HAVE YOU SEEN the thing in “Dear Prudie” about the mom wanting her son’s girlfriend to wear a bra? Oh, of course you have. Everyone reads “Dear Prudie.” What’s that perfect Kids in the Hall thing about Doors fans? Right now there’s an old lady on the subway, sucking on a humbug. She’s a “Dear Prudie” fan, but she’s never read the WORDS. Slate is already mostly doing this, but any consultant could look at that site and tell you that they need to chain Prudie to a radiator so she can write fourteen thousand columns a day instead of just eleven. She is our nation’s greatest natural resource. The answers aren’t even important. It’s the questions. The questions. Let’s explore:
1. My 20-year-old son “Ted” has a 19-year-old girlfriend named “Dahlia.”
The decision to adopt “Ted” and “Dahlia” as fake names suggests either a slightly-older sensibility, or that she is secretly obsessed with famous murderers and victims, or that she just has murder on her mind now, because of this issue.
2. “Dahlia is very well-endowed and rarely wears a bra.”
Yeah, being 19 is great like that. I remember! Oh, man. My breasts are smaller now, after having a kid, weirdly, so if my nipples didn’t kinda point in slightly different directions, I’d be there right now, chilling with “Dahlia.”
3. However, she does wear low-cut clothing and often looks like she’s about to fall out.
Maybe you could move her into more side-boob-revealing, less cleavage-revealing outfits? Way less falling-out risk, and side-boob is a great look. Just a thought!
4. The dress she was wearing last night was so small on her that it she couldn’t zip it up all the way and she was very close to a nip slip. When she walked in the door she looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I know this is a low-cut dress” as if she knew she was coming to my house, knew what my expectations are, but came looking like that anyway.
5. Here’s my problem: She’s going on vacation with us in a week.
Oh my goddddd. Can I come? Where are you going? How long will you be gone?
6. I don’t want to seem prudish but I do want to get through to her that this type of dress isn’t appropriate for the places we’ll be going and the people we’ll be seeing.
Please tell me there’s a cotillion. Or a trip to visit aged relatives in a retirement community? A tour of the Vatican? Or, maybe I’m reading this all wrong, and what you mean is that you’ll be fighting off wolves in the Yukon, so a breast falling out of a top could result in confusion and death?
What a wonderful start to the trip. Do you want to ask her while everyone is standing around, or once people are already in the car, or grimly over breakfast? Because you’ll need time in case you have to go buy bras for a surly 19 y/o who probably doesn’t even know her cup size. Maybe she’ll pull a Sue Ellen Mischke!
8. How do I handle this without alienating her but helping her to understand that something that is fine when you’re out clubbing is not fine when you’re trying to make a good impression with your boyfriend’s family?
Oh, hm, that’s actually a real question which can be answered: your son is going to eventually break up with this sort of spacey, impolite girl to whom you have likely been chilly and unpleasant, so you can either do just what you just said, don’t change a word, and hasten that whole situation, or you can say:
“Ted,” please tell “Dahlia” that we’d rather she dress more conservatively on the trip. Like a bra, she should wear one. Or don’t bring her. Or don’t come yourself, you’re 20, and we’re going to a cotillion.
Best of luck.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.