DEAR ABBY: Recently, while making a purchase at a local store and handing the cashier my money, she asked, "How many months along are you?" I was confused for a moment, until I realized she had assumed I was pregnant. (I'm not.) When I told her I wasn't, she just shrugged and said, "Oh."
Abby, my feelings were hurt. I will most likely never see that cashier again -- and I do not know her -- but I would like to know how to respond to this in the future. I don't believe people should assume a woman is pregnant unless they know for sure that she is. What she said made me instantly want to lash out. However, I knew that responding with more rudeness would do no good. So, what should I say if this ever happens again? -- NOT PREGNANT IN ALABAMA
DEAR NOT PREGNANT: You handled the situation appropriately. The cashier was presumptuous. If it happens again, either handle it the way you did with that clerk or say, "Why do you ask?" and let the person squirm. The choice is yours.
DEAR ABBY: I'm an eighth-grader with a good life. I go to a good school, have good friends and a happy family. But at school, there is this boy who follows me around. I tell him to stop, but he keeps doing it. When I tell my friends about it, they laugh and think it's funny. I don't feel like it's a joke. It's creepy.
I have tried to tell adults, but they don't do anything. Recently I dyed the tips of my hair blue, and at lunch he walked up, grabbed my hair and felt it. I feel like it was an invasion of my personal space. Because he won't stop following me around and being creepy, my grades have dropped. I'm distracted in class and nervous. What do you think I should do? -- INVADING MY SPACE
DEAR INVADING: If that boy were younger, I would suggest that he has a crush on you. But by the age of 13 or 14, he should have learned what "no" and "stop" means. I don't blame you for being concerned because the young man is acting like a stalker. Nobody has a right to touch you -- or your hair -- without your permission. You have a right to feel safe.
Do your parents know about this? If you told a teacher about what has been going on and were ignored, tell a counselor or the principal of your "good" school about it.
DEAR ABBY: My 30-year-old son insists that I should help pay for the orthodontia he feels he should have had as a child. He is a grown man now with three children of his own, and I am not sure if I, his dad, should financially help him with this. What do you think? -- BRACING FOR AN ANSWER
DEAR BRACING: I am going to assume that when your son was a minor, you could not afford to get him the orthodontia he needed, which is sad. That said, if you wish to help him now and doing so would not put undue financial pressure on you, go ahead and help him out.
However, if you are being guilted into paying because your financially independent son thinks he is "entitled" to it, then forking over the money would be a mistake.