I trust that the gentle reader was not overly distressed to hear an exceptionally loud noise some several hours ago. And surely the same gentle reader ought to have had no trouble in diagnosing the origin. Clue: It was neither Victoria Azarenka nor Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon. Those two amateurs clock in at a mere 95 and 100 decibels, respectively. I shall only add that I wish it were August.
L2: Now, there could have been a ncie debate on whether LW2 and H2 would be best served by not attending family events to which AC2 were also invited, instructing AC2 to give them a wide berth at such events, or simply leaving the instant AC2 showed H2 any attention. The Prudecutor was not doing too badly on this letter, and then she had to Go There, as one hears said. What conceivable difference could it possibly make to anything except H2's sense of understanding of the past whether AC2 was herself abused as a child or not? Why even bother to mention such a thing? In tennis terms, this startling revelation is reminiscent of the 763rd time one of the ESPN crew reveals in full solemnity that Mardy Fish has lost weight, Caroline Wozniacki hasn't won a Grand Slam tournament, or any of an assorted bag of Overly Stated Facts. If anything, the Prudecutor's idea about AC2 is less useful, as it might detract from a helpful solution.
L3: Not a bad letter - a sort of Green Acres in reverse. I advise LW3 to channel her inner Eva Gabor. I'm not sure why the Prudecutor has to take such glee in the death of the farming/small town way of life. And I do wonder a little at LW3. I'm not exactly sure where Grouchiness ranks in the Biblical calendar of Grounds for Divorce, but I suspect that it is not very high on the list. The Prudecutor might have pointed out that LW3 has reaped great benefit from the very modern institution of No-Fault Divorce, and that, as she's already at least bent one of the three Fs of Faith, Farm and Family, it's not that great a leap to reconcile herself with dropping a second.
L4: While this is largely a technical question, it does strike me as the most Austenian. Miss Austen makes excellent use of less blatant miscues to hint to the discerning reader whether a character is to be liked or disliked. Note the grammar used by many of the characters. Laxity in that department by a female is never entirely forgiven. We may see the most of it in Mrs Elton, but it might be most important in the case of the Miss Steeles. After all, while Nancy has no excuse, Lucy begins in rather a sympathetic position. She has been engaged for a long time without means of marriage to Edward, a connection which constitutes a distinct social and economic advance for her, and Edward has behaved very badly indeed by allowing his affections to transfer themselves to Elinor Dashwood. However, the discerning reader quickly gathers from Lucy's grammatical abuses that somehow she isn't to receive much sympathy despite her position. It's interesting that Ms Thompson's film of Sense and Sensibility addresses the situation more directly than the novel. Her Elinor asks Ms Winslet's Marianne, after Marianne has declared that Edward must not honour his engagement, "Would you have him treat Lucy worse than Willoughby has treated you?" Presumably, most readers would.
And now, in not quite the usual manner, for L1:
First, to cross-examine LW1: Okay; he has two "wonderful" daughters. How nice for him. How subjective is that opinion? Are we correct to assume that F1 is not Christian, or at least less Christian than the N1s? As far as the neighbour family is concerned, given that the families have dined together, how was LW1 struck by the other family's children's conversation? What did that reveal about how they have been raised and/or schooled? Just for the purposes of clarification (I trust people will accept that I have no interest in the response, although the Submariner might), are LW1's daughters dressed in a manner suitable only for home or perhaps the beach or a pool party? visiting friends? going to the mall? How old were the boys doing the looking? What were Mike's exact words to describe the situation? "Caught them watching" sound rather inflammatory. Were those his exact words, and how reliable is he? Did Mike suggest any particular clothing as more appropriate? Come to think of it, why did LW1 have such a serious discussion with Mike alone without W1 or both wives present? Very patriarchal of him, and, if he does not have a little strain of patriarchy in his system, falling into Mike's trap. Why were W1 and D1s offended? because the D1s were being accused of sexualizing themselves inaccurately, or just because they didn't think they should be told what to do? Why does LW1 carefully avoid expressing an opinion of his own about his daughters' yard work apparel even to the point of not letting us know what he told Mike? Is he trying to mask a patriarchal belief along the They're-Asking-Fot-It line as a reasonable thing to do to appease a neighbour? And why is W1 staying out of it and expecting LW1 to handle the situation by himself? Does she want to make sure that he will tell Mike to stuff it when put to the test? is she a bit more of the Christian Submissive Wife than we've been told? some other reason? And is LW1 himself a bit uncomfortable around his daughters, now that they are more womanly?
For the Prudecutor, I shall simply refer that person to the title of this post.
For Mike: Did you really catch your sons? How many of them and what ages? And were they really watching or just looking? How incontrovertible is it that it's the D1s they were observing? How much education about Certain Relations have they had? While I have nothing against pro-abstinence education, it's a bit of a unicorn, as it almost always turns out to be Abstinence Only. And can we be really, truly, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-turn-striaght sure that your boys are the ones with lascivious thoughts? How well has your wife kept her figure after eight children? How much Senior PGA Tour golf do you watch, during which about 90% of the commercials advertise some variant on the theme of Viagra? Can you genuinely assure us that the mote is not in thine own eye?
I advise LW1 to spend a good dealm of time digging around on feminist sites. Dr Schwyzer might be just the person. As a former rake and addict himself, he can emit a sort of smug puritanism that should be just up LW1's alley, and he writes regular columns dealing with concerns of adolescent girls and their parents from a feminist standpoint. LW1 could use a healthy dose of feminism.
It is also tempting to suggest that first Mike might voice his concers to the D1s (with their parents present) and then that LW1 might speak to the S1s (with their parents present also).
I am reminded of how My So-Called Life gives occasional glimpses of this aspect of Angela's relationship with her father, Graham, and once or twice Graham's view of the boys he sees as hanging around her, such as the time when Graham asks Brian Krakow for a little assistance with a chore only to receive no response and then mutter to himself, "I'm sorry, Sir; I'm too busy picturing your daughter naked."
Moral: "My dad and I used to be real tight... My breasts have come between us."