DEAR ABBY: My father is upset with me and my sister- in-law because we don’t ask his wife “Clarice” – who is a hairdresser – to cut, color or style our hair.

Clarice primarily services middle-aged and older females, who usually request haircuts and styles far different from what we want as young women. She does a great job as a stylist on that particular kind of client, but we’re less confident in her skills with trendier styles and colors – not because she’s incapable, but because you become expert at what you do every day.

We have never discussed our feelings with Clarice; for years we just got our hair done elsewhere. Dad recently let us know that our choice of stylists has hurt his wife’s feelings. We all love Clarice dearly and have a good relationship with her otherwise. Do we have a family obligation to use her services? How should this be addressed? – FEELING TRAPPED IN GEORGIA

DEAR FEELING TRAPPED: It was wrong of your father to put you on the spot, but now that he has, you must talk to Clarice. Many women would rather curl up and “dye” than change hairdressers. Since you have a long-standing relationship with yours, explain that to Clarice. However, please keep in mind that a good hairdresser is more than a one-trick pony.



DEAR ABBY: I have a big decision to make and I need your help. I am from New York but I have lived in Virginia for 10 years. I moved after I got divorced and took my two boys with me.

I went home to New York for the holidays and now would like to move back because my parents and grandmother are getting old. I am 44; my boys are 19 and 21. The problem is, they don’t want to go.

I have no life because all I do is take care of my boys. I make good money but I have nothing to show for it because of them. They use me. Both of them live with me and neither one helps with the bills. They both earn as much money as I do, but I am always sacrificing myself to give them money.

I can’t take it anymore. I feel if I don’t leave them, they’ll never grow up. It pains me that I’ll be so far away from them, but my brother has offered to sell me his house, and I really want to go. Please help. – VACILLATING IN VIRGINIA

DEAR VACILLATING: Your “children” aren’t children anymore. They are both self-supporting young men. The greatest gift a parent can give a child is independence. The longer you remain a crutch, the longer your sons will lean. If you want to be nearer to your family, for heaven’s sake, go! You have the chance of a lifetime, and you should take it.



DEAR ABBY: Thank you for completely debasing the act of giving my best friend a pair of diamond earrings on her retirement last year. I find it reprehensible that you assume we had slept together or that we intend to. Is it really that incomprehensible that everything in this world is not about sex? – INFURIATED IN BELTON, MO.

DEAR INFURIATED: The letter I printed wasn’t from your wife. It came from a woman in Minnesota. Not only had her husband bought the woman diamond earrings, but he had also been buying her lingerie from Victoria’s Secret. In addition, his wife had caught him lying about his relationship with the recipient. Cool off.



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

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)


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