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Withering Glance: Friends don't let friends display nose hairs

  • Article by: Rick Nelson and Claude Peck
  • Star Tribune
  • October 1, 2011 - 5:10 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: Hey, amigo. Loved your restaurant review last week. Oh, and by the way, you still have a tiny bit of spinach from Del Brizzio stuck in your teeth.

RN: You're a true friend. No sarcasm there, truly. I appreciate it when pals pull me aside and, despite any potential awkwardness, rectify embarrassing situations.

CP: Not me. The other day you mentioned that I'd missed a loop with my Paul Smith belt. Then you piled on, adding that I had left a shirt button undone.

RN: But you looked so nice. I would have wanted to know.

CP: My wardrobe-malfunction shame was so acute that I had to go home early. What may a friend safely tell another friend?

RN: You're asking me? I was raised Lutheran, which means that my blanket guide to interpersonal issues is "mind your own business."

 

CP: Is it true that the closer the friend the franker the exchange can be? As in, you can tell your BFF that she has breath of death, while you don't even dare pick lint off the sweater of a more casual acquaintance?

RN: Besties have much greater latitude, yes. Acquaintances and strangers don't have that kind of if-you-love-me-you'd-tell-me responsibility, which explains why I keep my trap shut when, say, the aroma from a gym buddy's workout gear demands immediate contact with some industrial-strength Tide.

CP: I hear you, but a critique from a best bud also can make a guy wonder: How long has he been wanting desperately to give me that "feedback" regarding my cologne?

RN: Probably forever. But we won't go there. And by "we," I mean, passive-aggressive Minnesotans.

CP: Many people would go to their graves before telling even a great friend about his giant BO problem.

RN: I don't care how sixth-grade this makes me sound, I still crack up at the mention of "BO."

CP: I have a longtime friend who refers to me by a nickname that I find ridiculous, even off-putting.

RN: I swear, your mother promised me that you found "Claudette" amusing.

CP: But do I say anything? Nah, letting it slide is no biggie.

RN: That's magnanimous of you. Please vow that you'll be a friend and give me timely earlobe hair alerts, or tell me if I have a hundred yards of Cottonelle stuck to my shoe.

CP: Believe me, I will. But those are easy ones to bring up. It's those baby steps to left or right that can strain a friendship forever.

RN: No kidding. One mention of my proliferation of Dreaded Lower Back Fat, and you're dead to me.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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