Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Seventh-Grader Wants to Pierce Her Nose

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter, who is in the seventh grade, says she wants to get a nose stud. A couple of her friends at school have gotten their noses pierced, and she wants to do it too. I am completely against this. She is too young, in my estimation, to make a decision that could affect her livelihood. I can say no, but I want her to understand that I don’t think this is a smart idea at this point in her life. What can I say? -- No Nose Piercing

DEAR NO NOSE PIERCING: Your ongoing job as a parent is to teach your child the values that you hold dear. This includes regularly talking about what is important to you and why. Cause and effect figure prominently in this dialogue. When you do X, it could mean Y. In the case of a nose piercing, ask her what the implications of that might be on her life down the line. Talk to her about her hopes and dreams. Have her think about people who have jobs that she considers interesting and consider how those people present themselves. Helping her to develop a vision for her future based on what she is learning should help her to see that a nose piercing could be limiting.

In a job interview, a pierced nose will be noticeable and potentially off-putting for many professional pursuits. Let her know that when she becomes an adult, at age 18, she will have the right to make this choice if she likes. Hopefully by then she will have enough tools and insights to make an informed decision. Right now is too early.

Sweaty Job Seeker Needs Help Staying Dry

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am looking for a job right now, and it has been tough. I am a college graduate with the credentials to be able to get some kind of a job -- or so I thought. But it’s been tough finding anything. I get pretty nervous, and what has been happening at job interviews is that I sweat a lot. It comes through my blouse sometimes, and it looks awful. What can I do to gain more confidence when I’m interviewing? And is there anything I can do about all of the sweating? -- Sweaty Interviewee

DEAR SWEATY INTERVIEWEE: Even though statistics say that the United States is adding more jobs each month, many people are not feeling that sense of abundance of opportunity as they look for work. Be persistent, creative and patient. The more confident you feel about yourself and your abilities, the better able you will be able to master an interview. For starters, think creatively about each position before you go to an interview. What unique qualities and interests do you bring that the employer might want or need? Be ready to talk about that. Your uniqueness matched to their needs is a recipe for success.

Regarding the sweating, go to the drug store and invest in dress shields. They are like sanitary pads that go in the armpits of your blouse. Men can use them in their shirts as well! They absorb perspiration and help you look calm and collected. Also, avoid coffee or any hot drinks before an interview. Drink cool water and do some deep breathing before you walk in the door. Use a handkerchief to wipe your hands dry, too. A dry, firm handshake is a sign of a confident interviewee.

(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.)