Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Man Still Mama's Boy Even After Her Death

DEAR ABBY: I am a 55-year-old woman with a problem I've never seen in your column.

I have been going with this man for six years. He is 43, and he says he can't marry me because he promised his mama before she died three years ago that he wouldn't get married until his daddy got married, as she didn't want his daddy to be left all alone. His daddy hasn't got anybody to marry, and he isn't even looking.

Abby, I am no spring chicken, and I need to know how I can get this man either to let me quit him or marry me. -- NO SPRING CHICKEN IN ADA, OKLA.

DEAR NO: Only a dumb cluck would coop herself up waiting for her boyfriend's daddy to marry. Get another rooster on the roster.

DEAR ABBY: I have been living with Don for two years. I am 22 and he is 25.

I hear girls at the office talking about bringing covered dishes to family gatherings, going to his folks' or hers for dinner, or for the weekend or the holidays, and I get more heartsick every day.

I've begun to realize what marriage is all about. It's really belonging to someone who loves you enough to want to make you a member of his family.

Don is always telling me what a wonderful arrangement we have and how much he loves me.

The past several months, I've been asking myself: "If it's so wonderful and he loves me so much, why do we lie, sneak around and let people assume we are married?"

Why doesn't he ask me to marry him and become a member of his family? They don't even know I exist. -- HEARTSICK

DEAR HEARTSICK: Because he doesn't want a legal commitment. And if he is able to get all the benefits of marriage with none of the responsibilities, who can blame him? I am assuming he didn't kidnap you. You agreed to live with him without marriage. You walked into it of your own free will, and you're free to walk out. Why don't you? I think you're ready.

DEAR ABBY: When I first heard about topless swimsuits for girls, I thought it was just a lot of talk, but yesterday I actually saw one for sale in a store!

If women would consider wearing a topless swimsuit in public, we have reached a new low in our civilization -- even lower than the decadence that preceded the fall of the Roman empire.

Topless swimsuits? Have we lost all sense of decency? Who cares if we are bombed back to the Stone Age? What's left to save? -- MOTHER OF GIRLS

DEAR MOTHER: The bottoms.

Abby's family recipes are included in her cookbooklet. Send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600