Q: My husband has a crush on a co-worker. He’s always going on about some witty thing Cindy said at the water cooler, some brilliant prank she pulled, or some sublime screensaver she downloaded. They haven’t spent any time together outside the office, and I know he’d never be unfaithful, but it burns me up when he praises her Xeroxing ability. What should I do?
—SLOWLY BEING CRUSHED, Upper West Side
A: The problem with jealousy is that once vented, it confirms your partner’s primal suspicion that some cute secretary is the secret to his happiness and you are a raving-lunatic shrew. So instead of having a “talk” or making disparaging remarks about his crush, tease him archly, proving yourself to be wise and calm and, in fact, the perfect wife: “Ooh, I wish Cindy were here to help me lick these envelopes!” And if that doesn’t work, start talking about Josh, the former AAA baseball player who just started interning in your office.
Q: The man I’ve been dating is a music snob—he works in a record store, and his first question whenever he sees a Beatles record is “Mono or stereo?” I take pride in my well-curated music collection, so I was caught off-guard when he went through my Case Logic looking for mood music and collapsed on the floor laughing. He’s awfully cute, but how should I put up with this mockery?
—CD BURNED, Park Slope
A: If going out withhim is still an option after he discovered your musical tastes aren’t entirely compatible, he must not be that much of a music snob. And if you’re still interested, you must not be too prideful. So play the eager student: Have him make you a mix tape. Or make him one with detailed liner notes passionately defending your love of Rush. There’s nothing like a debate over the merits of Geddy Lee to stoke the flames of love.
Q: Someone just asked whether my fiancé and I were on the rocks because at a party we spent all our time at opposite ends of the room. We are fiercely loyal to each other and very much in love; we just like to flirt with other people so we have more to talk about when we get home. For appearance’ sake, should we stick closer together?
—STILL HIS, Hamtramck, Mich.
A: I’m guessing your friend and her boyfriend arrive at parties joined at the hip and watch each other like hawks. They are lame people no one wants at a party, and you and your man are cool people everyone likes having around. Feeling secure enough in the relationship to flirt with others is a great thing, and knowing that you have the freedom to be a sexual creature in the world while still faithful to your intended keeps love alive like nothing else. Don’t change a thing.
Q: I have been going to my colorist for several years. When she went on maternity leave, my stylist took over highlighting my hair—and she does a much better job! I spoke to her about giving the colorist the new formula, but it’s not just the concoction—the success is also in the weave. So now I want the stylist to keep doing my color, but in a tiny salon, it’s a move that would not go unnoticed. How do I handle this hairy situation without hurting any feelings?
—HEAD CASE, Bay Ridge
A: Attention, New Yorkers! Your yogi, your life coach, your broker, your barista—they are not your friends! They may improve your posture, net worth, mood, etc., but that is because you pay them to. Likewise, that stuff on your head? It’s your hair. Yours. And the stuff in your purse: your money. So it’s time to break up with your colorist. Don’t just skulk in under a kerchief when she’s at lunch; let her know, nicely, that since you’ve been pleased with the new gal’s work, you’re going to stick with the convenience of having one person do both things instead of coordinating two appointments. If your ex raises a big stink, then maybe she could use some work on her head.
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