DEAR AMY: I strongly believe that in today's society it is necessary to shower daily and apply deodorant immediately after showering and re-apply as needed. If I ever forget to wear deodorant, I will go out of my way to find a store and buy some. I'd be humiliated if I ever smelled bad!
On the other hand, my boyfriend only showered about once every three days before we dated (eew!). He says he doesn't believe in deodorant, and he can actually name a list of famous men who don't wear it. When my boyfriend skips a shower I certainly notice, and he only wears deodorant when I bug him about it.
When he spends the night at my house I notice that the bedroom smells stinky until he leaves. He just doesn't seem to understand that it is actually a big deal to skip showers. I've been nice for so long but now have resorted to threatening to stop shaving my legs!
It's gotten to the point that I try to embarrass him about being smelly. Then he laughs and teases me, saying that he smells like a man and I should learn to love it.
I told him I would write to you, and he said that if you published my letter he'd send it to his friends because it's so hilarious.
— Fresh Scented
DEAR FRESH: Your boyfriend may be acting like an idiot — but I don't really blame him. You seem to have an almost irrational fear of any scent not manufactured by Procter and Gamble.
I don't agree with you that bathing every day is a necessity, and I definitely wonder about your addiction to deodorant.
You may have sensitized your nose so much that you now have a phobia about the smell of your own body, not to mention anyone else's.
That having been said, you should cop to having an extreme sensitivity and your boyfriend should be kinder about it (though I note that he is already bathing more often). And can't you manage to relax your extreme standards without humiliating him in the process?
Not that you two want solutions. You want to control, shame and threaten him, and he wants to make fun of you.
DEAR AMY: How does one respond to a friend/neighbor who tells you her teenage daughter is pregnant?
The father of this child is in his early 20s, has no prospects and won't be taking on any responsibilities for mother or child. They will live on welfare.
Does one congratulate the friend because she's going to be a grandmother? Does one show concern over the predicament?
What should the reaction be?
DEAR SPEECHLESS: You should say, "This is a surprise. How are you feeling about it? And how is your daughter doing?"
This friend's response to your open-ended questions will guide the rest of the conversation. Please remember that pregnancy lasts for almost a year. There is time to adjust to the shock and to also develop something of a plan for the future.
Babies can have a transformative effect on people, prompting families to rise to the occasion.
It is kindest to assume a positive (or at least neutral) attitude, and also to offer neighborly assistance — even if it simply takes the form of a fresh cup of coffee and a shoulder to sigh on.
DEAR AMY: I simply cannot believe your defense of a racist boyfriend in your response to a letter from "Worried."
A leopard will not change his spots. If she stays with him, their children will be racists. He promised not to make racist comments in front of her, but that doesn't mean anything.
— I'm Worried About You
DEAR WORRIED: This boyfriend had proved that he was willing and able to change his behavior. I think it's also possible for someone to change the thinking behind the behavior.
"Worried" reported that she is from a racially diverse family and that her boyfriend liked her family members very much. If he sees the connection between his comments and the impact on actual people, his views could evolve.
If not, I agreed with Worried that this is a deal breaker.
Send questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.