Dear Abby

Beard Is Bone of Contention Between Husband and Wife

DEAR ABBY: I'm married to the love of my life. Our 25th anniversary will be here soon. My issue is, my husband has a beard I cannot stand. It's long and unkempt, and makes him look 10 years older than he is. It has become a real issue between us.

He keeps telling me about women and co-workers who tell him what a "nice full beard" he has. I don't care what these women think. I am his wife, and I think he should shave it or at least trim it for me.

I am withholding sex (which is very important to him) until he trims it and no longer make eye contact with him because I can't stand looking at him. What should I do? I love him more than anyone else in the world does. Shouldn't he respect my wishes? -- IN A HAIRY SITUATION IN DULUTH

DEAR HAIRY SITUATION: If you want to make your marriage last 26 years, please stop using sex as a weapon to manipulate your husband.

That said, your opinion should supersede that of the women he sees at work. A beard can be flattering if it is kept clean and trimmed. If it's not, a man can look like Howard Hughes in his latter days, which is truly unfortunate.

Because you are unable to get your message across, enlist the help of your husband's barber. Perhaps he can get through to him.

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