Dear Prudence

Help! I’m Losing Sleep Over What My Daughter Wants to Do to Her Hair.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

A woman holding a hair trimmer to the top of her head.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Kittisak_Taramas/iStock/Getty Images Plus and lisa_l/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

Q. Everything to lose and nothing to Rogaine: My spouse (she/her) and I (he/him) are tangled up in our 21-year-old daughter’s hair.

She’s a college senior, and generally doing well, except for one knotty issue: She’s headed to the stylist for a severe haircut for a college theater role—think Captain Picard in Star Trek.

One parent feels youth is a good time for experimentation; people, including women, can sport shaved heads if they like; and hair grows back. The other parent is certain that shearing her lovely locks is a serious mistake our daughter will deeply regret. (She’ll be looking for a social services job soon—what, this parent wonders, will interviewers say about a candidate whose scalp is reminiscent of Sir Ben Kingsley?) Please don’t brush us off—help us get to the root of our problem. In all seriousness, one of us is losing sleep over the situation.

A: Okay, I’m not brushing you (or your spouse, whichever of you is worried) off. But if you are losing sleep over a 21-year-old’s haircut, that tells me you have a lot of bandwidth available for worrying and are likely not having to deal with concerns about things like your daughter’s mental or physical health, her drug use, her abusive relationship, her eating disorder, or her dropping out of school. Give yourself a pat on the back as parents. Your kid is fine. With a combination of luck and good parenting, you helped her make all the way to adulthood and through college free from any huge crisis, and your biggest concern is about something that, even if it proves to be a terrible idea, will be fixed (or at least a pixie cut) in six months. You should go out to dinner to celebrate! It’s 2021 and I sincerely believe a significant percentage of employers (and definitely the employer that is right for her) won’t care about her hairstyle.

You asked for the root of the problem: The difficult transition that is letting a young adult offspring grow up and make their own choices. You and your spouse want to protect them from pain and struggle, and that’s okay. But you need to trust that you’ve done your job and she can make her own choices now.

Classic Prudie

I’ve been with my wonderful wife for over seven years. She’s always had a bit of facial hair on her upper lip (think a little peach fuzz but a bit darker). This never bothered me, and honestly I didn’t even notice it usually. Recently though it has gotten darker/fuller. At best it distracts me and other times it becomes somewhat of a turnoff. I’m not sure why this has changed (change in medications, natural process, etc.), but I’m torn if I should say anything. Any suggestions on supportive/diplomatic ways to bring this up, or should I focus more on working on looking past it?