DEAR ABBY: I'm engaged to the man of my dreams. Our wedding is two months away, and I couldn't be more excited about starting my life with "Jeff."
Only one thing bothers me. When the two of us eat alone together, Jeff throws his manners out the window. He kind of eats like a pig. He opens his mouth as wide as it will go and takes as big a bite as he can. Then, as he's chewing (even with his mouth closed) he makes noises. I can't get past the noises!
I know Jeff knows better because he doesn't eat like this when we're out with his parents or having dinner with friends. The first time he did it I thought he was joking. The second time, I thought he was just really hungry. Now I realize this is the way he eats. We have known each other two years, so we have had plenty of time to get acquainted.
How do I tell him his eating behavior gets under my skin? I don't want any children we have to learn these habits. Jeff has a tender heart, and I don't want to hurt his feelings. -- LOOKING ASKANCE IN TEXAS
DEAR LOOKING: You are about two years late in telling your fiance how his eating habits affect you. If you can't discuss something as basic as this, how are you going to discuss the challenging problems that will inevitably arise after the two of you are married?
You said yourself that Jeff knows better. He eats this way in front of you because he thinks you don't mind. So please level with him now -- before the wedding. It won't hurt his feelings; it will set him straight.
DEAR ABBY: I am 13, 5 feet 3, and weigh 90 pounds. I just started high school. My parents think I'm starving myself. They call me "disgusting," "horrifying," and my personal favorite -- "ugly." My brother calls me "Skinny Bones Jones."
I do not starve myself, nor am I anorexic or bulimic. I just happen to get full from small portions rather quickly -- or I may not be hungry at the moment. At night I do some quick exercises and yoga positions so I won't feel bloated from meals. Some of my friends have said they think I have become anorexic.
Because of all this my self-esteem is at an all-time low. I used to weigh more than 100 pounds, but recently I got the stomach flu, which explains my sudden weight loss and fullness. Am I wrong in thinking I'm healthy? Are my family and friends right that I'm anorexic? Please help. -- 90-POUND GIRL IN FULLERTON, CALIF.
DEAR 90-POUND GIRL: When "everyone" starts telling us something we don't want to hear, it may be time to pay attention. One sentence in your letter tells me that you may have an eating disorder -- it's your comment about needing to exercise after eating because you feel bloated.
You should be evaluated by a nurse at school, if there is one, or by a physician to be sure you're getting enough nutrients to remain healthy, that you're not overdoing the exercise, and if there could be a physical problem causing the feeling you're interpreting as "bloat."
Please share what I have said with your parents because it's important. Name-calling and ridicule are not the answer to a problem like the one you may have.