Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Approval Post

Here it is.  The post in which The Prude whole-heartedly endorses something in the noun kingdom.  If The Prude had any sense of rhythm, and if her hands were able to coordinate with each other in rapid succession, she would be tapping out a drum roll on the desk right now.  Please, if your gross and fine motor skills, coupled with your inner rat-a-tat-tat voice, enable you to drum roll, do so at this time.


The excessive use of exclamation points verifies The Prude’s love of Political Advertisements (since I also approve of anything that requires me to type less, the above will be shortened to:  POVERTS

I’ll first address the positive impact of POVERTS for the nation’s psyche as a whole, and then point out the practical application and how POVERTS impact The Prude’s life directly.
 (Roman numerals should alert you to the fact that The Prude means business)

I)  POVERTS show all that is right with the country. 

A)We are, in our heart of hearts, a tidy nation
 Look at the men and women who are campaigning for office.  Do they ever look scruffy?  When they roll up their shirt sleeves to show they are ready to dig into the mess left by whoever is currently in office, are those sleeves ever actually ROLLED?  NO!  They are folded up to the elbow 3 times before a tidy crease is ironed in.

B.) We are, in our heart of hearts, a brave, happy and polite nation
Again, look at the POVERTS carefully.  Look at the expressions on the faces of the plain, underprivileged working people who have been oppressed by whoever is currently in office.  They are sad, yes. They have lost their farm, their business, their home. (The Prude is struggling with singular/plural agreement here, but it is a struggle endorsed by Poetic License.) But those faces!  They smile hopefully at the tidy-sleeved man or woman who wants their vote.  They listen politely.  Tears glisten in their eyes, and the eyes of whoever wants their vote. And those tears are comprised of courage, good cheer, and courtesy.  (please note the use of synonyms. The Prude hates to be redundant)

C.) We are, in our heart of hearts, happy to let someone else pay for the advertising
As the POVERT wraps up, look carefully at the words on the bottom of the screen.  Does it say ‘Paid for by the tax dollars of hard working, oppressed Americans?’ NO!  It says,
‘Paid for by the committee to elect so and so to such and such’!  Americans can proudly proclaim, ‘I am NOT so and so, dadgumit!’ (forgive the harsh language)

D)  We are, in our heart of hearts, a nation of volunteers, not all of whom live in Tennessee.
Who works on these campaigns?  Who is out lining up those smiling, brave, hardworking Americans to be interviewed for the POVERT?  Who hands out campaign literature for the clean-shaven and/or well coiffed candidates?  The Prude has run out of space, so you will have to answer on your own, and return tomorrow for:

The Prude’s personal endorsement

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wedded Hiss

To acquaint yourself with the stages of life, you could cozy up with a plastic-covered fold-out chart detailing 8 stages, conceptualized by a psychologist redundantly named Erik Erikson.  Shakespeare only came up with 7, possibly because he wrote about a man.  If he had written about a woman he would have needed 10 stages, 11 if the woman was married, 13 if she bore children.

The Prude’s life is organized a little differently.  The first stage was Attending Friend’s Birthday Parties.  The second was Attending Friend’s Weddings.  Then she moved to Stage III, Attending Friend’s Baby Showers.  Now she is comfortably ensconced in Stage IV: Attending Friend’s Children’s Weddings.

The Prude wholeheartedly approves of weddings.  They demonstrate all that is right with the world.  Purity, honor, people sitting in long organized rows, color coordination. (Although she bemoans the days when shoes were dyed to match dresses with puffed sleeves large enough to carry a tissue box.)

The particular wedding The Prude recently attended was the equivalent of a perfectly cooked noodle.  It was an al dente wedding.  The wedding party was well scrubbed and wholesome, the ceremony properly respectful, the reception well bred and well organized instead of raucous and rollicking. The Prude’s family looked handsome and clean-shaven with the exception of Mr. I’m-Not-a-Prude-I-Just-Married-One, whose cheeks and chin have not seen daylight since the previous millennium.

At this point you must be wondering: Has The Prude gone mad?  Has she lost her focus? Is this post entirely committed to APPROVAL?

Please.  I will never have an approval post without a warning label.  The Prude remains true to self. Continue reading for the WEDDED HISS.

The Prude disapproves, in so uncertain terms, of Wind at Weddings. As any astute wedding attendee realizes, even a proper indoor wedding eventually moves outdoors, to send the newly married couple off with the toss of a rice or ramen noodle packet, a cloud of saliva-filled bubbles, or a wave of tear-stained hankies.  And this is where the Wind, biding its time and twiddling its fingers while everyone was indoors, springs. 

It grabs men’s ties and blows them out perpendicularly to the men’s shirt buttons.  It plays gleefully with the bride’s veil for a moment before stuffing it in the groom’s mouth.  The Wind threatens The Prude’s dress (comprised of enough fabric to successfully create modest little bloomers for the entire Dallas Cowboy Cheerleading squad) forcing her to bunch it around her knees with one hand while blowing goodbye kisses with the other.  It puffs against men’s trousers, molding them to men’s legs to reveal knobby knees and sagging dress socks. 

The Wind.  The uninvited guest at every wedding. The Prude is afraid that no lecture will convince the Wind of its unwelcome status, so just consider this post your Wind Advisory.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Name Dropping

Today was to be the day The Prude proved she is not just a gravity-bashing crab.  She was going to write on something of which she approves whole-heartedly.

She tossed and turned all night, brainstorming, assessing and discarding each idea in turn.
-Butterflies!  (pretty, gentle, tend to dash themselves into oncoming vehicles and hold on with a death grip that remains even through car washes)     NO!
-Babies! (sweet, adorable little bundles of original sin who erupt liquids and solids from every orifice)  NO!
-Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens! (has a certain appeal but The Prude feels this has been expounded on before, and she is nothing if not redundant)  reluctant No!

But then The Prude, trying to calm her fevered state, listened to the News (the News always calms The Prude as she reflects that the World wouldn’t be in this state if it would just listen to Prudes when they lecture and refrain from rolling the World’s respective eyes).

And she discovered that there are not one, but THREE possible hurricanes forming in the Atlantic.  And do you know what these potential hurricanes are named?

Danielle, Earl and Fiona.

At first I was pleased by the euphonious, melodious sound of these lovely names, especially when repeated in succession.  Danielle (The Prude’s favorite), Earl, and Fiona.  They could be a set of extremely well-bred triplets being presented to the Queen for a rousing afternoon of tea, crumpets and lawn darts.

And then the Prudish disapproval instinct, always swishing too and fro between my ego and superego, surfaces, splashes all over my id, and brings me to my senses.
Why would we apply such lovely names to such dreaded and destructive forces of nature?
Whose idea was this, anyway? 

The Prude spent the rest of the morning composing a lecture to the writers of
‘The Hurricane Baby Name Book’.  She will eventually list suggestions for appropriate names for every letter of the alphabet.  But for now, because the need is so great,
she is re-naming the ‘D’ ‘E’ and ‘F’ infant hurricanes with monikers more befitting
storms synonymous with widespread destruction.


Have a wonderful weekend, and before you embark on any carousing, think to yourself,
‘Would The Prude Approve?’

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not to Nag...

The Prude has been experiencing a vaguely unsettling feeling.  The same feeling she had when she drove home from the grocery store in an empty minivan while her bagged and paid for groceries waited patiently in their carts at the drive-through pick-up station.  Or when she packed up beach gear, suntan lotion, sand pails and 2 children and left the beach.  The Prude has 3 children.

This is the niggling some folk experience come April 16, when they still have money in the checking account and try to remember why April 15 sounds so familiar.

In other words, The Prude has forgotten something.

She has discovered that if she stands in one place long enough and breaths shallowly, the memory will return.  Blessedly, it arrived before hyperventilation set in.
She had forgotten …
And here it is:


A good lecture (and there is rarely such a thing as a bad lecture) includes the following components:
-how fortunate the wayward child is to have a parent who cares enough to lecture
-how if ________(fill in the blank) had had a mother who cared enough to lecture, _____ wouldn’t currently be sitting in a Turkish prison waiting to find out which, if any, of their limbs the judge would allow them to retain
-several reiterations of “Don’t sigh and/or roll your eyes. It just makes the lecture longer”
-a recap of the child’s wanton naughtiness, with expectations for improved future behavior
-a wrap-up that includes fervent, though stern, affirmations of the long-suffering parent’s love for the wayward child.

DO NOT let anyone tell you a lecture is akin to nagging.
Say the word ‘lecture’  Hear how the syllables extend themselves out so the tongue lingers on the vowels and caresses the consonants?  The word itself echoes all that is good about lectures.  They are to be savored as a fine delicacy.

Now say ‘nag’.  It is a short, bossy, almost staccato word.  It can be repeated an almost infinite number of times.  NAG, NAG, NAG.  Do this, stop that, you never, you always.
See?   But if you include all the stated lecture components, you can stand tall and strong against accusations of being a nag, and proudly proclaim:


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Today was to be the day of warnings regarding motorized push lawn mowers and their cavalier attitude toward the Environment as they burp smelly gases into whatever atmosphere is hovering around our shoulders. How they, along with buzzing mosquitoes and yipping terriers, contribute incessantly to air pollution.  And, most importantly, about their tendency to lose a wheel in the middle of a mowing project and then demand that they can’t wear said wheel without not only 2 washers, but a bolt, necessitating The Prude to crawl in a ladylike fashion all over the .538 acres to find the stinking bolt.

However, an Incident occurred yesterday. It met with great disapproval. And what displeases The Prude surely displeases her readers.

I refer to Gravity.  Yes, yes, I know it has its uses. I Googled it and came up with 5.  As a God-given creation it deserves our respect.  I only wish it would treat us with a little reciprocal respect.  Sometimes, The Prude wishes Gravity would just look the other way for a moment.

The Incident involved my refrigerator, a tipped jar of caramel ice cream sauce, and a loose lid.  I could have dealt with those if Gravity hadn’t decided to kick in.  She sent the sauce snaking down the inside of the refrigerator all the way from the top shelf to the bottom vegetable crisper, with no one to de-stick it but The Prude.  And who knows if it stopped there? Did it find a minute opening in the bottom of the refrigerator?  Did Gravity send the caramel sauce oozing through teeny holes in my floorboards? Did Gravity direct it down through miniscule foundation cracks, and then on through the layers of the earth?  Did the caramel gain new impetus as it wound its way to the fiery core, and, re-gooified, end up in China, where at this moment a sister Prude might feel something sticky plop on her head, causing her to look up at the sky, and state ‘憎恶!!!!’ (translated loosely- ‘EEEEWWWW!’)

Gravity is ruthless.  It pulls various body parts downward as we age and it grabs unshed tears precipitated by watching puppy commercials, then sends them coursing down our cheeks and making us appear Soft.

The Prude would love to hear from you about your run-ins with Gravity. Just be cautiously respectful.  Somewhere a bird with too much fiber in its system is looking for a target audience and that target could be you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Tirade

The Prude can’t continue the Lecture lecture at this time.  The Prude’s experience last evening with a Modern Invention engendered so much disapproval that The Prude has no choice but to pursue it- preferably off the end of the earth.

The Prude highly HIGHLY disapproves of the invention known as a Riding Lawnmower. 

The Prude’s 3 sons, while living under The Prude’s roof, were the mowing masters. Those very sons are showing a propensity to marriage and college, which sets The Prude firmly on the seat of the Modern Invention with all its knobs, noise, and noxious fumes.

We started slowly.  The speed was set by The Prude at TURTLE.  The Prude approves of the TURTLE setting.  As I gained confidence I edged it up to RABBIT.  I began almost enjoying the ride.  The Prude felt a bit yee-hawish, like Dale Evans on Buttercup, or, for those of you under the age of ancient, Miley Cyrus riding one of those poles city-bred girls tend to confuse with horses.

I had not learned to turn off the mower (WHOA! proved ineffective) and there were small branches which I had to avoid since I couldn’t leap off, trot alongside while disposing of the limb, and then vault back on the continuously moving mower.  So I wisely steered around the limbs. I also had to avoid small butterflies and froggy creatures with no sense of self-preservation.

The Prude swung merrily around trees, volleyball nets and septic system markers.  When The Prude’s Husband, Mr. ‘I’m Not a Prude, I Just Married One’ came home (while The Prude was still dashing about the yard at almost RABBIT speed) he loped toward her, swinging his arms wildly. The Prude assumed he was giving her a BRAVO, HIGH FIVE, and YIPPEE SKIPPEE sign all at the same time. In a complicated series of turns, shifts, and twists he shut off the riding beast and pointed at the yard.  The Prude turned, ready to gaze at the work of art.  She gasped genteelly.

Instead of lovely, long straight rows of neatly mown grass, the .538 acres looked like nothing so much as The Prude’s psychedelic paisley jumpsuit from the 1970’s.  The Prude was banished to the PUSH MOWER and she will express her great displeasure with THAT hulking pile of metal tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A brief lecture on lectures

As promised, today The Prude will share her thoughts on the Loveliness of Lectures.
Let that line ‘Loveliness of Lectures’ linger on your lips a little.  Some day the Prude will write on alliteration and its attendant something or other but first she needs to find synonyms for ‘great’ and ‘glorious’ that start with the letter ‘a’.

Back to lectures.  The Prude has always been a proponent of the lecture as a disciplinary device.  When the Prude’s children were small, and driven to various manifestations of their original sin, The Prude was hesitant to patch their pookets (see last Friday’s post for an explanation of this excellent term.) Although not opposed to corporal punishment, The Prude would need to nurse a stinging hand after each patchin’, while the Prudlings would chuckle and announce that their rock-like pookets hadn’t even FELT the patchin!

This brought The Prude back to her formative years.  The Prude’s mother was an advocate of patchins.  The Prude’s father infinitely preferred The Lecture.  Perhaps he, also, was a victim of delicate palms.  When I, only an embryonic Prude at the time, would exhibit infestations of original sin, my father would sit me down, look me in the eye, and tell me in five-to-ten thousand words why my particular sin was wrong. He would fill in with details regarding to whom the wrong was done and their consequent sadness, the sadness of my parents, pastor and the Lord, and why my continuation in this sin would only lead to bigger, deeper, stronger, and more serious lectures.

At this point The Prude’s mother would exclaim in exasperation: ‘Give her a patchin’ for Pete’s sake and get it over with!”  I heartily concurred.  But my father, determined not to skimp on my discipline, would bring the lecture to its full development including a summary paragraph and restatement of his thesis. 

The Prude will attest to the effectiveness of these lectures.  However, it will have to wait until tomorrow because The Prude is obediently adhering to lectures she has read in regards to keeping blog posts in the 200-300 word range. This post is already at 355 words, which sadly proves that not even lectures can totally eliminate original sin.

TOMORROW:  How lecturing differs from nagging and don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Beauty of Euphemisms

Long ago, the first Prude sat musing as she added more clothing to her husband’s cave drawings.  She wanted her son to clean up the mess left behind by a wandering wooly mammoth, but something in her sensitive nature shrank from calling it by the crass name her husband used. He used this short, vulgar term to refer not only to the actual piles left behind wandering animals, but also for his emotional reaction to stubbing his toe on a rock, throwing his spear at his prey and missing, and for the general state of cave politics.

Our earliest Prude mother, in an inspired fit of genteel substitutionism, called, “Thor!  Go clean up the poo in front of the cave!”

The euphemism was born.

There are euphemisms for bodily functions (such as the passing of internal bodily gasses into the external atmosphere), occupations (domestic engineer) and underworld leaders of the Mafia (persons of influence).

Today The Prude will treat you to a few of her favorite terms for various areas of the body. 

Actually only 2 areas.  There are some body parts that The Prude refuses to acknowledge.

We will first cover (literally and figuratively) the area on women between their throat and their waist (depending on the age of the woman).  This is an area I like to call the ‘chestal region’.  Short, descriptive, and inducing few, if any, lewd reactions.

Then there is the hind quarters area. Everyone seems to have been born with these.  We refer to this area as ‘buns’. Plural. A nice, cozy, warm, sort of plush term. The Prude’s mother used to refer to this area as the ‘Pooket’.  The Prude’s mother would give the Prude ‘patchins on her pooket’ when the Prude was naughty, which must be why The Prude has an aversion to this term.

Feel free to adopt these terms, including pooket, as your own.  The Prude dream of one day hearing Hugh Hefner describe his girls as ‘well-developed in the chestal region’ and then enacting a policy that requires his girls to be fully covered in a least 2 opaque layers from 6” above the chestal region to 16” below the buns area.

MONDAY: The Prude explains the Loveliness of Lectures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Thorny Issue

The Prude was recently pruning recalcitrant branches from a rosebush, and as one thing is wont to lead to another in the way of things, she began humming a song from her rock- and-roll-hootchie-coo days.
The chorus. as sung by a group so winsomely named ‘Poison’, goes something like this:

‘Every rose has its thorn,
just like every night has its dawn,
just like every cowboy has a sad, sad song,
blah.blah, so and so and so.’

And therein lies my problem, and your problem too.  The chorus brazenly trumpets the deadly rot eating away at the heart of American language and song, to whit,
Faulty Logical Parallel Structure.

Parallel Structure, as anyone knows, concerns the similarity in structure between ideas and grammatical form.  And although the Prude has to admit that grammatically the above phrasing is above reproach (with the exception of using ‘like’ instead of the infinitely preferable ‘as’), please PLEASE look at the ideas represented above.

A thorn to a rose may be what a sad song is to a cowboy. 
But isn’t dawn to night a positive thing?  Unless, that it, you are a vampire?
(don’t even get The Prude started on the Twilight series vampires)

The Prude may generously deduce that dawn WAS, in fact, a sad thing for the young gentlemen of the 80’s group Poison.  Upon awakening, after a night of  dissolute debauchery with an excess of strong drink and women of questionable character, they caught a glimpse of their Shirley Temple-meets-Medusa hairdos and promptly drew the blinds.

Someday The Prude may interview every cowboy to check on the statement that every cowboy has a sad sad song. Then she may need to write on the creeping blight of Overgeneralization.
Till then, I have taken the liberty to change the lyrics:

‘Every non-hybrid rose has its thorn,
Just as every night has no sun above the horizon
Just as every cowboy can identify a co-ow
Blah,blah, so and so and so.’

The beauty of the Faultless Parallelism and Veracity will grow on you.  The Prude loves this song already.

TOMORROW: Blissful Use of Euphemisms

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Prude Primer

The Prude wants you to understand what a prude is.  Please don’t be misled by the dictionary definition.  Prudes are not just ‘easily shocked’ by (cover your children’s eyes here) sex or, um, lack of clothing.  No!  The world of prudishness is deeper, richer, broader, and MUCH more smothering than that! 

We are not easily shocked.  We know what the World is like and frankly, its unmitigated naughtiness does not surprise us.  But we also know what is best for the World.  Those frowns and pucker lines you see on the faces of prudes?  They don’t merely represent disapproval with the saucy behavior of the World. We are often given to vigorous thought as we frame our next scolding lecture to the World.

Please don’t believe that a true, mature and fully developed prude disapproves only of
(cover your husband’s eyes) sex and, uh, birthday suits.  No! We disapprove of the modern condition of music, dance, politics, housekeeping, entertainment, communication and parking lots.  And that is just the tip of the dingy iceberg! 

The Prude of 2010 is not your mother’s prude.  Her job is vastly more complicated and time consuming. My duty here is to introduce you to and educate you in the narrow way and kill-joy means of a True Prude.

I am that Prude.

Tomorrow: The Prude disapproves of the lyrics in the chorus of a Poison song, while
sincerely hoping her readers are not shocked that she knows a group called ‘Poison’.
Or maybe she does want you shocked… she will decide and lecture you about it later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In Which The Prude Pulls Out Her Hair

Having done everything possible to post comments on my own blog, I will now attempt
a new method.  I will nag my blog till it cooperates.

The Prude Addresses Youth

Below is a lecture delivered via email from The Prude to a tour group 2 years ago.  Yes, it is a repeat for some of you.  But in The Prude's mind, any good, stern lecture bears repeating.  And almost any lecture is a good lecture.

In our little group, where all the girls are lovely and all the boys are good-looking,
we will need to have a Prude Patrol that is above average.

The Prude Patrol has a simple job- make sure that every outfit our beautiful children wear
would be approved by a roomful of 80 year old church ladies.
From a conservative church.
In 1952.

Since these PP's are SO prudish, they will be carrying XXL t-shirts to help 'enhance' the
wardrobe of anyone in violation of the Prude Dress Code.

-tight shirts (male or female)
If a ladybug trying to move around under the shirt would find itself gasping for air, the shirt is too
tight.  If, on the other hand, the ladybug can move freely without anyone outside the shirt detecting its presence, the shirt is probably just right.

-low cut shirts. 
Please make sure it passes the 'bend-over and pick up a silver dollar' test without showing much epidermis
below the level of the collar bone.  The equatorial section of the body should remain unseen by human eye also.

-low cut pants (male and female) 
Again, make sure (from a different angle than the above test)
that it passes the 'bend over and pick up a silver dollar' test without showing nether region epidermis.
AND FOR OUR GOOD-LOOKING MALES: If your inseam can start to be measured from mid-thigh, thus making
it impossible to run for your life from a mad dog (or the Prude Patrol) your jeans are too baggy. 
We also prefer to not know what is the cut or manufacturer of your undergarments.

Our children are an unusually attractive group and need no enhancement from clothing that is even mildly alluring.
Please help ensure that the Prude Patrol has an uneventful tour and never needs to ask a child to change clothing
or put on the size XXL modesty shirt.
Let's just let our Prude Patrol put up their support-hosed legs, take out their knitting, and talk amongst themselves about
how children nowadays are SO much better behaved and nicely dressed than back in the day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Prude Introduces Herself

There are many accomplished women in the world.  Women who knit, cook, take lovely photos, decorate cakes.  They blog about these accomplishments and the world looks on in wonder.

Then there are women who raise three sons to adulthood and do it with no discernible gifts or talents.  These women reach a certain delicate age and wonder, "What can I bring to the blog table that isn't already there?  What can I offer the world?  I raised 3 sons for Pete's Sake, I must have something..."

And then it hits us (well, me).  For a couple of dozen years we (OK, I) have raised these boys with regular banquets of lectures served up on platters of guilt and seasoned generously with prudishness.
I look at the blog table and amidst all those lovely and tasteful dishes of accomplishments I see very little prudishness.
And I realize.  I do have a mission. I do have a goal.  It is to awaken the blog taste buds of the world to the delicate and winsome flavoring of a prude.

I am that prude.

(Please note- The Prude will sometimes refer to herself in the 3rd person and sometimes if the Prude is too lazy or has backed herself into a syntax corner, I will go right ahead and revert to 1st person.  The Prude begs you indulge her as I get my blog feet under me)

An open letter from the Prude to the Youth of the World.
Unfortunately the Prude suspects the Y of the W may be otherwise occupied tomorrow.