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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter's New Lifestyle Puts Mother in an Awkward Position

DEAR ABBY: For the past few months I have been dating a man I'll call "Barry." This is my first relationship in five years and we get along well.

When we first met, I was physically attracted to Barry for many reasons, but in particular because he had a gorgeous beard. A beard is kind of important for me. Some women like tall men, others like long hair. I'm a "beard woman."

The problem is, Barry has told me I ogle any beard I see (not true). And he now gets annoyed if I look at or compliment his beard. A few days ago, he shaved it off.

I care about Barry, but I'm not as attracted to him when he's clean-shaven. I think he did it as an act of defiance. How can I get him to understand that I don't ogle every beard I see, and convince him to keep his whiskers without hurting his ego? -- FUZZ-LOVING IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR FUZZ-LOVING: Barry may have shaved the beard as "an act of defiance" -- or not. He may have done it because it was uncomfortably hot or itchy, and he prefers being clean-shaven. My advice is to ask him -- in a non-hostile way -- why he got rid of it.

Many people think that the person behind a beard is what's most important. However, if you're not one of them, because he's no longer willing to wear one, you may have to look elsewhere for a furry friend.

Read more in: Love & Dating