Dear Prudence Presents: The Scent of Fear

There are troubles out there and questions to be answered, and sometimes the questions we ask about etiquette reveal issues of larger concern. Issues about safety, and about whether or not you should start sleeping with a bayonet under your pillow. This 32 year old lady is two weeks into a roommate situation with a 23 year old guy, and already he's

told me on three separate occasions that I cannot wear this particular perfume around him because he gets turned on and has trouble composing himself. The first time he said something along the lines of "I don't want to be responsible for compromising your morals, heh, heh."

That's the kind of shit that raises a whole host of questions – questions that she probably doesn't want to know the answers to. Not that it matters, but the spray of seduction is just shower gel and bath spritzer applied in her (hopefully locked and bolted) room, not some kind of special Spanish Fly pheromone stuff that comes with the expectation that the boys will be driven wild. Utterly nonplussed, she's asking Prudie whether or not she's obliged to treat it as a legitimate request, like she would if he were allergic.

Prudie says fuck that, and that Toucan Sam needs to be out of there, like now. She says to sweeten the deal with a full refund if necessary, but that the letter writer should basically declare him evicted on the spot. She admits that the law may not be on her side here, and I was thinking that it might not be as easy as she says to just hand over a big wad of money and then swing the rent on her own. Prudie's advice might not end up being all that practical for this particular situation, but at least it cut to the heart of the matter, which is: NO. NO, NO, NO, onward to infinity. Furthermore, his technique suuuuuuucckkks. Never a good idea to end a come-on by chortling "heh heh heh," ESPECIALLY after you've just told the object of your desire how much you enjoy smelling her. I'm picturing some grubby bandit in an old Western movie, running his dirty fingers along the farmer's daughter's shining locks, John Wayne riding in to blast him out of the saddle.

She starts up a couple family-style questions from a man who finds himself feeling not quite so staunchly opposed to having kids as he was when he got married five years ago. He and his wife "have been adamant about that to all our friends and loved ones," and now he has no idea how to communicate this change of heart. As far as his wife goes, he says that "If she stands by no children, I'd be OK with it," but even if they did have a kid, he doesn't know what to say to everyone else. Prudie tells him to address things honestly and directly with his better half, and that she's the only one whose opinion he ought to be concerned about. Someone from the peanut gallery chimes in to say that she too was a militantly childfree spouse who caught the baby rabies, and that the happy grandparents won't give two shits about him being a low-down dirty mind-changer. I'd say that the real danger here is that all of this'll just give more ammunition to the "you'll change your mind eventually" brigade. They don't need any more encouragement!

Prudence also deals with another couple of five years contemplating parenthood, except that this relationship is between a cis and a trans woman.The cis woman's mother is one of the "very few" who are aware of her partner's status as trans, and

In discussing parenting issues, my mother asked if we would tell our baby at some point that one of his/her mothers had once been a man. I immediately assumed we would, and said so, but when I went home and mentioned it to my partner, she became angered and said we most certainly would not! I was a little too shocked to continue the discussion, but I'm wondering what to say! I in no way shape or form think of my partner as a man, and I recognize that this decision was her own and incredibly personal, but I also feel that this was a huge part of her life that would be strange to entirely hide from our child. She spent more than 20 years of her life as a male—will we purge all photos from her past and cut off ties to everyone who knows?

Oh, boy.First of all, Prudie is just about the wrongest person ever to be asking these questions to, but let's go ahead and give her a chance.

You must have some sympathy for Piers Morgan, who was recently attacked for an interview he did with a transgender activist, Janet Mock. During it, he asked Mock about having been born and raised a man, for which she took offense. How much better it would have been, if there were terms or assumptions Mock didn't like, if she had explained her thinking to Morgan.

Swing and a miss.Prudie might do well to read Kyosuke's excellent article Christ Piers Morgan Emily Yoffe: Janet Mock Was Never A Boy (And Neither Was That Lady's Partner). Well, at least her advice was just to take it easy and keep talking it out, and that chances are they'll both figure out what to say to the little bambino if and when the time comes.


Dear Prudence Presents: The Scent of Fear