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My immediate superior, who is male, arrives at the office in clothing that has not been properly pressed or mended. I have subtly suggested improvements, but he says "no one will notice." I've even offered to sew on buttons and fix hems - to no avail. Up until now this does not seem to be affecting his job. What would you advise?

I would advise that you find another focus for your overwhelming desire to mother. He's doing just fine and your helplessly maternal instincts will never change his values. Our dissatisfaction with such people is, I think, a reflection of our own ego: It is not his career you are worried about; it is his rejection of your values. Perhaps it is frustrating to you that he has managed to be successful without the elements you were taught were necessary. But please realize that you and he are separate people - and also that maybe it's time to start thinking about having a baby.

Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy , was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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