Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Bristly Beard Causes Irritation

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband usually is clean-cut, and I like that. Recently he has let his beard grow in for a week or more at a time. He works in a job where having a beard is fine, but for me it’s an issue. He likes to cuddle up close to me at night, and his beard is rough and scratchy. I often wake up with irritated skin. I love my husband and want to cuddle with him. How can I get him to understand that for me it would be great if he would shave before coming to bed? -- Please Shave, Wilmington, Delaware

DEAR PLEASE SHAVE: Show your husband your skin when you wake up in the morning and tell him that the irritation comes directly from his stubble rubbing against you. Tell him how much you enjoy cuddling with him at night, but that his beard is making it hard for that to happen. Ask him if he will shave it off.

The other option is for him to grow it out more. A longer beard often is less bristly. You could suggest he try to grow out his beard and together you can decide if it works for you. This will show that you are offering a compromise. Keep him informed about how your skin reacts to his beard. Being open about it is way better than you inching away from him in bed.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband has a tendency of speaking his mind straight out, no matter who is around. This includes cursing up a storm. Our family got together recently, including a couple of our older relatives, and his constant profanity rubbed a few of them the wrong way. One of my aunties was visibly disturbed. Another sent a cousin over to me to ask if I could get him to tone it down. Unfortunately, that never works. When I have asked my husband in the past to make his commentary G-rated when we expect guests, he laughs and tells me he will do what he wants in his own house. The reality is he does it even if he is at a restaurant. What can I do? -- Washing His Mouth Out With Soap, Seattle

DEAR WASHING HIS MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP: You know your husband, and chances are your relatives do, too. This does not excuse his insensitivity to his surroundings. However, if he refuses to budge at all on his colorful language, you cannot force him to make a change. You can choose to visit with your elders independent of your husband. Go to your aunties and spend time with them. Call them on the phone so that you stay in touch.

When you plan family gatherings, remind them that your husband probably will add color to the gathering. As elders, they have lived long enough to encounter others who don’t follow all the rules. Remind them there’s always one in the bunch who is an outlier. Your husband happens to be the one in your family.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)