Dear Lenny: Lenny The Pirate answers your questions

Dear Lenny,

How do I know if my relationship is toxic? If it is, what do I do?



Dear Anxious,

You might be shocked to know this, but my entire long pirate life I’ve been a single man, and never settled down with one gal, so I don’t feel like I have the expertise to answer this question. However, my good friend Mr. Thompson has, and is happy to offer advice: 

If you aren’t able to spend time with your friends, or do the things you previously enjoyed, or always feel anxious because you need to check each of your actions with your partner. Those are clear signs that your relationship is toxic. 

A healthy relationship is one in which both partners are supported and grow. In a healthy relationship, partners encourage each other in their individual pathways as well as building things together. Healthy relationships trust each other.

A toxic relationship will be one where one partner exerts control and directs the actions of another. It could be seemingly innocuous, like always choosing where to eat lunch or who you eat lunch with regardless of what you want to do. It could be as severe as dictating who you can be friends with and how you spend all your time, or requiring constant check-ins.

Your partner should appreciate and like you for who you are, not who they make you into.

In my experience, it is hard to identify your own relationship as toxic because your partner may have warped what you view as “normal” and healthy. Often a toxic partner tries to drive a wedge between you and your friends or support group. Luckily, it is your friends who will notice first that your relationship is toxic. They notice that you are not your usual self. They notice that you pull back from them more instead of finding a balance. They notice that you always seem restless about your partner and what they may think of you.

If you need help or think there is a problem, reach out to a trusted friend for help setting boundaries with your partner, or separating entirely if that is going to be what is best for you. It can be very difficult to remove yourself, especially if your toxic partner has already pushed your friends away. But your friends will be there for you if you need them because they want what’s best for you, and you will be better in the long run without that toxic partner.

Good Luck,


We are only taught abstinence in health class, what are other methods of contraception?



Dear Protected,

Great Question! I’ve reached out to my dear friend, who is the communications director of Ipas, a global non-profit organization for reproductive justice, to provide you with some information:

Abstinence is one way to protect yourself from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but not the only way. Comprehensive sex education should include information about puberty and reproduction, abstinence, contraception and condoms, relationships, sexual violence prevention, body image, gender identity and sexual orientation.

But let me get back to your question. There are lots of kinds of birth control, and some work better than others:

  • Condoms plus another form of birth control is the best way to avoid pregancy and prevent sexually transmitted infections
    • Implants: 99% Effective Inserted in arm and last approximately five years. 
    • IUD: 99% Effective Tiny device inserted into uterus and lasts about 12 years.
    • Pills: 93% Effective  Taken once a day *effectiveness is reliant on consistent adherence to schedule and medication interactions. 
    • Ring: 93% Effective  Small flexible ring fitted in the vagina. Replaced Monthly.
    • Patch: 93% Effective Worn on the body and changed weekly.
    • Shot: 96% Effective Administered every three months

Consult with your doctor to find the best fit for you. Find what’s right for you, and be safe!

Safety first,


Dear Lenny, 

I have nothing to watch on TV! What are your recommendations?



Dear Bored,

 It’s good to immerse yourself in what interests you, and for me, that’s myself, so I’ve got a vast collection of treasures you should look into. Anything involving Pirates will always be a reliable choice. My favorite movie franchise of all time is Pirates of the Caribbean. This series was so good… I was hooked! but I’d also suggest Disney’s animated “Peter Pan,” though I was a little hurt that the true hero, Captain Hook, was portrayed as a villain. I guess the pirates lifestyle is a little too much for wimps like Wendy and her brothers. I hope you enjoy these suggestions, though you’re really required to. After all, you are a Pirate! 

Have fun!


Dear Lenny,

Please help me! I’m super stressed out trying to balance everything with college apps, schoolwork, and life. Do you have any advice so I don’t lose my mind?



Dear Stressed, 

I reached out to Ms. Schmaltz, our college advisor who was happy to answer your question:

A LOT is being asked of you right now! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but it’s important that you don’t let it keep you from making progress. 

My advice? Break everything down into small, attainable goals: take things one at a time. It’s important to keep your priorities straight during this time. If an important deadline is coming up (like the early action for your dream school), make that your priority! You can always catch up on your work or personal lives right after.  

Staying organized (using a google sheet or doc to track assignments and deadlines) helps you focus on tasks rather than having them all float around in your brain at once! 

Deep breaths,


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