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Parallax - Advice            July 17, 2000

   He's wearing an entire jewelry catalog...

Dear Conversely, Ask us a Question!

I have a rather superficial question but it does bother me quite a bit. I've been dating my boyfriend for a year now and I really love him. He thinks he's very stylish - I've never really cared but he's very into his clothing and appearance, so fine, I go along with it. Well, now I care because he's developed an affection for jewelry. In fact, quite a lot of jewelry. All of a sudden he is wearing a necklace and a bracelet and a ring. And now there's talk of getting an earring. I think it's gross. If you ask me it makes him look like a girl and I find it really unattractive. I'm a little embarrassed to bring him out with my friends. Should I tell him or just hope it's a passing phase?

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Her view:

Dear Embarrassed,

Tell him. It is irritating you. Don't make it some big topic - just ask him why he's suddenly decided to become a poster child for Zales. If he's so style-conscious, he'll be happy for the feedback. Another way to broach the subject is to say 'pardon me, I couldn't hear you above the din of your clanging chains.' Make a few jokes and skate on by casually. Hopefully he'll get it and move on to a newer phase.

I'm sure my esteemed colleague will tell you to be very careful with the male ego - but don't. Just dig in a give some hard feedback. But be funny and light - that's what most guys do anyway.

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His view:

Dear Embarrassed,

I'm going to presume that you really like this guy, because otherwise, given your expressed disgust at his jewelry habits, you would have dumped him already. And if you really like him, then you probably want to try and make this work.

I have two proposals. The first one is backed by the hypothesis that you are more upset with his taste in jewelry than with the jewels themselves. Try guiding him in his selections. Extol the advantages of more modest accouterments. Explain the fashion contradictions of thick gold chains on his hairy chest. Maybe even dissuade him from the earrings by complimenting the manly curve of his lobes.

OK, so perhaps that won't work for you.

My second proposal is that you punish him. Slot him into private-lover status and take him out of social circulation for a while. Continue to meet him and enjoy the pleasure of his bejeweled company in the privacy of his or your homes. Then offer to bring him back as a full-fledged boyfriend when his passion for silver and gold subsides, or better yet, vanishes entirely.

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