Dear Prudentia: What is Best in Life?

Dear Prudentia: What is Best in Life?

He offers you lamentations. I offer you orgies. And you vote for him. Really?
He offers you lamentations. I offer you orgies. And you vote for him. Really?

Dear Prudentia,

I know how it goes. When one asks a mighty barbarian warrior: “What is best in life?” The typical answer should be: “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” The first two are fine, but I must admit that the third one perturbs me. I mean, I don’t actually like hearing women cry. It makes me feel all sad, and I tear up easily, which isn’t good for troop morale. Once, I hiccupped a sob, tried to pretend it was a sneeze, and bit on my own recently sharpened sword to hide my grief. It looked pretty badass so the men were impressed and gave me wide berth, but still, I can only cut half of my face off so many times before I’m too mutilated to be understood. Plus, my tetanus shot is out of date and that’s bound to turn out badly. Please help me to enjoy the lamentations of women, as ever good conqueror should.

Grinning Anonymously

Dear Grinning,

First off, you should never let your shots expire. You just never know what you’ll encounter on that battlefield. Some people’s arrows are filthy with cow dung, did you know that? You could get terribly ill that way, which would tear your attention away from conquering.

Now, for your main question: Dear man, you are in a difficult bind. And what are you to do? You shall hear women lament, of course, for that is what women do best. I myself have been known to enjoy a spot of lamenting with my tea. So, as we cannot stop the problem from occurring and as you obviously cannot easily retire (as retirement for conquerors generally occur post mortem), then we shall help to toughen you up, dear friend. Here are just a few tips to start you on the right path.

To-do list: Pull arrow from thigh. Kill orcs. Do butt shot (done!) Who the hell has time for lamentations?
To-do list: Pull arrow from thigh. Kill orcs. Do butt shot (done!) Who the hell has time for lamentations?
  1. Bathe in the Blood of Your Enemies: Now, I know this is old school, but you can’t argue with the classics. Don’t make it easy and get slaves to prepare your tripe-scented bath, either (and I do actually mean bathe, here. It’s something that conquerors should in fact consider taking up, but that’s a whole other post). Prepare the bath yourself – it’ll get you nice and pre-gory before being more gory. I supposed that’s actually post-pre-gore since the pre-gore would have been when you slay your enemy, and then gore when you prepare the bath, and then post-gore when you do .. wait, maybe that first step should be the pre-pre-gore then. Well, either way, do it. It’s great for building up a tolerance to all things, and it has the bonus of being quite lovely on the skin.
  2. Eat Unseasoned Horse Hooves: First cook them a bit in the fire, smoke flavor is fine. They won’t get very tender and you will lose teeth, but the resulting heartburn will leave you thinking only of your body’s laments, and having no care for anyone else’s.
  3. Visualize: According to modern theories on psychological distress (I read an article in last week’s Conquered Homes and Gardens), first you must relax your body, and then imagine your trigger. If you can teach your body to relax as you visualize this happenstance, you can therefore enter a field of lamenting women and it shall become your happy place. Or at least it won’t become your heart-wrenched place.
  4. Sit On Pins and Needles: This little trick is great while riding a horse. Pain will toughen anyone up!
  5. Pain Sticks: I don’t generally advocate mixing with science-fiction, especially of questionable science fact, but do get a Klingon guard to stab you with pain sticks. It really works wonders at toughening people up. It even prepares Klingon warriors for the great test of getting married.
  6. Wear Tight Boots: Now, see, every woman knows that an uncomfortable pair of darling looking shoes can be enough to ruin an evening of revelry and dance, though they continue to do so in the hopes of meeting their prince charming, even though when he shows up he takes off with your younger brother instead, but, wait, what was I saying? Oh yes. Wear tight boots. That will toughen you up.

    "... he left with Cuddly Martin, so then I stuck my uncomfortable glass shoe right where the sun don't shine, know what I mean?"
    “… he left with Cuddly Martin, so then I stuck my uncomfortable glass shoe right where the sun don’t shine, know what I mean?”
  7. Over-Stimulation: This is a bit of a last resort plan as it requires some dedication and time. Find a quiet place, perhaps a meadow, or a courtyard, where you can have some alone time. Bring in a woman and her various different loved ones. Behead the loved ones. Listen to the laments. Rinse in blood. Repeat. You’ll be surprised how quickly the cries become tedious instead of touching.

Fret not, this won’t be that hard. Soon, you’ll enjoy the lamentations of women as much as your compatriots. Or, failing that, just bring a herd of angry bleating goats into all of your conquered lands, and they’ll effectively cover any sounds of lamentation, while giving you a strange but memorable conqueror signature.

Need more advice? See all of Prudentia’s columns:

Why Should I Include a She-Babe?
How Do I Find Motivation as a Female?
How Do I Learn to Quest?
Please Help Me with Questing Etiquette
Red Sonja is Cooler Than You

Marie Bilodeau is an award-winning author, a world traveling storyteller, a podcaster over at Planet X Podcast, a caffeine enthusiast AND… um, wait, no, that’s it.  Find out more at

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Wild Ape

Dear Prudentia,

I murdered Prince Charming so that my one true love will notice me and so I will have no competition. After her grief and after I gave her warm condolences she seemed to be within my grasp. Then she took up with a supernatural lover, I don’t think it was Prince Charming but it makes me rage that I must once again force her to see that she truly loves me and not merely as a “friend”. Should I hire an exorcist to off the new boyfriend or bind her soul so that she sees me in a new and loving light?

Evil Second Best Choice

Aonghus Fallon

Ah, the Lamentation of the Women! I’ve seen many a young warrior look a bit shame-faced as we ride into some village to find ourselves surrounded by a lot of weeping, recently-widowed women – recently-widowed thanks to our sterling efforts, admittedly.
‘Look,’ I always tell such fellows. ‘This is a GOOD sign.’
Why? You ride into some village after killing all its male inhabitants and find an ominous silence reigning over everything, chances are an army of wild-eyed harridans are going to pour out of every doorway in the next second or so, all clutching an assortment of kitchen knives and farm implements. You might be lucky to escape with your life, (if minus your left thumb, thanks to some surprisingly agile old hag with a wood-axe).
Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.

Aonghus Fallon

Excellent advice, my dear Prudentia!

Yours as ever,

Ageless Falcon,

Sarah Avery

And here I was about to suggest, on the basis of my first career as a lamenting woman, that taking up kitchen implements made an excellent first step toward eventual world conquest. All right, I haven’t quite managed the world yet, but I’ve acquired a fine collection of formerly independent city states. And to think it all began with wearing my grandmother’s clothes so I might not be sold into slavery, and hacking off an invader’s left thumb with my wood-axe. Hey, wait a minute…


Hail Prudentia,

Any advice about what to do about the lamenting women who get their bodices all in a bunch over chain mail bikinis? Like any good warrior I enjoy some lamenting women with my victory ale, but nothing gets the blood rushing like fighting alongside some dangerous and tantalizing women!

-Barbaric Berserker

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