actually nice recommendation, e.g., “Get up and scent the espresso, honey!”

These days, nonetheless, her readers appear to have determined to change into America’s Nannies, mailing in all types of precatory silliness–“Eppie, inform your readers by no means to go away a useless fish alone in a automobile on a scorching day with the home windows rolled up!” Or, “Eppie, please, please inform your readers to not make enjoyable of fats folks, similar to Tipper Gore! They’re human too, you realize!” And Prudence, she prints that stuff in her column! Each &@#^ day! Recommendation? Fahgeddaboutit, Buster! Prudence, will they ever put “Eppie” out of her distress? Do you signify the following evolutionary step in journalism? Or are you nothing greater than this 12 months’s Jeffrey Zaslow …

—Popo (not my actual title)

Expensive Michael and Popo,

Your letters increase associated questions, and I hope you received’t thoughts if I reply them each directly. “Expensive Prudence” didn’t originate with an editor trying to find a brand new thought. It was a response to the overwhelming public demand for recommendation. Folks search solutions to their actual issues, and different folks get pleasure from and revenue from studying the issues submitted and the solutions given. Folks–“actual folks,” that’s–are extra taken with these issues than within the questions that pundits make up simply so they are going to have one thing to jot down about, questions chosen in order that the reply requires little thought and no analysis.

As for my antecedents, I need to confess that I’ve by no means heard of Mary Killen, “Eppie,” or Jeffrey Zaslow. I hint my lineage again to Joseph, Solomon, the Delphic Oracle, Cassandra, Adam Smith, and Benjamin Franklin. (I intentionally omit that previous idiot of an recommendation giver, Polonius: Banks thrive by being each debtors and lenders.) Thus, I contemplate myself a part of the constants of historical past, not a part of an evolutionary pattern.

However hey, it’s a free nation and a free market. If no issues are submitted, there shall be no solutions. And if there are issues and solutions however nobody reads them, Prudence will return to her needlepoint.

—Prudence, modestly
Herbert Stein From: Expensive Prudence (Jan. 2, 1998).

Expensive Prudie,

Please maintain the morality lecture and provides me an unbiased opinion and your greatest recommendation. For the previous three years I’ve been the girlfriend of a married man. We work collectively. His spouse actually doesn’t perceive him, and he swears that if it weren’t for his younger kids he would bail out in a heartbeat. With out really promising, he’s made me really feel that, in time, we are going to formally and legally be collectively.

Surprisingly sufficient, his marital standing just isn’t my drawback. What’s disturbing is that I’m fairly sure he’s seeing somebody along with me. (Workplace laptop methods have infinite potentialities if you realize what you’re doing.) Ultimately I’ve to take care of this new wrinkle. Thanking you prematurely, I’m.

—Confused in Virginia

Expensive Con,

The wrinkle you seek advice from just isn’t so new. There’s, actually, an exquisite nation and western tune about this: “Girl, Your Husband Is Dishonest on Us.”

Your particular directions to skip the morality lecture inclines Prudie to chop proper to the chase. A person for whom a spouse and a girlfriend are inadequate is a louse and a tomcat. This romance will finally carry grief, as a result of you’ll come to really feel jealous and betrayed. So why don’t you pole vault out of the connection sooner moderately than later, and save your self a while?

—Prudie, assuredly
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (April 25, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

I’m overly burdened by finals, and the query haunts me: When will the madness cease? Lecturers are asking extra of scholars yearly, and it’s coming to the purpose the place the common child has to go to varsity for 4 years simply to flip burgers. I’m asking you: Why is every thing so exhausting now—extra so than 25 years in the past?

—Pete Fiala

Expensive Pete,

Prudie isn’t positive how you can sq. your complaints with all of the information tales about grade inflation and college-level programs similar to “The Construction of the Cleaning soap Opera” and “The Historical past of Beads.”

It’s doable you aren’t in a university suited to your wants. If it’s any consolation, Prudie can’t think about how she received by her personal college years and sympathizes in regards to the growing want for levels simply to get a foot in any door.

—Prudie, empathetically
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Could 2, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

It’s been mentioned that the 5 phrases males worry most are: “Honey, we have to speak.” Effectively, my spouse is the one who refuses to speak. As a substitute of leaving regular notes, similar to “Please take out the rubbish” or “Don’t neglect to choose up milk on the best way house,” she leaves me lengthy (4 web page) handwritten letters about concern for one another’s emotions, sharing chores, and so on. Once I ask her if it wouldn’t be simpler to sit down down and speak issues out, she says, “Why? I’ve already put it in writing.”

I really feel as if I’ve married Cyrano de Bergerac. How can I get her merely to begin speaking?


Expensive I,

Prudie will cross up the prospect to level out what could be seen by some as your luck. A extra widespread query would possibly absolutely be “How can I get her to cease speaking?”

However to handle the issue at hand: Your spouse, for no matter motive, is dedicated to an epistolary marriage. Maybe she’s a annoyed author, unable to get revealed? Maybe she feels you tune her out? If you happen to’ve actually made an effort to hash this out, your choices are to: 1) seize pen and paper your self; 2) search {couples}’ counseling; or 3) rethink the significance to you of the written vs. the spoken phrase.

—Prudie, vocally
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Could 9, 1998).

Expensive Prudence,

I’m 45 years previous and a former achieved gymnast in Texas. Throughout my years as a faithful gymnast, I skilled a number of damaging landings and falls throughout apply. A number of surgical procedures have left me considerably “ambulatory impaired” and unable to put on skirts/clothes with excessive heels. I’m quick in stature, put on a brace on my proper decrease leg, and have 4 stainless-steel implants in my proper ankle. Carrying a skirt or gown with out pumps appears pathetic on me, and folks are inclined to stare. Effectively-designed pantsuits and formal pant-wear permit me to attend skilled and social capabilities with out the looks of an apparent handicap. My query: Why achieve this many individuals take offense at my sporting pants to the various capabilities I need to attend?

—Feminine Athlete

Expensive Fem,

Anybody who believes girls sporting pants is wrong is antediluvian. Even the stuffy eating rooms in Boston’s most WASPy golf equipment permit them. Plus, Katharine Hepburn and Prudie have been sporting them for years, so you’re in good firm.

—Prudie, stylishly
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Oct. 22, 1999).

Expensive Prudie,

I’ve all the time wished this girl who was not too long ago widowed. How can I strategy her with out seeming like a vulture? Ought to I, like Jerry and Elaine, make it clear that I’m “there for her”?

–Mr. V.

Expensive Mr.,

The Seinfeld strategy could be wonderful. Kindness isn’t confused with being predatory, assuming you’re already pals. Prudie would counsel you not ask the not too long ago bereaved widow to a dancing social gathering as your opening salvo; as an alternative an invite to Sunday brunch and a stroll would strike the correct informal notice. You received’t, in fact, confess you’ve all the time had a yen for her. Bought that?

Small caveat: Since you don’t say simply when the deceased shuffled off this mortal coil, verify with mutual pals to see simply how grief-stricken she is. If she’s in horrible form, give her a while earlier than you ask her out. The truth is, a telephone name to ask how she’s doing could be precursor to any invitation.

—Prudie, sensitively
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Sept. 24, 1999).

Expensive Prudence,

I’ve been courting this man for the previous 12 months and a half. I left my husband for him, which I now know was an enormous mistake. The person continues to be married, however he tells me that he doesn’t love his spouse. He says he loves me and guarantees that finally we shall be collectively. I do know being with him is incorrect, nonetheless I can’t not see him. I notice one of the best factor to do is neglect about him, however how do I do this?

—Hopeless 27

Expensive Hope,

If Prudie had a nickel for each married man who swore he didn’t love his spouse and that “finally” he and the girlfriend “could be collectively,” her fortune would rival that of Invoice Gates. Borrowed husbands are unhealthy information–even after they go away her and marry you. Guys who cheat have a screw unfastened, forgive the unlucky metaphor.

How do you neglect him? You evaluation the state of affairs and tote up a giant checklist of each unfavourable factor you possibly can consider … beginning with the truth that you left your husband and your inamorato did zip. You’re the dish on the facet, interval. As a mechanistic strategy, begin appearing such as you’re accessible, spend time with the women, get lively in hobbies or teams, do issues the place single folks meet one another. (Prudie hears that the Habitat for Humanity tasks, for instance, are fairly venue.)

Now repeat after Prudie: Borrowed husbands are unhealthy information. And if the 27 in your signature refers to your age, that’s the prime time to draw appropriate males. And even when it refers to your waist, get cracking.

—Prudie, properly
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (Sept. 24, 1999).

Expensive Prudence,

A longtime good friend is getting married to a man of whom I’m not a giant fan. That is my good friend’s second marriage, however at her fiance’s insistence, she is as soon as once more having a full-blown formal affair–together with all of the present registries. I don’t need to get them a present (or no less than an costly one). I gave my good friend a really particular and costly present for her first marriage, and I do know the primary time round she acquired each present one would possibly give to a newly married couple. What’s my obligation right here? Am I letting my emotions for her fiance affect me an excessive amount of?


Expensive T,

Prudie’s intuition tells her your emotions are much less about her fiance and extra about your funds. And that is all proper. Prudie’s rule for the serially married could also be roughly said as One Knock-Your-Eyes-Out Present Per Bride Per Lifetime. There are folks, by the best way, who really feel that two full-dress blowouts is pushing it a bit of. After all it’s essential to crash by with one thing, however it may be each modest and in good style. And on your personal tranquility, once you write the cardboard have your ladyfriend in thoughts, not the groom, in order that your hotter emotions shall be learn between the traces.

—Prudie, festively
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (June 3, 1999).

Expensive Prudence,

My daughter’s March wedding ceremony was lovely. The reception was pretty, too, and when the time got here for my daughter to toss her bouquet, all the only girls gathered. So did the youngsters on the wedding ceremony, my 4 nieces. They vary in age from 10 to 13, however the 10-year-old is an particularly energetic youngster–and tall for her age, too. So, earlier than the toss, I dashed over to whisper in her ear that there have been older women proper behind her and to take care to not journey them. A type of women was my daughter’s new mother-in-law, who’s my age, which is to say, not previous … simply not agile sufficient in excessive heels to compete with an athletic little lady who could not know her personal energy. My niece did certainly catch the bouquet, and nobody was damage. My query is that this: Ought to kids not sufficiently old so far, a lot much less marry, be included within the bouquet toss? I don’t suppose wild horses may have stored these women away, however I’m questioning if this can be a new customized.

—Bride’s Mother

Expensive Bride’s,

The catch-the-bouquet customized is supposed as symbolic enjoyable. Nobody actually thinks the catcher is destined to change into the following bride. And definitely nobody expects an damage to end result, that means, in fact, that decorum ought to be maintained always.

—Prudie, historically
Margo Howard From: Expensive Prudence (June 3, 1999).