Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Q. I Caught My Son With the Vacuum Cleaner: I came home early from work on Friday to the unexpected sound of the vacuum cleaner running in my 12-year-old son's room. Thinking that perhaps this was a sign of the apocalypse—my son cleaning his room without major nagging on my part—I burst in there and caught him with his pants down and the hose attachment attached to his, well, you know. He froze like a deer in the headlights and, after picking my jaw up off the floor, I mumbled something stupid like "excuse me" and turned around and walked out and hid in my room. He left to go to his dad's for the weekend shortly thereafter. He will be home tomorrow night after school and I don't know what to say to him. Actually, do I have to say anything to him or can I just act as though this never happened and not say anything about it at all? (I much prefer option two, by the way.) What do you think?
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A: I am sincerely hoping the Dyson company doesn't see your letter and come up with a new line of vacuums guaranteed to suck the living daylights out of the user. First, you may want to pick up a copy of Portnoy's Complaint. Let's just say the liver scene should reassure you that young men have always been creative when it comes to relief. Normally, I agree with you, Mom, that backing away quickly is the right path to take when stumbling upon such an uplifting scene. But I'm actually worried about the amount of suction your son could be applying to his private parts and the potential for gunking up the machine's filter. I think this situation calls for a man-to-man talk. I hope you have the kind of relationship where you can tell your ex about this and you both can laugh. Then your son's father can have a good-humored talk in which he explains that there are lots of ways to accomplish his goal, but it's a good idea to keep the household appliances out of it.
Dear Prudence: Play-Date Psychodrama

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