Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is convinced that bleaching her hair after a bad breakup is the only way to get over her ex. Clearly, this isn't true and will completely ruin her hair for years to come. I don't think the damage is worth it and have never even dyed my hair, yet I've gotten over breakups just fine.

I already told her this would be like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die, but she is not having it. Have I done enough as a friend to stop her? I don't want to be the soundboard to her complaints after she goes through with this. -- Bleach Blonde, Las Vegas

DEAR BLEACH BLONDE: People find all kinds of unusual ways to say goodbye to bad relationships. While bleaching absolutely does damage your hair, for most people, the hair will grow back, and you can cut the dry, bleach-burned hair off. In other words, your best friend's way of exorcising her grief may not be the worst choice she could have made.

As far as you having to listen to her lament the state of her hair sometime down the line, it will be up to you what you do when she starts the complaints. You can foreshadow your intended reaction by telling her now that when her hair starts falling out, she shouldn't come to you for sympathy. But in the moment, you will have to speak up and tell her you are unwilling to hear to her sob story because you really did predict that it would happen. Good luck with that!

DEAR HARRIETTE: My children coerced me into buying them pet turtles. Lo and behold, I am the only one taking care of them. My kids don't even pay attention to them! I called the pet store and they said that they cannot accept the animals back years after purchase. I have been plotting to release the turtles into a local pond. I am not sure if they will survive, but I cannot spend any more time and money on these creatures. What should I tell my children if they ask where the turtles went? I don't want them to think that I am heartless. -- Swim Away, Fort Lee, New Jersey

DEAR SWIM AWAY: I know your pain! I willingly bought my daughter two turtles 10 years ago, mistakenly thinking they were easy to care for and that they would be a short-lived pet experience. I had not done my homework; turtles can live as long as 100 years! And they grow to be huge.

What we did at the end of last year was to give our turtle to our local pet store. We had built a great relationship with them, and they took our turtle and sold it to another customer. We had also looked into re-homing our turtle, which some exotic pet hospitals can help you do, but that can be expensive.

Do know that it is illegal to put the turtles into your local pond. Captive turtles are not accustomed to a natural ecosystem and often overeat when they are freed. This in turn can upset the ecosystem for the other aquatic animals.

(Harriette Cole is a life stylist 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.)