My boyfriend is great, except for the weird facial hair and bad manners.

I have recently been dating a guy who is a wonderful person. He’s funny, cute, nice, kind, courteous, calls when he says he’s going to call, is never late, and it sound cheesy, but he has a beautiful soul. I love spending time with him and I look forward to our dates. However, there are some issues. Namely: his facial hair, his clothes, and his lack of polish in certain situations. I hate to be superficial, but he has some ugly funky thing going on with his chin hair and his sideburns, and he alternates between looking dirty and disheveled or like a little boy dressed up in his dad’s clothes. Do I keep dating him and try to change those things? Do you think I could gradually grow to accept them? Or do I break up with him and try to find someone who has a beautiful soul and doesn’t look like he’s auditioning for a production of “Rent?”

If it were just the facial hair and the clothes, I would say go ahead and date him. Not that I would ever do something like this, but what you could do is throw away one article of clothing per week, replace it innocently with a non-homeless-looking item that you’ve selected, and before you know it, the guy’s got a whole new look before he knows what hit him. The beard, well, you’re just going to have to give it to him straight. May I suggest, “That beard looks like a small, mangy, flea-ridden animal that’s sleeping on your face and I won’t touch you again until you remove it.” (And before you guys get all hot and bothered about this, I just want you to think about how you looked and smelled before you met your wife or girlfriend, and then think about how you looked and smelled after you got together. I’m 100% sure none of you are worse off at this point.)

What gives me pause is the part about the lack of polish. Are you talking about the occasional passing of gas while you’re watching a football game on the couch, or is it more like ball-scratching and loogie-hocking at a cocktail party in an art gallery? You’re the only one who can decide what your standards for behavior are, and how important they are to you. I’ve met plenty of dick-burgers who can charm the pants off a nun, so polish has limited weight for me. I’m inclined to suggest that you have an honest, loving talk with him about his unattractive habit of swiping his finger through the cocktail sauce on the hors d’oeuvre tray; if it’s too much to bear, though, then do the guy a favor and break up with him. He shouldn’t have to suffer through a relationship with someone who is too embarrassed to accept him the way he is.

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