Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Man Disparages Neighbor's Body

DEAR HARRIETTE: Much to my horror, when one of my neighbors held the door for me the other day, he yelled to me to run. I was just coming from a serious workout at the gym and didn’t feel like running, even though I was moving quickly. He added, “You need to run so you can lose that belly.” I was shocked. Yes, I am overweight, which is why I have been going to the gym. But I don't even know this man's name! How dare he say that to me! I was so shocked that I didn’t say anything; I just glared at him. But I wonder if I should follow up with a comment. -- Insulted on My Doorstep, Bronx, New York

DEAR INSULTED ON MY DOORSTEP: Some people are rude. He is one of them. Don’t stoop to his level with a nasty quip. Instead, ignore him. Stay focused on your fitness goals. Get fit and strong for yourself. Check in with your doctor to make sure that your eating habits and fitness regimen are right for your body. Compete with yourself rather than someone else’s image of you.

When you reach your fitness goals, feel proud of yourself -- without bragging. If this man happens to say something else to you, good or bad, just smile and keep on moving.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband refuses to let me have a housekeeper to help make sure things are tidy at home. We have three children, ages 6 through 13, and both of us work full time. My husband considers a housekeeper a luxury and thinks it is a waste of money to have someone come in to do what we should be doing. Never mind that my husband rarely lifts a finger to do anything around the house. He expects me to do it all. I cannot do my job, help with homework, cook and clean everything by myself -- nor should I be expected to. How can I get this across to him? -- Need a Housekeeper, San Diego, California

DEAR NEED A HOUSEKEEPER: Make a list of all of the weekly and daily household chores. Next to each task, assign a family member the responsibility. This includes your children. Even toddlers can learn to put away their toys. Assign your husband a range of duties, too. Talk to him about your list, and ask him to become an active participant. Point out that you simply do not have the time or energy to do everything. From now on, you must have full participation from the family.

You may want to ask your husband to help with homework, too. The children may enjoy getting his input along with yours. Add that if your husband refuses to help out, you will have to hire a housekeeper because you cannot do it all by yourself.

(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.)