DEAR HARRIETTE: The locals in my new town are complete haters.
I’m from New York City. In New York, you can wear whatever you want, and nobody will bat an eye. When I moved to a small town a few months back, I kept my New York fashion sense, and it didn’t translate well at all.
The locals in the town where I live now give me dirty looks every day. Someone always has something to say about my outfits (mostly negative things). I love dressing up, but I’m sick of the glares and rude remarks.
What should I do?
DEAR NEW TOWN: Because people who live in New York City come from all walks of life, there is a convergence of styles there that quite naturally leads to a different level of acceptance than in many other places. You have transplanted into a more homogeneous community that has its own set of values and traditions.
If you want to live harmoniously there, you may need to think about how to modify your personal presentation a bit to cut down on the glares and snipes. Or you can decide that how you are is perfect and stop noticing their judgment. Your attitude about yourself is what you can control. If you fully embrace your uniqueness and stop allowing their opinions to affect you, over time they may more fully welcome you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am at my wits’ end. My husband is a pot smoker. That is not news. But ever since quarantine started two years ago and we found ourselves at home all day together, he has smoked pot nearly every day — morning, noon and night.
It is no longer recreational. There seems to be a permanent waft of pot smoke going through our apartment, and I can’t stand it.
I work all day at my computer. The last thing I want to smell is weed as I’m pitching to clients.
He is barely working and sits around watching YouTube all day and puffing. I have asked him not to smoke all day, to make sure he lights a candle before he smokes and basically to be more courteous. He just gets mad.
We do not have a backyard, so whenever he smokes, the stinky cloud wafts through our whole apartment. I’m sick of it. What can I do?
DEAR POT-FREE ZONE: The things that bothered us when we first met someone — spouses included — tend to be the very ones that linger years later. And so it goes with your husband and his weed.
His frequency of use may have changed, but not the basic behavior. Quarantine was hard on a lot of households. Many people whose jobs were diminished developed unhealthy habits, like daylong weed smoking, much to the dismay of those living with them.
I’m sorry that you did not establish house rules at the beginning of quarantine, but it sounds like you need to set some now — starting with no smoking in the house before a particular time. Point out how disruptive it is for you as you are working. Suggest that he do things that get him out of the house. That could be anything from looking for work to taking a walk, spending time with friends or going to the gym.
You may not be able to curb his smoking entirely, but if you agitate every time he smokes during the day, you may be able to annoy him enough to limit his usage.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.