Author Topic: Today's Dear Prudence -  (Read 2719 times)

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lady_disdain

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Today's Dear Prudence -
« on: February 21, 2013, 12:17:46 PM »
In today's column, Emily Yoffe printed a letter from a woman who is pushing her BF to tell her about his experience in the Israeli army, specifically if he had killed anyone. (I am not going to link directly since the link mentions scrabble and a dog but just got to www.slate.com and scroll down).

Am I the only one who got the "ninja" vibe from the BF? From the letter, I can't help but think that his military experience was mainly behind a desk and he is trying to play it up without outright lying. None of the combat military people I know would react that way (in general, their response is "I can't talk about that", no smile, no jokey "I would have to kill you", etc).

But the woman is certainly rude. If she has been told that he can't talk about it, then she should respect that. It has nothing to do with trusting her but with policy.

Hillia

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 12:32:29 PM »
I thought that too at first, but then I felt it was probably his set answer to deflect a very prying, rude, insensitive question.

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RingTailedLemur

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 12:42:23 PM »

But the woman is certainly rude. If she has been told that he can't talk about it, then she should respect that. It has nothing to do with trusting her but with policy.

The letter writer is a man.

artk2002

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 12:50:02 PM »
I don't get the "ninja" vibe at all. As the LW pointed out, the responses given by the BF are standard for people in that position. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the BF were reluctant on his own to talk about it. I knew a guy who was a "forward observer" (i.e. sniper) in Vietnam -- something that I could verify through others -- but was very unwilling to talk about the experience.

The LW needs to back off. If knowing that his BF had killed was a deal breaker then he should assume that it's true and break it off. The BF deserves much better. Emily's answer was correct.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 01:17:43 PM »
LW is rude.

I have a BIL that served as a sniper in the Gulf War, it would never ever occur to me to ask him if he killed someone.  BIL says it was a painful time; he has put together a wonderful life, why would ANYONE want to dig at that.

Doesn't matter if BF was a trained killer ninja or a desk jockey, he has clearly stated that he cannot discuss it.  If LW is that concerned about it he should move on and avoid veterans in the future.

We would tell BF to beandip, say that will not be possible, etc.   LW should get the same answers.   

 

camlan

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 01:22:42 PM »
A desk jockey might have had to give the orders to send troops into harm's way. If those troops were killed, he might feel that he was responsible.

I think the LW either accepts that he will never know if his boyfriend has killed someone, or he ends the relationship.

Emily's point that the experiences the boyfriend had in the military are part of what has shaped the boyfriend into being such a great guy is a good one. Either you accept the whole person, or you don't.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Redneck Gravy

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 02:22:52 PM »
A desk jockey might have had to give the orders to send troops into harm's way. If those troops were killed, he might feel that he was responsible.

I think the LW either accepts that he will never know if his boyfriend has killed someone, or he ends the relationship.

Emily's point that the experiences the boyfriend had in the military are part of what has shaped the boyfriend into being such a great guy is a good one. Either you accept the whole person, or you don't.

Exactly!

EllenS

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 02:34:31 PM »
I admire BF's spine.  And if LW keeps pushing, the situation will likely resolve itself because I foresee BF withdrawing the offer to move in.

Hawkwatcher

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 05:01:33 PM »
Considering that this was their first date, the boyfriend might have chosen to use a humorous response to keep the mood light. He was probably wanting to make a good impression.  He might have thought that saying "I can't discuss that" would come off as too abrupt. 

One of the things that bothers me is that the LW knows that his boyfriend can't discuss his military service and is still pushing the issue.   If he really cares about his boyfriend, he should drop it.

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 07:28:17 PM »
I find the weirdest part to be his comment about "I know killing changes people" after going on about how his boyfriend is the most perfect guy. Well, if his boyfriend killed someone and was changed by it, it obviously changed him into a perfect guy, so what's the problem?

The kind of people who have been in war situations and like talking about killing people are not usually the ones who make stable partners. The only reason I know my grandfather killed someone in WWII is because he took a sidearm from the Nazi officer he shot during the Battle of the Bulge (mostly for the extra ammunition), and he had to explain how he got it. But he didn't like describing it in detail and it apparently took him a long time before he even explained the story to his wife and kids. My Dad is a veteran, and I have no idea if he's killed anyone. It seemed indelicate to ask.

Jocelyn

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 10:28:33 AM »
My father is a Navy veteran, and you'd think he'd served in McHale's Navy, to hear his war stories. For example, he tells about the time he accidentally ended up being his brother's commanding officer. It took me some time to realize that this happened because of a surprise attack where the ships scrambled out of port to avoid another Pearl Harbor, and sailors who'd been visiting on other ships just got taken along for the ride and put to work at what was their usual duty station on their own ships. But to hear him tell it, it was ha-ha, sibling rivalry on the high seas! ::) It was only AFTER the war that he told my mother exactly how much into harm's way he'd been, and I didn't hear that until I was well past 21. I know that he had a gun, and I figure that means that there's a risk he shot it...but he obviously doesn't want to talk about that. I think that for many veterans, it's their last duty of protecting the civilians: not telling us what it was like, and I have to respect that.
My niece is married to an Apache pilot, and he returned from Afghanistan just before Christmas in 2011. He gave my father a flag. I was close enough to hear them talking. My father was asking about the significance of the flag, and my nephew-by-marriage said that he had carried in his helicopter during the mission they flew on 9-11. He then said, quietly, 'There's a few less bad guys out there now.' That's all he's ever said about his job, and I don't think he would have even said that much except to another veteran. Otherwise, his war stories are like my father's...what a funny, funny place Afghanistan is.

Twik

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 11:00:22 AM »
I get a sense that what the LW really wants is drama. He'd be rather disappointed to find that his BF hadn't killed anything more than a spider (by accidentally dropping a file he was carrying on it).
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Library Dragon

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 11:32:45 AM »
Agreed, LW is rude and wants lurid details.  There are many reasons, other than killing people, the military folks don't want to talk about serious experiences.  DH served 2 tours in Vietnam, one as infantry and one as a nurse.  He ONLY tells funny stories.  My oldest DS did search and rescue in New Orleans after Katrina, with the National Guard.  He has a few funny stories, but there are still things he won't talk about. 

Other issues are security.  We have a friend who just retired from military intelligence and actively broke up spy rings.  We will be chatting and he will start a story only to stop and say, sorry, can't say any more.  Parts of that are still classified. 

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Winterlight

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 11:41:48 AM »
You know, maybe he's not nonchalant at all. Maybe he finds thinking about it distressing, and feels like you're more interested in drama than in his emotions.

My dad didn't discuss his military service in any kind of detail until I was over 30. When he told me about the time he had nearly had to kill someone, he was visibly upset- and this is something that happened over 50 years ago. It took him that long to feel comfortable discussing it.
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RingTailedLemur

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Re: Today's Dear Prudence -
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 11:45:46 AM »
Is it possible his time in the Army was made more distressing by issues around his sexual orientation?