Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In which the author of this blog answers a Dear Prudence letter

From a letter to Dear Prudence, from, posted July 18, 2013


My husband wants to donate sperm to his ex-wife. Should I let him?

I am a young woman who recently married a very successful athlete. He is caring, kind, and thoughtful. We both want children, but in a world where so many children are without loving homes, I can't imagine having biological offspring when we could provide a wonderful life for children who would never otherwise have one. My husband has always been supportive of this, but recently he brought up an interesting proposition. His ex-wife, who is older than me and has never remarried, asked him to be a sperm donor. She has a successful career and would not need financial support, but I think the proposition is bizarre. He argues that they both have excellent genetics that would be "wasted" if they do not jump at what could be their only chance to have biological children. He said it is no different from donating sperm to a bank, except that he knows the mother will be able to provide well for his offspring. The two split amicably due to pressures of both of their careers. Am I being selfish to say she should find another sperm donor?

—Confused Wife

Dear Confused Wife,

To hold such notions as you and your husband do is to involve oneself with nothing more than   preposterous absurdity at best, moral corruption at worst. Though I am hardly a gambling man, I would be most willing to wager three hundred ducats upon the likelihood of your family being of Yankee-doodle descent.  For need I remind my regular readers that ‘tis very common in American society for people to regard the word successful (as in the phrase “I am married to a very successful athlete”) as meaning either full of merit or, as they like to say, filthy rich?

I am struck by the rarity of this entire situation, for I wonder what curious miracle of fate brought two such people as yourselves together, a wife who cares not whose child she has, as long it be an adopted  orphan, and a husband who cares not what lady , including his loving wife, might ultimately have his child. You two complement one another in a rather perverse manner. Doubtless, he would prefer (as you claim he says) to impregnate only those members of the fair sex who are known for their superior genes. Yet consider this point, madam, if every young wife at the beginning of her marriage had decided, as you did, to adopt an orphan rather than have a child herself, then sooner or later there shall be no more orphans left in the world, and neither any people.

As for your husband, I must universally condemn all those activities whereby a man is compelled to ejaculate his oily balsamic liquid into a little saucer for any purposes other than official scientific inquiry. For if there is any procedure in the world more morally corrupt than that of manual inseminandus, as it now exists under capitalist societies, I know not what that may be. The ability for us to purchase human life is unholy because blasphemous against the Almighty Creator. Still, you should be warned that in-vitro fertilization, as it is called by the doctors, is a very expensive procedure, and it requires you to visit those damnable for-profit baby factories known as sperm banks. Such services as they provide create a society in which the wealthy are enabled to use their gold to purchase human life---as they now can use their gold to compel their children to read books---whilst the poor are put under a certain disadvantage, shall we say, of being unable to afford to produce sires. Therefore, I must pronounce against this entire method of begetting children, and urge your husband to reserve his kernels for no one but you.

By the way, mayhap you convince your husband’s former wife, that rather than desire to buy her own child using your husband’s, or some other gentleman's, organic leakage, she might charitably consider investing 15,000 ducats upon some poor London chimney sweep. What say you to this plan, madam?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In which Samuel Richardson answers a Dear Prudence letter

From a letter to Dear Prudence, from, posted July 11, 2013

Dear Prudence,

Five years ago during the summer, when I was 19, my friend and I took a one-day trip to a nearby city. We left late at night after I finished my shift as a cashier. When I picked her up, her mother got so mad that we were leaving so late that she kicked her out of the house along with her dog. While we were in city that day, we left the dog in the car. When we returned to the car in the evening, the dog was dead. This was the worst mistake of my life. I think about it all the time, especially now, when it’s so hot. I feel such pangs of regret and guilt that sometimes I feel like I am going to have a panic attack. I am so ashamed and wonder what we were thinking. My mom made a point that I didn't leave the dog in the car with malicious intent. It was a mistake that I need to learn from and move on. I've asked my boyfriend why he doesn't hate me and he’s said because it was a mistake. I know everyone makes mistakes, but is mine unforgivable? Should I not ever be allowed to have a dog of my own? I know that I didn't do it on purpose, and I love animals. My mom suggested seeing a therapist if I can’t stop thinking about it. I don't know what a therapist might say that I haven't thought of or considered already. Do you have any advice on how to cope?

—Dog Lover

Dear Dog Lover,

While you are labouring under the consequences of your foolish behavior whence resulted the death of the pooch---or, as the laywerly class of people might call it, canis manslaughter---it would not be inappropriate for me to make a few remarks upon the universal idea of guilt.  When spiritual guilt corresponds to natural guilt, as it does in your case, then ‘tis clear that you have but to leave the entire thing up to the All-wise Disposer to absolve you of your iniquity.  No one but the Mighty Creator---not advice columnists, yoga instructors, or psychotherapists---may acquit you of what your conscience is telling you.

Yet I must draw your attention to a far greater guilt of which you seem to be completely unawares. For were you not also the cause (albeit indirectly) of the sundering of the relationship between your friend and her mother? Did you not also contribute to the destruction of the highest and most important bond, that between a parent and its childw,hich holds our society together? Did you not fail to express any doubt or hesitation to your friend of the wisdom of pursuing the trip in light of her mother's protestations? Surely, it matters not if the bond between your friend and her mother has been healed, for ‘tis impossible that any two human hearts can survive such tremors without deep scarring. 'Tis a matter of most curious nature, how you have wholly misdirected your self-guilt.

My own novel, Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady, Comprehending the most Important Concerns of Private Life, and Particularly Shewing the Distresses that may Attend the Misconduct both of Parents and Children, in relation to Marriage, was written to enlighten the world of the horrible consequences of thoughtless actions such as yours.  Therefore, my advice to you is to read my novel Clarissa as being the only method whereby you may learn to improve and raise your moral character sufficient to your horrible situation, including your profound lack of self-knowledge.

To summarize, your greatest crime is not third-degree pooch-murder but that of sundering the relationship between a parent and a child----and for your complete lack of sympathy in anticipating and considering the feelings of a fellow human creature, namely your friend’s mother, when confronted with the situation as you described it, you are henceforward assigned the reading of my novel, Clarissa. And until you complete my Clarissa ‘tis recommended that you withdraw yourself from society and resign yourself to a monkish life of reading and contemplation.