DEAR ABBY: Last April, you printed my question about whether or not I should go to my junior prom even though I was nervous about boys and being dateless. I took your advice and went with friends.

It turned out to be the right decision. The prom was one of the funnest nights I have ever had. I danced and danced with all my friends, and there were plenty of other girls there without dates. We all just danced together and had a great time.

I realized that I overreacted about the entire boys issue and had worried too much. It turns out I wasn't the only one who felt that way. One of my friends hadn't been sure if she wanted to go either because of not having a date. However, like me, she realized it didn't matter and went anyway -- which is what I am happy about, too.

Teenagers like me shouldn't worry about the cliche that going to the prom requires a date. It doesn't! You can just go and have a good time with your friends without worrying about life for a few hours. It gave me a chance to let go of the stress I had been having and express myself. Thank you for your advice. -- THANKFUL TEEN IN N.Y.

DEAR THANKFUL TEEN: You're welcome. I am often asked whether the people who write to me let me know how my advice worked out. Your letter made my day -- and I hope it will encourage other teens who find themselves with the same dilemma you were facing. Thank you for taking the time to send the update.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband just isn't romantic. When we were dating he'd bring me flowers and little surprises and cards. He never proposed -- we just kind of decided to get married. But when he bought the ring there was no getting down on one knee or profession of love.

It's been more than 26 years, and I thought I'd be over this by now. Unless I beat him over the head about it, he never plans anything or does anything romantic.

We had a mini-vacation a few weeks ago, and I said, "This is supposed to be a romantic vacation." He didn't get the hint. No surprises, no dinner reservations, no flowers. What's a girl to do with a great guy with no romance in his bones? -- WISTFUL IN WILMINGTON

DEAR WISTFUL: Because he's a great guy, love him anyway. Then pick out some lovely gifts for yourself, plan the vacations and make the reservations -- including some romantic dinners. No one has everything, so focus on the positive and count your blessings.

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DEAR ABBY: When my dad passed away four years ago, I was only 13. My mother has raised me by herself and brought up the issue of dating only once after Daddy died. She asked how I felt about her dating again, and I started crying.

Now that a few years have passed, I have changed my mind. I think it's time for her to get out again. The problem is, she still wears her wedding ring. I think she needs to take it off, so she can send a different message to available men. She's attractive, in her mid-50s and deserves to be happy again. How can I help her? -- LOVING DAUGHTER, MANKATO, MINN.

DEAR DAUGHTER: Tell your mom that now you're older, the idea of her finding love again is no longer threatening and you want her to be happy. Suggest that removing her wedding ring would be a step in the right direction -- then be quiet and hear her out. She may be open to dating again -- or she may be happy with her life just the way it is.

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To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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