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Dear Abby: I refuse to kill myself making sure events we host are up to my husband’s high standards

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my wonderful husband, “Alec,” for five years. This is a second marriage for both of us. We raised children on our own and waited until they were out of the house to get into a relationship.

My issue is Alec plans events, and then becomes stressed because the house or the food isn’t perfect. My idea of an event is: My family comes over and we enjoy each other’s company. We usually do potluck, and everyone helps with the cleanup. My husband’s idea of an event is that we are the hosts and everyone sits down to a formal dinner.

I hate this! Why would I spend all my time serving my family and cleaning up after them instead of enjoying BEING with them? In his defense, Alec does most of the prep and hosting on his events because I refuse to kill myself making sure everything is “perfect.” But even though he does most of the work, he’s obviously irritated the whole time, and by the time of the event, we’re barely speaking.

These events are not fun for us, and the visiting family notices the tension, so it’s uncomfortable for them, too. I just want to enjoy my family — not impress anyone. Our house is always presentable. It’s not like I invite guests into a mess. To hear him talk, you’d think we have rats running around.

I have tried discussing it with him, and he says, “My mom was a perfect hostess. She made everyone comfortable, waited on them, etc.” You know what? I don’t CARE what his mom did. This is how I entertain, and I’m not going to kill myself and then have a miserable time. Am I unreasonable? — DIFFERENCE OF STYLE

DEAR DIFFERENCE: Remind your husband that families have their own traditions. If he wants to entertain his family in grand style, he’s entitled to do that — and they probably expect it. However, he has no right to impose his style of entertaining on your family because it is not fair to you or to them. Because you’re not going to change him, compromise by divvying up the entertaining — you do yours, and he should do his.

DEAR ABBY: I have an aversion to being hugged. My mother has told me that even as a baby and toddler I didn’t like being held or rocked to sleep. I just wanted to be put in my bed. Since I have been like this my whole life, I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with me. I do let family I am close to hug me if they wish.

My problem is friends or acquaintances who consider themselves “huggers.” Their right to hug seems to trump my right not to be. When I tell them I don’t want a hug, they press the issue. Over the last two years, our country has been in a pandemic and we have been advised to stay six feet apart — but even then, they still want to do it. People: If you are “huggers,” PLEASE realize that not everyone enjoys it. Always ASK first, and if someone says no, respect their right not to have a hug forced upon them. Abby, do you agree? — WITHHOLDING IN WISCONSIN

DEAR WITHHOLDING: Yes, I do. Some people are averse to their personal space being invaded. No one has the right to touch an acquaintance if asked not to do it.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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BLMNL Hosts “Redefining Our Standards of Beauty” Events to Educate on Black Hair and the Importance of Shifting Beauty Standards – The Muse

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February, Black History Month, is a month to celebrate Black lives and bring further awareness to Black history and culture. As a Black person, this month is very impactful as I learn more about my history. Last Saturday, Black Lives Matter Newfoundland and Labrador held their first event during their “Redefining Our Standards of Beauty” series. The online events will discuss Black beauty and how we redefine our standards of beauty. The first event focused on challenging the idea that “white is right” and developing our own ideas of right and wrong. 

After a warm welcome from the Co-Chair, Raven Khadeja, the event’s Keynote speaker Tanya Turton spoke on redefining our beauty standards to start matching with the identities that we carry. What stuck with me was her focus on the relationship between beauty and wellness; how that relationship can help us redefine our beauty. Furthermore, she discussed how redefining our beauty attaches us to another relationship central to the conversation: one between the body, mind and soul.

My takeaway from her impressive presentation is to practice beauty: you can start with defining beauty and integrating that definition into your authentic self. It left me to ponder on what beauty is to me and how I can showcase that through my unique character and identity.

“Beauty is reflective of your authentic self”

Tanya Turton

Afterwards, we dove into a Roundtable featuring: Muna Ahmed, an organizer and writer for BLM Nogojiwanong; Tanya Turton, Founder of NiaZamar; Thyzaria Nowels, Biology teacher and Lab Tech; Grace Phiri, Creative content creator; Laughter Afolabi, a co-founder of We-defined and Rachel Gilbert, an Interdisciplinary Artist. This Roundtable featured people from different professions and backgrounds discussing their experiences in situations of anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and racism, and how these experiences affected their lives. Thyzaria talks about her experience as a Black worker in the Netherlands, and how she faced direct racism whilst working.

“You can’t say Black lives matter without caring for Black workers”

Muna Ahmed

After the round table, we had quick fashion tips from Laughter Afolabi, a co-founder of We-defined. She showed us three ways to dress that would maintain a part of Black culture, using prints and textures. To finish the event we had a special hair tutorial for hair types ranging from 3A to 4C with Ashley Baptiste, a natural hair specialist and the owner of Casa de Capelli Beauty Salon. She gave tips on how to deal with Black hair and the need for protective hairstyles. She ventured into a conversation about appropriation and the importance of giving Black women credit for protective hairstyles.

All in all the event was a good learning experience and I would suggest that more people check out BLMNL’s future events. You can sign up for events, or stay tuned, on their Instagram page bio (@black_lives_matternl).