Dear Abby: My hippie cousin’s armpit hair is ruining my wedding

Dear Abby weighs in on a wedding guest whose appearance might serve as a distraction.
Dear Abby weighs in on a wedding guest whose appearance might serve as a distraction.

DEAR ABBY: I have a 25-year-old niece, “Meadow,” who embraces the hippie lifestyle. She’s kind and sweet and loves everyone. She has also opposed “the Establishment.” She’s heavily tattooed and has several facial piercings and thick underarm hair.

My son is the complete opposite. He is in the business world and is very professional in his manner and dress. He’s getting married in three months to a lovely girl. Meadow is invited because she wanted to come. My son is nervous about her coming to the wedding. He doesn’t know Meadow that well. They were close as kids but haven’t seen much of each other in adulthood.

My son is worried Meadow will wear an outfit that will display the tattoos and her bushy underarm hair. He’s afraid she will be a spectacle, and her appearance will become the focus of the wedding and not his lovely bride. He’s also worried someone will ridicule or comment about Meadow, and he will then have to defend her, causing a disruption. None of us are close to Meadow or feel comfortable with her appearance. How do we handle her presence at the wedding? — CONFORMING IN CAROLINA

DEAR CONFORMING: Excuse me. Who invited this counter-culture cousin to the wedding? The time to have raised these issues was before the invitations were sent out. If Meadow is already invited, it would be terrible to disinvite her.

If someone comments on her appearance, I’m sure it won’t be the first time she has heard it. If it happens, resist the urge to rush to her defense. Simply explain calmly that Meadow is there because she’s family. (It’s the truth.) As to her upstaging your son’s bride, that won’t happen if Meadow is seated at a distance from the altar.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been regularly attending exercise classes that are offered with the membership at my gym. One of the classes I particularly enjoy is taught by a very good instructor who is friendly and welcoming. She makes a point of speaking to everyone in attendance.

I have noticed over the last few weeks she has become decidedly unfriendly toward me. She avoids speaking to me, even though she speaks to everyone else in the class. This has been upsetting, and I realize I’m becoming depressed about it. I am not aware of anything I have done to provoke this.

Should I ask her if there was something I did to offend? Should I say nothing and continue attending her classes? Or should I just join other classes that are offered at my gym? I occasionally see her participating in other exercise classes I attend, and sometimes we are in the gym working out at the same time. — ALIENATED GYM GUY IN GEORGIA

DEAR GYM GUY: I am a firm believer in the adage, “seek and ye shall find.” Because this teacher seems to have cooled to you and you are alone. Pose that question. Then be prepared for an honest answer.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.