“Dear Prudence” is a multi-headed beast that has doled out advice to readers of Slate.com since 1997. Each of her heads bears the face of a different human being, and they have all shared in the responsibility of answering reader’s questions for more than 20 years. Bocephus Chigger likes The Beatles’ song, “Dear Prudence,” and knows a thing or two about giving advice—especially when no one is asking for it. Why should Prudence get to have all the fun?
I am in my mid-20s and living with four housemates. Three of my housemates and I have a wonderful relationship. The fifth person, “Lacey,” is a problem. They are nice enough on the surface, but they have a really dark, unwelcoming energy. Lacey barely works, spends 95 percent of their time at home and exudes serial killer vibes. Two people have moved out because of Lacey, and a friend who was set to move in declined the offer because she felt scared of them. I have talked to all my housemates, and they acknowledged feeling the same way and confessed to avoiding the house because of Lacey. It feels like Lacey owns the house and we are paying for a house that only one person is comfortable living in. Lacey locks their door whenever they leave their room (even to go to the bathroom!) and goes up to my floor and leaves when they see I’m home. This makes me anxious that they would go into my room, tamper with my food or intentionally harm my plants and pets (they’ve previously torn my plants up and used the excuse that they “needed the space”). I have been the only one standing up to them, and there is tension. I’m ready to ask them to leave. My housemates have considered this, but they’re comfortable avoiding the problem, and unless I push, they will not do anything. My questions are: Am I overreacting, am I justified in pushing and how would you go about doing that?
– Living in Fear
Normally I’d route your query to tech support, but, since I am here answering questions already, I think it’s safe to say that your Chigger Family Brand Roomato3000™ may be on the fritz. We’ve released several firmware upgrades to the Lacey model that should rectify the problems you’ve been facing. Have you already updated your Lacey to the latest firmware version? If not, trap your Lacey into a corner and remove her skull plate to connect her to your laptop or tablet via an approved Thunderbolt 3.0 cable*. While the update installs, check the function switch located next to the Thunderbolt port on your Lacey to ensure it is not set to “Kill.” As a word of caution, you should know that unless you install these critical updates, your Lacey will not be programmed to follow Asimov’s Laws of Robotics and may present a danger to you and your loved ones even if your device is not set to “Kill.” We’ve received reports of some non-updated Lacey models exceeding their programming limitations, but we believe there is no cause for alarm at this time as long as you update your Lacey immediately. The number of owners and their plants and pets that were killed or torn to pieces by a malfunctioning and sentient Lacey Roomato3000™ is relatively low given the number of models currently in service, but our attorneys think we should warn you nonetheless. As a final note, the proper pronoun usage for a Lacey is “it” not “their.” Thank you for being a customer and don’t forget to refer a friend for a 10 percent discount on future purchases!
*Thunderbolt 3.0 cable must be purchased separately from your Lacey Roomato3000™. For a list of approved Thunderbolt 3.0 cables, please visit our website at www.submergemag.com.
I am a lifelong feminist and friend of the LGBTQ community. Even though I live in a red state, I have always spoken up loudly (including writing several op-eds for my local newspaper) in favor of these positions and my personal beliefs. However, I am also one of those people who check any online correspondence for grammar and spelling mistakes before I send it. I have a position on the Oxford comma, and it is the correct one. (That’s a joke for people like me.) I am ashamed to admit it, but using “they” as a singular pronoun is almost physically painful for me. I usually use either the person’s name (“Sean”) or relationship to me (my co-worker, my friend, my neighbor) to avoid using “they” in this way. Other than the obvious “suck it up, buttercup” response, am I being an asshole to try and find an acceptable (and grammatically correct) way around this hang-up?
– Grammar Nazi
Dear Nazi Scum,
Nothing is worse than a knucklehead from a red state, besides a know-it-all who thinks she’s better than everyone else. Reading the other question answered must have driven you to the edge of blitzkrieg, but I guess that’s what you get for calling everyone “Sean” or “my co-worker” all the time. People have their own names, Nazi; learn how to use them! But that is all beside the point. The real issue here is that you think you can be a raging grammatical asshole to everyone just because you are a supporter of women and members of the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, that’s not how this works. Helping disenfranchised minorities in the community is an honorable task, but it doesn’t earn you the right to take out your aggressions on another group of people, even if those people happen to be a bunch of fucking morons with no brains. Suck it up, buttercup!
If you have a question for Bocephus, please submit it to Dear Prudence at Slate.com and he will respond here, if and when he feels like it.