DEAR ABBY: I'm 17 and my mom won't let me dye my hair! Earlier this year she finally let me color it red, which I have wanted for years. I went blond for my sister's wedding, but I'm naturally blond and I don't like it because it's boring. A ton of people compliment me on my hair, but I don't care what people think, I just want to be me and not anyone else.
So, my mom is being too controlling. She says I have to stay blond until I can pay for it myself, and I don't have a job. My parents are very strict and I would never be allowed to get a tattoo, but I want my red hair back. How do I go about convincing her that no matter how much people love the blond, I don't like it and I want a change? -- NATURAL BLONDE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR NATURAL BLONDE: When a person changes hair color more than twice in one year, it can seriously damage the hair. Also, red is the hardest color to keep up because it tends to oxidize and turn "brassy." (I am speaking from experience.) It can also be expensive.
If you want to "go red" once you're working and can afford it, you can make your own decision. But in the meantime, listen to your mother -- she's looking out for your interests.Read more in: Teens | Family & Parenting
DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my 20s and finishing up two degrees at university. I am an only child, and my mother is one of the youngest among 10 siblings, so I have many cousins.
I have always been the "good one," the one who is responsible, not addicted to drugs and who has a promising future. Because of this, my childless aunts and uncles and those with irresponsible children have looked to me for moral support and guidance during their golden years. Many of them are now in their 60s.
Abby, I already have to take care of my parents as they grow older. This stress as an only child and the "responsible cousin" weighs heavily on me. What would you advise? -- THE GOOD ONE
DEAR GOOD ONE: Recognize what your limitations are and pace yourself accordingly. As you start your professional life and, eventually, your own family, it's important that you not allow yourself to be spread so thin you make yourself sick.
Your first responsibility must be to yourself, your immediate family and your parents. If looking out for your aunts and uncles becomes more time- and energy-consuming than you can handle, consider enlisting the help of a social worker.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety
DEAR ABBY: During meals, my girlfriend uses her fingers to push the food on her plate onto her fork. She does it not only when we're at home -- just the two of us -- but also out in public at restaurants. This can't be proper manners, can it? How can I get her to stop without upsetting her? Or am I better off not bringing up the subject? -- UNCERTAIN IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR UNCERTAIN: What your girlfriend is doing is considered poor table manners. Because she's having trouble maneuvering her food onto her fork, suggest to her that she should do what some Europeans do -- push it onto the fork using the blade of her knife.Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics
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