DEAR AMY: I'm in a long-term relationship with a man who lives on a farm. He's wonderful, but he has some rough edges, most of which I'm OK with. The one thing I can't accept (and he seems to think it is just silly quibbling) is his dirty hands and fingernails. I understand that a guy who works on a farm is bound to get his hands dirty. My point is that before he eats or goes out in public, he should wash his hands, including getting the grime, grease and God-knows-what out from underneath his nails. I think it's gross when we go out to eat, and I definitely don't want him touching me intimately with those dirty, scraggly nails. Whenever I bring it up, he says that's what happens when you live and work on a farm. He thinks I'm being ridiculous. He says I don't understand what it is like to be a farmer. I admit, breaking up with a perfectly decent, funny, intelligent man over his fingernails seems silly, but it truly grosses me out. Your thoughts?
-- Grossed Out
DEAR GROSSED OUT: I grew up on a farm, and aside from a brief snit over not being named my county's Dairy Princess as a teenager, I have proudly associated with farmers my entire life.
There is no question that farming is a tough and dirty business that leaves residual calluses and tough-to-clean hands and nails.
However, the only farmers I can imagine who would go to dinner grimy are those people who probably would be dirty, no matter what they did for a living.
Nails, however, are tricky (your guy should keep them short). You should try to be more tolerant about this.
The real issue here is his refusal to even try to do something different (is he familiar with Lava soap?). The obvious compromise is for you to not inspect his nails quite so closely and for your funny, kind and decent guy to make an effort to de-grime at the end of a long day.