Dear Prudence: My husband hates it when I don’t groom myself.

Help! My Husband Won’t Let Me Go a Day Without Makeup.

Help! My Husband Won’t Let Me Go a Day Without Makeup.

Advice on manners and morals.
Jan. 21 2013 2:27 PM

Primp Patrol

In a live chat, Prudie counsels a woman whose husband won’t let her go a day without makeup.

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A: It's not his charm that's stripping your skin, that's you shedding it yourself. Your excuses boil down to: I'm digging this sick drama. So stop. Tell him it's over, you wish him the best, but you two need to have no contact—convey this in writing so you have a record. Then don't respond when the cycle starts. If he keeps escalating, send a final email saying that if he doesn't cease immediately, you will be forced to take action with the authorities. Stop making excuses for your snake charmer and slither away.

Q. Re: Grace: I don't know, I think the girlfriend has issues with Grace because the poster sounds like he's in love with her. "I share most of my hopes, dreams, and fears with Grace"? He has to maintain "good boundaries"? He can't stop gushing about how great Grace is and how special she is, but the girlfriend gets the boilerplate "amazing." (I'm not judging, just throwing out the idea that the girlfriend may have grounds for giving the poster the side-eye with respect to Grace.)

A: He says Grace has been a lifelong friend and there has never been any romance between them, but he is describing why this relationship is so important to him. You could turn this whole thing around and say how great it is that a man can have this kind of relationship with a woman—fortunately it's becoming more common. Either you believe the letter writer or you don't. If the girlfriend doesn't believe him, then she should depart instead of trying to destroy the friendship.


Q. Relationship: I have been going with a man for two years. We seem to get along sharing cultural backgrounds and interest in the arts, politics, etc. Our intimate life is absolutely wonderful. But there is absolutely no talk of the future or of moving in or moving forwards in our relationship. I love him and the only times we have not seen eye to eye is when I bring up my dissatisfaction with his no-commitment attitude toward me/us. Yes I am always ready and willing when he calls or makes any plans but I have been feeling unhappy in this situation because I feel he doesn't want to get married or move in together.

A: Stop being a doormat. You've been together for two years and he refuses to even discuss moving the relationship forward, so you have a lot of information about how he sees the two of you. Since you want more out of life, tell him so. Say that you understand commitment may make him nervous, but lack of it does the same for you, so you two have a dilemma you need to work out. Then stop being so available and start pursuing your own interests. And do not consider moving in with him unless you two have an entirely different understanding of where this relationship is headed.

Q. Religion: I was raised as a Christian, but have always struggled with my faith, partly because there are certain aspects to Christianity which I do not agree with, and partly because I feel like the way I have understood the rules and expectations placed on me have contributed to my current problems with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. I have been thinking about this for a long time and have decided to put aside my faith, something which has made me feel more comfortable in myself already. However, my whole family are Christians, and while some of them would probably be accepting of my decision, I suspect most of them would be deeply upset by it and would regard it as their responsibility to “convert” me back again. I have no desire to make this into a big deal or to challenge them about their own faith, but equally I no longer feel comfortable attending church or praying with the family, and it feels very dishonest when they speak to me about their faith and assume I have the same thoughts and feelings. Should I keep quiet in order to keep the peace, or speak up and face the fallout?

A: This is a private matter and you are perfectly entitled to keep it that way. I'm not sure how old you are or how entwined with your family you are, but if you're an adult, this really is your own decision. Yes, you may get family pressure. So you have to have to be able to say, "I appreciate your concern, but I'm dealing privately with matters of faith and I'd like to keep it that way." It may make your life easier to join your family at church for say Easter and Christmas, which won't mean you're being a hypocrite, it will mean you're making an effort for people you love.

Q. Re: Big Nose: I think that Glee's Lea Michele is a beautiful woman, and she has a large nose. In an episode of Glee, Rachel (her character) considered a nose job but in the end decided against it. All of her friends told her that her nose was part of her and they loved her with it.

A: I agree she is beautiful and would not be more so with an "off the rack" nose.

Q. Re: Beauty routine: Ah, someone with straighter hair who notes that we should simply be able to comb our hair on "off" days. ... It's not that simple for other hair types, just so you know.

A: Billions of dollars worth of flat irons are sold just so people can end up with straight hair. I maintain that anyone should be have a basic haircut that enables them to do something easy with their hair so that it looks decent without having to do a major style job on it every single day.

Q. Neighbor Lets Dog Poop in Hall: I live in an apartment building. A neighbor (not sure who) owns a dog and has twice now let it poop on the rugs in the hallway—and then refused to clean it up. I've spoken to the landlord, and he's as disgusted as I am, and he wants me to figure out who it is and report back to him. I'm wondering what I might say to this person when I figure out who it is. What's the best way to handle this? I've so far left two notes urging the person to be both a more responsible pet owner AND a more courteous neighbor, and informing them that no one else will be cleaning up after their pooch, but the poo has been on the rug for three days now and the offender has certainly walked by the pile and the sign a few times by now without doing anything about it. Help!

A: Your landlord needs to address this with more than an expression of disgust. Surely there is a maintanence crew who works in the building—so the landlord has to deploy the cleaning crew to get the poop off the floor. And frankly, I'd do it myself rather than walk by a hardening pile for three days. Unless your apartment doubles as a kennel, how hard could it be for management to contact everyone on your floor who has a dog and explain this kind of behavior will get them removed from the building? Organize your fellow tenants and keep the pressure on management.

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Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.