Dear Amy: Because of salons being closed during the pandemic, I was able to see the true color of my hair for the first time in decades. I love my natural salt-and-pepper hair color and decided to grow out my hair. I’m very happy with my choice of not putting itchy chemicals on my head and saving time and money at the salons.


I joined with (online) groups with women who are also going through this transformation. Ninety-eight percent of the women look better in their real hair color, versus their dyed hair.


Luckily for me, my mate, family, and friends are supportive. Unfortunately, the women in these groups and I have all received negative comments from the people in our lives, and even from strangers. People tell us: "You’re going to look old; you’re letting yourself go; I’ll pay for you to have your hair dyed; no man will ever date you; nobody will hire you..." and so forth.


I would never think to criticize someone’s appearance. I keep those opinions to myself. Don’t people realize how hurtful these comments are? Do they really think their negative comments are helpful? Why can’t women be silver foxes like men are? — My Hair, My Choice


Dear My Hair: Yes, women CAN be silver foxes — and silver hair is definitely chic.


When it comes to unsolicited comments about your looks, you have a legitimate beef. However, understand that when you join an online group whose sole focus is to commiserate about hair color, you’re going to spend a certain amount of time discussing how people look.


You yourself have chosen to declare that "98% of women look better in their real hair color," which is a subjective and superficial value judgment. Aren’t you now harshly judging people who choose to dye their hair? (Full disclosure: I’ve been dyeing my own hair — at home — for over 20 years.)


I’m going to take a stab at guessing that many of these negative comments are coming from other women. In a perfect world, we would all be free to make choices about our bodies and clothing without running the gauntlet of unsolicited comments, but we make these choices to please ourselves (and often, others). And people in general are social, communal budinskis.


You need only to decide how to respond. To a stranger: "Umm, do I know you? Why are you sharing your opinion with me?" To a friend/family member: "I think I look great, and honestly, that’s all that matters to me."


Dear Amy: My husband and I believe that we have lost a friend of 30-plus years because of differing opinions about safety in this pandemic.


We had been invited to a surprise birthday party for "Barb" at a local restaurant, and before sending my RSVP, I checked with the venue to see how many people might be there, and whether it would be inside or outside. Answer: "50 people, inside."


Nope, not me. We are both over 73 and I have multiple health issues. I need to know that there is an effective vaccine, or at least be assured that the medical community has learned much more about treating the illness successfully. We have not eaten inside a restaurant since mid-March.


To double-check, I asked Barb’s sister, who was organizing the surprise party, and if there is any chance that they might switch to an outdoor venue. Barb has her own health issues, and I wondered if a crowded indoor party would be her preference.


A week after the party, I heard from another friend that Barb was not speaking to me anymore. Barb texted me one word: "Goodbye."


I’m not sure what comes next. Any ideas? — Befuddled


Dear Befuddled: I sincerely hope that "Barb" didn’t send her cryptic text because she became ill with this disease that has taken so many lives.


As of this writing, a "spreader event" — a wedding in Maine — has infected 147 people with COVID. Three people have died. This wedding was held indoors, with 65 guests.


You made the right choice.


You should respond to Barb: "Your message is very cryptic. Why are you saying ‘Goodbye?’ "


Dear Amy: "Blindsided" wrote about her relationship with a (retired) gentleman who always made her travel several hours to visit him, even though he was retired, and she was still working.


I hope she runs, Amy. Thank you for telling her that she deserves better. — Been There


Dear Been There: When she really believes in her own worth, "Blindsided" will exit.