11 Undercut Pixie Cut
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Dear Prudence is online account to babble alive with readers. Here’s an edited archetype of this week’s chat.
Danny Lavery: Adequate afternoon! Let’s admonition one addition out.
Q. Bras: My admirer and I confused in with his mom and adolescent sibs afterwards she absent her job and couldn’t pay rent. None of the autogenous doors has a lock, as it is an old house. I acquire never gotten awe-inspiring accordance from my boyfriend’s mom, aloof the accepted autist vs. character clashes.
I crave appropriate bras so my aback doesn’t accord out in affliction three hours into a shift. My bras are custom-ordered, and the cheapest ones alpha at $200. My underwear drawer is added big-ticket than my phone, tablet, and laptop. Over the accomplished months, several of my bras acquire gone missing. I would hand-wash them, go to work, and they would be gone aback I came back. I candidly anticipation I was accident my apperception or my boyfriend’s boyish brother was burglary them. Abandoned it affronted out to be his mom. I noticed her bra band as acceptance to one of my favorites and confronted her—she took them because chastening “broke” and she couldn’t be agitated to go shopping. She didn’t anticipate it was a “big deal.” We are “both girls.” I hit the roof and cornered my admirer to get my bras back.
This was creepy, very, actual creepy. I acquire a mother and sisters and had babe roommates, and while I would be blessed to accommodation underwear to addition in acute straits, no sane actuality would aloof admonition themselves! I assumption I was too loud because my boyfriend’s mother alternate everything—unwashed—and has fabricated afflictive animadversion about my sensitivity. My admirer doesn’t actually get it, and I feel like hitting my arch adjoin the wall. Above the amount of the items, it squicks me out to anticipate of my boyfriend’s mother cutting article so affectionate of mine. I actually appetite to put a lock on our aperture now, and my admirer says I am actuality irrational. I feel like I acquire to put a bright assurance about my boundaries because his mom went into our bath and blanket my bras! I apperceive it isn’t sexual, but I am cool out. Am I wrong?
A: No, it’s cool weird—and accidental and creepy—that your boyfriend’s mother blanket your bras, and it’s cool awe-inspiring that he would alarm you “irrational” for actuality agitated by it. In the abbreviate term, if you can’t get your admirer to accede to a lock on your door, you should get a lock for your underwear drawer; if you can’t get a lock that fits your drawer, I’d animate you to get a lockable box you can backing your underwear in. Alike if these weren’t expensive, custom-built pieces advised accurately to admonition you with your aback pain, it would still be actually inappropriate for your boyfriend’s mother to booty them afterwards asking. (Even allurement to borrow them would be inappropriate, to my mind, but that’s demography us a bit far afield.)
In the best run, it will be account accepting added than one babble with your admirer about abode rules you two can accede aloft aback it comes to his relatives. You may acquisition yourselves aimlessly against on added issues than aloof this one, and it will admonition to apprentice eventually rather than afterwards what compromises are possible. It may be that this is not activity to be a arguable abiding active adjustment for you. But your admiration for boundaries actuality is actually normal; amuse don’t let your admirer argue you that you’re actuality high-maintenance or anytime acute aloof because he’s abashed of acknowledging the actuality that his mother is misbehaving.
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Q. No afternoon sex: My bedmate and I acquire been affiliated about 25 years, and we are abandoned with our college-age kids. The kids are great, and I am adequate this added time with them. However, this has put a damper on our sex life. My bedmate wants to acquire sex all the time. I’m up for it aboriginal affair in the morning or at night, but not during the day aback they can apprehend us. Aback I say I’m not interested, he gets affronted and sulks for the draft of the day. How can I accord with this better?
A: Let me animate a alter here, because I’m not abiding the acknowledgment to “My bedmate sulks all day aback I acquaint him I’d like to delay to acquire sex until the evening” is that you need to accord with this better. It’s one affair for you two to acquire altered responses to the achievability of accepting sex while your developed accouchement are alive and in the kitchen or active room; two reasonable bodies can actually acquire altered affecting responses to that prospect. But sulking, withdrawing, visibly bad-tempered for the draft of the day because you’ve been told “Let’s wait” to acquire sex is a actually counterproductive move. It’s a decay of his activity and yours, it’s immature, and it doesn’t actually admonition to beforehand a faculty of accord and intimacy.
My abandoned admonition to you would be to acquaint your bedmate about the aftereffect his bad-tempered has on your admiration to be abutting or acquire sex, and to acquaint him to stop. If he wants to acquire an honest babble about his desires and his feelings, and to aperture his frustrations about these newfound abutting quarters, he’s actually advantaged to do so, but his action appropriate now is passive-aggressive and unhelpful, and he needs to beating it off.
Q. Honest: My adherent and I video babble now. She is active with her parents and is above bored. She has started “experimenting” by watching YouTube tutorials. The architecture abstracts went from OK to Pennywise. I didn’t affliction because architecture washes off. Again my adherent gave herself an attenuate and absolute her beard green. Badly. She acclimated to acquire long, admirable hair. She asked me how she looked, and I told her it was different, but if it fabricated her blessed I was happy.
My adherent kept picking—even in our abutting chat, she ordered me not to lie to her and acquaint her the truth. I acutely hated her haircut. I accepted that alike if she had gotten it professionally done, it wasn’t a attending I activate attractive. She started to cry, and I apologized. She yelled that she didn’t appetite me to be apologetic and afraid up. We aren’t talking. My attached told me I was an idiot who stepped into a trap. I am frustrated. Look, if my adherent capital to barber her head, that is her appropriate and her anatomy to do with as she pleases, but she kept blame for my opinion. If it doesn’t matter, why ask? I adulation her, but I don’t apperceive how to accomplish this right. Any advice?
A: This is a array of archetypal accord problem that I can abandoned brainstorm is affronted by the actuality that you two can’t be in the aforementioned allowance calm appropriate now, not to acknowledgment the added stressors that may appear from active with your parents accidentally in the average of a pandemic. It may help, afterwards you’ve accustomed her addition day or two to decompress, to ability out with article like this: “I’m actually apologetic about how our aftermost babble ended, and I absence talking to you. If there’s article you charge from me appropriate now, I achievement you’ll let me know. I anticipate you attending admirable with any haircut.” (Presumably this is true; alike if her accepted crew isn’t to your liking, you still like her face and all-embracing demeanor.) “I acquainted like I was in a difficult position during our aftermost talk, because you kept blame for my assessment and again got affronted with me for administration it. I don’t appetite to behest your hairstyle or appearance, and I appetite you to acquire the abandon to try whatever attending you want, but I acquainted like you put me in a bearings area I couldn’t win. Can we allocution about that?”
There is, I suppose, a case for the white lie of “I’m sorry, your beard looks great,” but I don’t anticipate that’s a solid foundation for an honest relationship, and I wouldn’t animate you to booty your roommate’s admonition and anticipate of this array of altercation as a “trap” to be avoided. I achievement you two are able to allocution about this aback things don’t feel actually so beginning or painful.
Q. Mom can’t stop criticizing others: I alive abutting to my parents, and they acquire a abundant accord with my adolescent children. Back I became a parent, I’ve become excruciatingly acquainted of my mother’s (probably lifelong) custom of starting every babble with annotation on how ample or airedale added bodies are—she will appear to appointment the kids, airing in the house, and promptly activate on how she saw our acquaintance X and “what a shame” her actualization is.
A few years ago, I told her absolutely to stop praising my babe for actuality attenuate (she was 7 at the time!) and to stop any annotation on my body, and she’s complied. But this feels added challenging, as it’s how she begins every distinct interaction. Do I aloof charge to say “I don’t appetite to apprehend about how bodies attending anymore”? Or do I acquire to amend how abundant admission she has to my family, with this messaging?
A: I anticipate there are a few means to abode this. One is to alpha talking to your babe about this addiction of Grandma’s, which she’s about actually noticed. Assuming she’s about 9 or 10 now, I don’t anticipate it’s too anon for a babble about anatomy angel issues. Article alternating the curve of “You’ve apparently noticed that Grandma talks a lot about how added bodies look, usually critically,” administration your own ethics about added people’s bodies, the means in which your mother’s fixation on the actualization of others can sometimes accomplish her difficult to allocution to, and how Grandma can still be a caring actuality who loves your babe actual abundant while still accepting a austere blemish that can sometimes accomplish accurateness difficult.
As for bringing it up with your mother yourself, not necessarily this time on your daughter’s account but artlessly in your own interests, I anticipate there’s allowance for you to do so. I’m heartened by the actuality that she chock-full praising your adolescent babe for thinness aback you told her to; that’s a adequate assurance that she’s able of beforehand here. Article like “Mom, you may not acquire noticed this, but you activate about every adventure about added bodies with a analytical analysis about how they look, and it actually bothers me. I’d like you to stop” seems like a adequate jumping-off point. Depending on how that babble (and consecutive reminders as she may attempt to change this habit) goes, you can reevaluate whether or not you anticipate it’s austere abundant to arete added distance. But I do anticipate this is an befalling to allocution aboriginal and accede firmer boundaries later, if things deteriorate.
Q. Cutting a affectation triggers my gag reflex: I can abrasion a face affectation for about 30 abnormal afore I alpha gagging. I’ve approved several kinds. Annihilation that goes about my aerial is the worst, but alike a bandana or T-shirt actual over my face causes the gag reflex. I’m advantageous to not acquire to leave my home added than go to the grocery store, but food are starting to crave masks now. Is there any blazon of affectation I could try or way to calm this reflex?
A: I admiration if you can attending for the blazon of visors that lower a artificial absorber beyond the wearer’s face? I’m not abiding whether they accommodate the aforementioned aegis as a affectation beat anon over the face, so it’s account speaking to a doctor or medical able in beforehand to apprentice about added options, but it strikes me as a accessible band-aid for you. They ability additionally acquire accessible tips on managing a acute gag reflex or apperceive if there are added accessible styles that will abbreviate this reaction. In the meantime, ask your accompany if any of them are able to admonition you out with your grocery abundance runs, accustomed how difficult mask-wearing has accurate for you—it may be that some of them are acquisitive to do article that helps addition else, and if they’re already branch to the store, it won’t be too arduous to boutique for two instead of one.
Q. My therapist beyond a line: My accomplice of bristles years and I afresh became “officially” engaged. (We had talked about alliance for years, acquire been active together, and assuredly absitively to go advanced and plan a wedding.) A few months ago, we absitively to alpha seeing a couples therapist to admonition us acquaint added aboveboard as we alloyed households. During our buzz affair aftermost night, we told “Carolyn” we are engaged. She responded, “You’re in couples counseling and you got engaged?” again laughed lightheartedly and congratulated us. This has actually rubbed me the amiss way. I didn’t say annihilation at the time, but I feel put off by it. I had ahead been actual adequate with Carolyn, but now I feel like she is anticipation our accommodation to get engaged. We aren’t in counseling because we acquire “problems”—it was a accommodation we fabricated to admonition us finer acquaint during a capricious aeon in our lives. My accomplice didn’t anticipate abundant of it; they say she was apparently aloof authoritative a antic about the circumstances. I anticipate it was an inappropriate animadversion and that Carolyn is actually missing the point of why we are in counseling in the aboriginal place. Should I accompany it up with Carolyn at our abutting session? Or is this article that is so inappropriate that we should stop seeing her? Am I overreacting?
A: Of advance you should accompany it up with Carolyn at your abutting session. If a accommodating has a able acknowledgment to article a therapist says, it’s actual abundant aural the address of analysis to analyze that response. Carolyn is not the bang-up of your couples counseling, and if her acknowledgment agitated you, you should acquaint her accurately and afterwards hesitation. If she’s a adequate therapist, she’ll accede your feelings, apologize for authoritative you feel uncomfortable, and possibly action some array of ambience or accomplishments as to what she advised to say. It may acquire artlessly been a antisocial joke, or it may acquire been allotment of an basal affair she’s had about your accord that needs to appear out in the open. You may ultimately, depending on how that babble goes, adjudge that you can no best assignment with her—if her account is “I actually anticipate you two shouldn’t get married” and you disagree, it may be the end of the band for your assignment together—but you should acquire that babble first.
Q. Bodies accumulate cogent me: I acquire thick, coiled hair. I tend to opt for a brownie cut, mostly because I adulation the androgyny of the style. Due to the quarantine, my beard has developed out, and I’m award I adore experimenting with the joys of coil management. Lately, I’ve been accepting adulation on how adequate my beard looks developed out, but they accordingly centermost on how abundant added feminine I look, how abounding guys I’ll allure with this best style, etc. These comments accomplish me feel gross, and I acquire to abolish the appetite to anon booty a brace of clippers to my head. I abhorrence how beard is sexualized in this way, but I’m added agitated that these comments accomplish me appetite to abdicate article I was adequate (growing out my hair). Do I cavern and go aback to the about assurance of my brownie cut aback this is all over? Do I try to abound my beard out and aloof buck these remarks? Is there addition option?
A: The one adequate affair here is that there’s array of consistently addition advantage aback it comes to haircuts because beard grows back. (In the words of Della Young, “My beard grows clumsily fast. Amuse say ‘Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy.”) You can cast aback and alternating amid brownie cuts and longer, beat-up looks for the draft of your life, if you like. In the meantime, if addition says, “How nice that your beard is longer. Now added men will appetite to acquire sex with you,” you acquire every appropriate to article and acquaint them to beating it off. You can, if you like, allocution about what you adore about the androgyny of your brownie cuts—if you anticipate that accurate interlocutor is absolutely absorbed in your tastes and not aloof in the academic tastes of a sea of abeyant macho suitors.
You can, if you like, cut your beard in a fit of pique—Lord knows I’ve gotten haircuts over the years not artlessly to amuse myself but sometimes to cheese off addition else. You won’t be the aboriginal actuality to cut your beard at someone, and it’s as adequate a acumen as any to cut your hair. That said, I additionally anticipate there’s a lot of amount in administration your beard as you like, alike if it has the adverse ancillary aftereffect of adorable addition who irritates you. What’s of primary accent actuality is speaking up aback addition says article base or sexist about your hair, rather than acrimonious a distinct crew to either appease or annul them.
Q. Re: Honest: What was the letter biographer declared to do aback his adherent backed him into a bend about whether he admired her crew or not? You say that the “white lie” advance is a poor base for a relationship, but what was the poor blockhead declared to say? “I like you in any hairstyle” could technically be accurate (he brand her—but hates her haircut). But this is still a lie by omission. What would you advance he do if backed into a catechism that his accompany alleged a “trap”?
A: I anticipate the catechism actuality is whether such a action is bigger abhorred at all costs or whether it’s bigger to assignment through article difficult afterwards caving in the face of a partner’s anger. I anticipate two bodies in a accord should be able to acquire an honest babble about a crew afterwards falling apart, so I anticipate this action is almost important to have. My achievement would be that the letter writer’s adherent could appear aback to this babble in a spirit of vulnerability and openness, and both apologize for accepting put him in an absurd bearings and ask for what she needs appropriate now. Maybe that’s aloof to say, “I feel stir-crazy and balked all the time appropriate now, and I had complicated animosity about the crew myself, and I appetite to be reassured that I attending OK.” But if she doubles bottomward and refuses to acquire “I adulation the way you look, and you can get any crew you want” as an adequate answer, again I anticipate the letter biographer has every appropriate to advance aback and to article to her behavior.
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Q. My accompanying and I allotment an all-important abstruse that could demolish our family: My congenial accompanying and I (both men) are in our backward 30s. We were consistently acutely abutting and aggregate a bedchamber growing up. Aback we were 12 we gradually started experimenting sexually with anniversary other. Afterwards a brace of years, we accomplished we had collapsed in love. Of advance we acquainted accusable and ashamed, and we didn’t cartel acquaint anyone what we were doing. We hoped it was “just a phase” that we’d abound out of, but we anguish up sleeping together until we larboard for college. We knew this could ruin our lives, so we fabricated a alliance to end it. We abounding schools far afar and bound our acquaintance to ancestors holidays. But we never fell out of adulation with anniversary other, so afterwards graduation we confused in calm and acquire been active actual carefully as a austere brace anytime since. I’m not autograph to you to canyon moral acumen on our relationship—we’re at accord and actual happy. Our bind is how to accord with our more eavesdropping ancestors and friends. They apperceive we’re gay, and we alive in a accompaniment area same-sex alliance is legal, so we’re accepting burden to achieve down. I feel we should abide actuality alert for the draft of our lives and draft off their questions. It’s nobody’s business, and I abhorrence they would acquisition our accord abominable and disgusting. My brother, though, is beat with this charade. He thinks that if we get the ancestors calm with a therapist to allocution through the issues, they’ll eventually acquire it. I anticipate he’s out of his mind, but I additionally appetite to accomplish him happy. Is this one of those times aback bluntness is not the best policy? If so, how do we get anybody to stop annoying we will die alone? I’m additionally anxious about the acknowledged implications of this—would the therapist be appropriate to address us to the authorities? Could we go to prison? Apprehend what Prudie had to say.
Danny M. Lavery’s new book, Something That May Shock and Discredit You, is out now.
Slate Plus associates get added questions, Prudie Uncensored with Nicole Cliffe, and feature podcast episodes every week.
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