DEAR ABBY: My hair falls nearly to my waist, and I go to great lengths to maintain it and keep it free of split ends.
Many of my friends, both male and female, have grown out their hair over the years and donated it to cancer charities. While I think it's a beautiful act of selflessness, I have never felt the calling to donate my hair.
I have recently been criticized for wanting to keep my long hair for myself and have been called selfish and a hypocrite. Abby, cancer runs in my family. I donate money and volunteer for my local Relay for Life every year. When I explain this to my "attackers" -- some of them good friends -- they look the other way and say I'm "horrible" because I won't cut my hair and give it to those in need.
I cut my hair very short 10 years ago and regretted it. Now I'm feeling pressured to do it again. How do I get my message across to these people without sounding defensive or snobby? -- RAPUNZEL IN MICHIGAN
DEAR RAPUNZEL: I think I detect a twinge of jealousy in the "good friends" who imply you are being selfish or hypocritical for not donating your lovely locks. It would be neither defensive nor snobby to smile and reply: "We all must decide for ourselves how we will support the charities that are important to us. I have chosen to donate in other ways."
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend, "Keoni," for five years. We have a healthy relationship. However, when we go out to the grocery store, the doctor's office or the mall, women constantly question his ethnicity, which is Hawaiian. Then, without fail, they'll proceed to tell him (and me) how handsome, beautiful or gorgeous he is.
Keoni does nothing to make me feel less than pretty myself, but these frequent comments from strangers have started to make me feel insecure about my own appearance. How do I accept these compliments without resentment? -- KEONI'S GIRLFRIEND IN FLORIDA
DEAR GIRLFRIEND: What may be upsetting you is that these women ask your boyfriend inappropriate questions and appear to be coming on to him. Face it, your boyfriend is exotic. If you were in Hawaii, he wouldn't be exotic -- you might be. The next time this happens and someone raves about his good looks, remember that Keoni's with you, not her. But if she's pushy, "suggest" she move to Hawaii and get "lei-ed."
DEAR ABBY: Are hugs the new handshake? I am encountering more and more people who, instead of shaking hands when they see you (or say goodbye), want to hug. I understand it if you are close friends, but frequently it's a business acquaintance.
The two most recent examples were when I went to meet with my mother's minister to arrange her funeral. I had never met the man, but he wanted to hug upon meeting me. Yesterday, I saw a new eye doctor for the first time. As I was leaving, I put out my hand to shake his. He said, "Oh, I like to hug!" When I stepped back and told him, "I'm not a huggy person," he seemed offended. Any suggestions? -- STANDOFFISH SUE
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