Dear Readers: I'm stepping away from the "Ask Amy" column for a week. Please enjoy these hand-picked "best of" columns in my absence.
Dear Amy: I have a very attractive wife. In my opinion, she is much better looking without makeup; however, whenever we get dressed up and go to "nicer" places, she likes to fix herself up. The more makeup she uses, the more it detracts from her appearance. I didn't have the heart to tell her, but she looked like she was ready for the morgue the other evening when we met another couple at an upscale restaurant. She looked jaundiced.
I have thought about discussing this sensitive issue with her friends as I think they would agree with me, but I am struggling with the delivery of the message. As a man, I know we're sorely lacking in communication skills. Your take?
— Bruce (2003)
Dear Bruce: Other men might have trouble communicating, but you seem fine to me. Let's start by not talking to her friends, OK? That's got disaster written all over it. In lipstick. On the mirror.
I took your letter across the street to my department store makeup counter, and the ladies there suggest that a gift certificate for your wife would give her an opportunity to "freshen up" her style. The bad color might just be because of poor lighting in her bathroom, and a good makeup person can identify that and other issues, such as the impulse to make herself up like Gene Simmons from KISS for special occasions.
May I add that your feeling that your wife is perfect as she is, is reason enough to scrape off the greasepaint. Have you told her this? That statement, accompanied by one tube of perfectly pink lipstick from you, might take care of the whole matter.
Dear Amy: I belong to a social group of women who quilt together. One of the group who professed to be our friend has spread untrue stories about two of us, and these untruths have gotten back to us.
This has been going on for more than a year. Should we confront her or continue to ignore what she is doing?
— Elaine (2004)
Dear Elaine: Do your best to clear the air at your next meeting by speaking to her directly. Just say something on the order of, "We're so worried that you seem to have a misunderstanding about us, Martha; what's going on?"
Stand quietly and wait for her to answer.
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