Don’t brush off apologizing for hairstyle gaffe

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: This woman I work with at a restaurant radically changed her long hair. She chopped it off and dyed it black. We were crazy busy the other night, and she asked me how I liked her new hair.

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Opinion

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: This woman I work with at a restaurant radically changed her long hair. She chopped it off and dyed it black. We were crazy busy the other night, and she asked me how I liked her new hair.

“Not much!” I thought. I was in such a hurry with my tables, I said quickly to her, “Liked it better the old way!” and moved on.

It was not a big-deal comment, but she got upset. It’s not like I’m not her boyfriend or anything. It shouldn’t have meant anything to her, but now she’s acting very snitty with me at work.

Last night after my shift, the manager asked me what was going on. I told him, and he shook his head and shrugged, as if to say: “What can be done?“ You’re a woman, Miss L. What should I do?

— Big Deal Over Nothing, Downtown

Dear Big Deal: Not only am I a woman, as you cleverly noted, but I’ve worked in busy Winnipeg restaurants.

You really need the co-operation of other staff to do well, and make big tips. So, swallow your pride, and say, “Sorry for the remark about your hair. It’s fine. I was rushed, and didn’t really look.”

As apologies go, that’s not a fancy one, but it’ll help smooth things over. Also, tell the manager you apologized. A person who takes the time to make things right with other staff is valuable on a restaurant team.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mom recently came out as “trans.” I think I want to be supportive, but I also can’t stand the idea that my Mom’s face will change. Also, I know for a fact she doesn’t want to be called “mom” anymore.

Yes, I know I’m “not losing the person” but I still feel like my mother has died in a way, especially since I’ll have no one left to call mom. She does have a female partner, but we’re not that close. I’m not calling her mom, that’s for sure.

Honestly, if my mother just let me keep using the mom name, I could probably cope, but I’ve been told that’s “just not happening.”

I thought I was a progressive person but holy crap, this is eating me alive! I’m not even telling my closest friends.

— Soon to be Mom-less, Winnipeg

Dear Mom-less: Give it a little time. Calling your parent “mom” will probably start feeling odd to you, once their outward looks change more.

You are not alone in your predicament. There are many names being used around the world for parents who don’t fit the old-fashioned “mom and dad” situations. For example, affectionate names for your parent could be one of these popular new ones from around the big, wide world — Maddy, Adi, Poppy or Nibi.

Ask if one of those names would be acceptable, or if there’s something better to use. If “dad” is the only name desired, you may have to say: “I have one parent called ‘dad’ already, and can’t use that name for you.”

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Every time my kid goes on the internet, it feels like he becomes a worse person. He’s very young (barely in grade school) so I do my best to have him go out and play with other kids or with our pets. Then he’s just great — the same kid he’s always been.

But, after my son’s been on the iPad for part of an afternoon, it’s like Mr. Hyde comes out and I get a rotten, mean, sassy little jerk afterwards. As a result, I’ve limited his screen usage severely in our home.

I really don’t want to be a helicopter parent, yet whenever my child comes home from a friend’s or family member’s house, I know instantly if he’s been playing on the internet, purely from the behaviour.

Is the internet truly such a disgusting place that it rots our children and ruins their personalities, or am I handling this wrong? I want to empower my child to make good decisions and use technology responsibly. Any advice would be appreciated.

— Caught in the Web, St. Boniface

Dear Caught: This situation is often time-sensitive. If a child is playing competitive computer games — especially those involving battles of some kind — things can change. After two or three hours, players can get past the “fun game” stage feeling and fall deeper into the roles being played. Kids can sometimes emerge from being in that headspace still feeling aggressive and competitive for a time.

Shorter times spent online affect them less. It’s good to limit the time spent online with your boy’s friends, but don’t totally deny him this part of his social life.

Please send your questions and comments to lovecoach@hotmail.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.

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