DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has been growing out his hair recently. I don't mind long hair as long as it is well-kept, but his high school has contacted me saying he is breaching the rules of the dress code by having hair longer than shoulder-length. My son is not confrontational, but he wants to keep his hair. Should I fight the school or have "Kyle" succumb to the rules? -- Long Hair Don't Care, Bedford, Mississippi
DEAR LONG HAIR DON’T CARE: It is unlikely that you can get your son’s school to change the rules around hair. This does not necessarily mean that your son has to cut his hair, though. Get creative. Many men wear their hair in buns these days. This is a perfect solution for him when he is at school. The so-called “man bun” is so popular it just got added to the dictionary.
Have your son agree that he will always wear his hair in a bun that does not fall out when he is at school. In the evenings, on weekends and whenever he is not at school, let him know he should feel free to wear it however he likes. If the school balks at the bun, you and your son should point out that you are following the rules. Ask them to respect that.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex and I co-parent our children, and we constantly get questioned by our family about the nature of our relationship. We have not been together for over two years, but our friendly discourse always causes my siblings to ask me if "Dale" and I are back together. I could see us reuniting one day, but for now I know we do better apart.
Does everyone deserve to know the details of our relationship? We are rocky enough as it is without family getting involved. -- Tired of Rumors, Cincinnati
DEAR TIRED OF RUMORS: Talk to Dale about how you want to handle the questions from family and friends. Agree on a strategy that protects your children and each other, and stick to that. I would recommend that you agree not to talk about your personal relationship with them at all. When they ask if you are getting back together, push back and tell them that what you are doing is parenting your children. You both are mature adults who love your children unconditionally, and you have committed to figuring out how to care for them so that they will be happy and healthy.
When people make comments about how well you two look together or how they can envision you being a couple again, you can thank them for their positive comments and leave it at that. Do not feel the need to explain yourself or your rapport with your ex. Should the day come that the two of you decide to test the waters again, do so discreetly until you are sure of what you want to do. Keeping folks out of your business may create space to rekindle something very special.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)