By Alma Gill
An Expensive Invitation
Three years after my divorce I met a really nice man. I am 34 years old, financially secure with no children. So far we make each other happy and get along really well. We both pay for things when we go out. I own my stuff, condo and car, and so does he. When we go out, never dutch, one or the other picks up the tab and it’s never been a problem. Here is my issue: He invited me to go with him to meet his family. Then he said the other night, “When are you going to get your ticket? Let me know so I can make sure we’re on the same flight.” I was appalled that he wants me to pay my own way. I think that’s totally wrong. What do you think?
V.B., Shreveport, La.
What? He wants you to pay your way. Girl, can you hear that chirping chickadee, “cheap-cheap-cheap-cheap!!” LOL!! All I can say is, you’ve got an extremely fugal brother on your hands. To the left, to the left, I hear you and I totally agree. On the other hand, my sane mind, to the right, to the right, is tugging at me saying, “If he has a serious savings account and meticulously maintains his finances, that might be a good thing for you.” I mean, really; he’s not asking you to go in half on his root canal. It’s a trip. Maybe he sees it as a vacation (you know how men are). Which I’m sure you do not (you know how women can be). Seriously, tho, going to visit your companion’s family is not a vacation, and you need to clarify.
Unless you decide to have a straight-up conversation with him, I’d say give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think there’s any intent of wrongdoing here. Since you guys share the cost most of the time anyway, and since it bothers you, make this a teachable moment in your new relationship and explain it to him. Let him know that visiting his family is like buying a special gift. And you’d rather not have to go in the store and get it yourself. Ask him to cover the cost of the flights and you volunteer to cover the hotel. If you’re staying with family, you can cover food and entertainment expenses. Don’t be mad; if things work out between you two, you’ll be glad he’s frugal, especially during your retirement years. In this economy, a man that resists unnecessary spending and prefers to save his coins is a keeper.
A Hairy Problem
I met a woman online about six months ago and we’ve been emailing ever since. We live in different states. She’s been very caring, and we seem to have the start to a wonderful friendship. I have one conflict, though: She has dreads down to her waist. This woman is in her 40s, is educated and not a musician. She is the perfect height and size. She looks totally professional… until you see her hair. Why would someone choose to wear her hair in a style that appears unattractive and unkempt? There must be other ways to express oneself and show one’s style. I’m really not as shallow as this sounds (it’s what’s inside that counts), but it’s sometimes hard for people to get past initial impressions. Most of us try to do the best with what we’ve got, so I can’t understand purposely trying to look worse. I don’t think there is a chance for romance with her hair this way. Doesn’t she realize it detracts from any sex appeal she might be hiding underneath? I would like to remain friends with this woman and get to know her better, but I am uncomfortable with the attention she draws in public. I can’t ask her to cut her hair, either. How do you tell someone there’s this huge boulder in the way of getting closer? Is there any solution to this dilemma, or should I just forget about my new friend?
E.P., Harrisburg, Penn.
My, my, my, you’re in a pickle, Mr. Whipple. I’d like to know if it’s the natural hairstyle of dread locs that you don’t like about your new boo, or is it that she’s not permed. Either way, natural or permed, long or short, I think when it comes to the style of one’s own hair, it’s personal – an individual decision. Most women I know are under the impression that men prefer long, straight hair. That’s why weaves are so popular in our communities. That said, some women aren’t offended if a guy wants them to change their hairstyle. So I say tell her. You don’t have to be mean or insulting. Just mention that you’d like to see her with a particular style. It would probably help if you had a picture of the style you’d like. If she likes you, she probably won’t mind that you mentioned it. If she gets mad…well, then you’d have to decide what’s more important to you – her heart or her hair. Good luck!
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.