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home : columns : dear harriette May 11, 2021

4/20/2021 7:57:00 AM
Girlfriend's new job causes concern

DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend has been looking for a new job for a while, and she finally got a job as a server at a high-end bar and restaurant. The problem is that she wasn't totally honest with me about what kind of job it actually is. I researched the place and found out that the waitresses are required to wear really revealing outfits. I know how hard it was for her to get this job, but I'm really not comfortable with it. I also wish she had been more honest with me about it from the very beginning. What do I do? -- Deceived

DEAR DECEIVED: Your girlfriend probably didn't tell you the details of her job because she was afraid you would react exactly as you have. The job market is tough right now for many people, and, sadly, that has meant that some people have had to compromise in terms of the jobs that they felt they had to accept. That has meant looking outside of their fields of study, interests or aptitudes at times. In your girlfriend's case, the compromise seems to be about values -- at least from your perspective.

Rather than being mad at her, look at it for what it is: She needed a job. Talk to her about it with compassion. You can tell her you are disappointed that she didn't confide in you. Ask her if the environment is safe. Find out if sexual favors are expected or if there's any whiff of impropriety there. Admit that this job makes you uncomfortable. But as long as it's safe, offer to support her while she figures things out.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a problem with the way my new boyfriend asked me to be his girlfriend. There was no grand gesture, and it was way too casual for my liking. I did say yes because at the time I was very happy that he even asked me, but now I'm second-guessing. I wish that he had made a bigger deal of it. There was nothing exciting or grand about the way that he asked me. Is it even worth mentioning to him? Should I just get over it and move on? -- Need Effort

DEAR NEED EFFORT: What was missing in your boyfriend's request? Think about what is upsetting you. Was your boyfriend not romantic enough? What exactly did he say and do? It could be that he realized he really wants to be with you and it felt natural and right, so he said it. That may seem simple, but it's direct. Some people are like that. It could be that he's awkward and shy or unceremonious and straightforward.

You need to figure out what is making you disappointed and decide if you can live with that, because your boyfriend probably thinks he made an appropriate gesture. If you really like him, you can introduce him to the ways you like to enjoy special moments. Be ready to accept, however, that he is not a man of grand gestures. That can be OK, too, as long as you figure out how to balance his manner with your expectations.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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