DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife and your reader (who wants her husband to dress up more) are birds of a feather. I dress in bib overalls -- sometimes worn and patched or sometimes "ironed and new," but bib overalls, nevertheless. I keep them clean and "presentable." I also have a college education, sometimes a beard, and I am a millionaire, and I can dress any way I wish. I am retired, owe money to no one and do not care about my appearance. I can and do dress well when I choose to -- or not. The lady's husband and I need nothing to prove or to identify us. Our personage is built in and needs no clothing. This is not the military. We do not need to carry our rank on our sleeves. -- Comfortable in Northern Wisconsin
DEAR COMFORTABLE: Thank you for writing in to defend a man's right to dress the way he pleases. Your letter reflects your confidence completely, including your lack of need to be identified with how you present yourself.
What's interesting is that you infer that your wife would appreciate your dressing up more often. I would like to challenge you by saying that while there is clearly no requirement for you to care about your appearance, if it would make your wife happy, it might be a choice you should make more often -- to please her.
In a marriage, many factors figure in to both partners feeling loved and appreciated. If stepping out of the bib overalls and into a sport coat on occasion would brighten your wife's day, you may want to consider it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am about to leave my summer job to go back to school, and I'm feeling sad. I have become good friends with the other people who work at the camp where I have worked as a counselor. We all live in different parts of the country, and I feel like we are just going to go our separate ways and that will be that. Part of me wants to stay in touch with them, but I don't know how practical this is. We are all in college and have busy lives. I want to ask them if we can stay in touch, but I'm afraid I will get my feelings hurt if I ask and they don't want to do it or don't follow up. Should I just keep my idea to myself or go for it? -- Sad to Go, Boston
DEAR SAD TO GO: It's wonderful that you forged positive bonds with your co-workers. I definitely think you should say as much and let your new friends know that you would like to stay in touch. Be honest and express your concern that your lives might be too busy to keep connected, but offer that you would like to try. Get their contact information and be the first to reach out. Don't expect them to communicate all the time. When you think of one another, send a note or make a call.