Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Loses One of Mom's Earrings

DEAR HARRIETTE: I lost one of my mom’s earrings, which she let me borrow for a party. I know that she is going to be so mad at me if I tell her I lost the earring. She told me to put them in a plastic bag when I took them off so I wouldn’t lose them. I skipped that step. Should I wait until she asks for the earrings or just tell her that I lost one of them? -- One Earring Left, Portland, Oregon

DEAR ONE EARRING LEFT: Have you retraced your steps carefully? Did you go back to the party and look around? If it was at someone’s home, did you check with the family? Earrings often show up.

Same for when you got home: Did you look outside your front door? The path to your room? Around and under your bed? After you have exhausted all possibilities, confess to your mom. Do not wait until she asks. Admit to her that you forgot the most important step that she recommended, to put her earrings in a bag, and you lost one of them. Apologize profusely both for losing the earring and for not following her directions. Offer to replace them.

By being up-front about what happened, you will show your mother that you are working to be responsible. Whatever punishment she offers, accept with humility.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Miscellaneous | Holidays & Celebrations

Reader Asked to Show More Skin at Work

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boss recently pulled me aside and asked me to show some more skin on the job, seeing as it might get me more tips and happier customers. I am a pretty conservative dresser, and I have this waitressing job to get me through school. It is true that I am the most conservative dresser at the restaurant, but I didn’t think anything of it. The other women wear skirts rather than pants and fitted tops rather than loose polo shirts. I hadn’t paid much attention to how they dressed before my boss said this. I was just happy that we didn’t have to wear a uniform. Should I take her advice? I feel uneasy that my boss told me to do this, but I think I may see better tips. -- Advising Boss, Denver

DEAR ADVISING BOSS: Your boss’s words skirt dangerously close to inappropriate, and yet they may also point to the trend in this restaurant. Though there is no uniform, if there is a general way that most servers dress and you are far more conservative, you probably stand out as different. What can you do about that? You should alter your attire only to the extent that you feel comfortable. So, if you have a skirt that could work or a more fitted top, go for it.

That said, I recommend that you engage your customers more instead of changing your appearance. Look them in the eye and smile, and greet each person. Be friendly and excellent at your job. Serve them well. Remember repeat customers, and do your best to use your personality to draw tips rather than your body.

(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.)

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Work & School | Sex & Gender | Money