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Ask E. Jean for DearSugar: How Can I Make him Stop Picking???

Dear E. Jean--
My boyfriend is wonderful, nurturing, fun, and we have common interests which makes everything easy. The problem is (and I’m sorry to be so ill bred as to bring it up) he’s a chronic nose-picker. I’m serious! In bed, while driving, at the club in the middle of conversation, he picks and then flicks. (Again, sorry to be so graphic but I have to explain how bad it is.) I’ve tried offering him a tissue, but he ignores me. The other day his nephew commented on how nasty it was and he’s like ten! I know this is minor on the scale of Men Issues, but it’s such a turn-off! Help! -- UGH!!

To see E. Jean's answer


Congratulations. In shallow, superficial, impression-conscious, status-crazed America, you’ve found the last lamezoid who possesses not a single shred of self-presentation. I’m afraid your elegant “offer” of a tissue is too High Style for the lad. Simply say, “Darling, you look like a moron and it’s not sexy.”

Then, if he does not cease, supply yourself with a stack of Brooks Brothers’ white cotton handkerchiefs (seven for $15). The buggers are a glorious foot-and-a-half square. Then every time the lad even thinks of investigating a nostril, flash-out a handkerchief and flick him in the nose with it. (It works just like a towel, roll the hanky on the diagonal -- prepare one or two ahead of time⎯⎯ and flick.) If you wish to also shout: “Sir! How dare you mine for gold in my presence?” I believe that will do the trick.

To see more advice from E. Jean visit Elle Magazine and

Join The Conversation
dragonbaby dragonbaby 9 years
Oh my!!! One thing to do so in privacy. Totally another if he's out in public mining for gold. I think it is something you have to address with him. Tell him how much it grosses you out. From the sound of it, he's doing it out of habit so he needs to break the habit. I like E.Jean's suggestion about the hankies. Hope you are a good enough shot that you get his nose and not his eyes. :D
sherbaby sherbaby 9 years
Unfortunately, I have this same problem with my husband...I started gagging everytime he went for the nose. That helped immediately.
missmaddie missmaddie 9 years
Alternate advice: tell him every time he picks his nose you're going to flash everyone. Chances are, he'd rather suffer a booger than see your beautiful boobies admired by the public!
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
This would definitely be a deal breaker for me. I don't care how many Brooks Brothers handkerchiefs I have..I couldn't and wouldn't put up with this behavior.
Mickey-tee Mickey-tee 10 years
aww thats horrable
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I agree. I think 10 year olds are too mature to pick their noses to the degree he is doing. I think you need to come out and state "What you are doing is utter disgusting and I don't appreciate you doing it front of me."
Fashion Fashion 10 years
Eeeewwwww. Love the hankie idea - so old school Cary Grant. xo
rubialala rubialala 10 years
:ROTFL: I love your answer E. Jean!
smp7328 smp7328 10 years
This is freakin' hilarious! And SOOOOOO Gross!!!!! I love E. Jean's suggestions!
iwillkeepdreamin iwillkeepdreamin 10 years
oh my gosh, i would dump him in a second.
missro21 missro21 10 years
That is soooo nasty. I could see if he was a burper and couldn't help it. But he is purposely picking his nose like some type of nervous tick. The thought of him touching me with those hands would be enough to give him the boot for me. Good luck.
books-and-shoes books-and-shoes 10 years
"No nookie when you pick a boogie!" OMG! This whole thing is cracking me up here!!!
CatarinaBella521 CatarinaBella521 10 years
:rotfl: go E jean I agree 100%
nicachica nicachica 10 years
haha...didn't Charlotte date a crotch-adjuster in SATC??? yeah, that was a non-negotiable!
jillybean72 jillybean72 10 years
You need to seriously tell him how much it bothers you. That you want everyone to think the best of him because you are proud of him. Tell him when he does this in front of everyone that they are wondering how you can stand it. He needs to excuse himself if he needs to do this. Let alone the bacteria on his fingers is another issue in itself. Does he fart and belch in public too........
rlveronica rlveronica 10 years
Love it. :)
redmed redmed 10 years
Trixie, I feel for you. What is with guys adjusting themselves? My boyfriend does that ALL the time. People think he has a rash or something. I did call him on it, and he seemed to get better about it. But, I think it is something they do without even thinking!
Trixie6 Trixie6 10 years
I feel your pain. I dated a guy who constantly adjusted himself. While not as gross a picking & flicking, still gross just the same. I'm with those who think you need to embarass him. It might be an unconscious habit & the only way to get him to break it is to call serious attention to it. Good luck.
HistoryGeek913 HistoryGeek913 10 years
I love the hanky advice - perfect. But seriously, though - I feel so sorry for you!
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
:rotfl: Great advice!!!
blingbling blingbling 10 years
Seriously, I would dump a guy over this. I don't care how wonderful he is. That is absolutely disgusting. (Just READING this is making my nose itch. hmmmm...)
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 10 years
:rotfl: Oh, I love this one! "How DARE you mine for gold in my prescence?" LOL!!! Seriously though...if I EVER found my husband doing something like that, just...UGH!!!! I agree with cgmaetc...embarass the man. How can he NOT know how gross that is???? HOW?!
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Obviously no one ever called him on this mess. Who is this guy's mother? Anyway, I would embarrass him in public. Next time some important people are around (like his boss), yell, "Are you PICKING YOUR NOSE!?!?! That's SOOOO gross!" It might be even more effective during a quiet moment in a darkened movie theater. Running away from him screaming bloody murder might help too. And if he is picking in bed, for heaven's sake, STOP sleeping with him! There have to be consequences for his actions. Tell him "No nookie when you pick a boogie!"
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