Give a Prude a big enough broom and she’ll sweep the world.
Don’t give a Prude a big broom.
If you’ve been with me for any amount of time, you have gotten a glimpse into the world of Prudedom. You know it encompasses so much more than excessive regard for modesty. Our excesses reach past modesty and encompass rules of behavior before codifying the Proper Way to do Everything.
Take our sweeping situation, for example. A fully vested Prude knows there is a proper way to sweep. She knows about angling into corners and moving all the furniture and shaking out the rugs. She knows it is cheating to sort of strew around the room that little line of dust left in front of the dustpan. And she would never store a broom resting on its bristles.
The problem with our full-force Prude is that she doesn’t know when to quit. She’ll finish the floor and start on the baseboards. She’ll get those done and tackle the corners of the ceiling. She’ll head outdoors to sweep her stoop, her sidewalk, her neighbor’s stoop, and if you don’t stop her she’ll be heading to Oklahoma because she heard they have a dust storm.
If you have a prude in your life, do her a kindness. Take the broom gently from her hands. Remind her that the world needs her in so many other ways. Distract her. Ask her what she thinks of droopy male pants. Tell her you just heard someone call a Canada Goose ‘Canadian’. Warn her that sometimes couples smooch in public in Oklahoma.
Prudes need you as much as you need them. They can’t monitor the modesty, behavior and propriety of the world if they are stuck in a corner swatting at cobwebs. It’s your job to remind her.