Upset by Pals' Jokes about Her Guy

Q: I am in a long-term relationship with a great guy. We've both decided that marriage isn't for us but we're very happy sharing our lives together. My issue is with my friends who make jokes or snide comments because he's a hairdresser — as if this profession isn't "masculine" enough. He actually owns the salon and I consider his professional endeavors very entrepreneurial and he is quite respected in his industry. I want his advice, as I'm sure he's faced such issues over the years, but don't want to imply that I doubt our relationship. — Carrie, 48

Dr. Susan: If his profession of salon owner and hairdresser doesn't bother you, then your friends' jokes are meaningless. If you argue back too seriously with comments like "he owns the salon" or "he's highly respected and entrepreneurial," you'll only give them more ammunition. Save those explanations for your closest friends when you have real conversations about their and your relationships. For your wider circle of friends, why not tease back with a smile, "You're just jealous because I'm guaranteed never to have a bad hair day!" I'm not so sure you need to share your friends' snide and ignorant comments with him.

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