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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Here's one for which I would appreciate a solution. The guys at the office didn't have an answer.

I was at a very crowded shopping mall and needed to use the rest room as I was leaving. The men's room and the ladies' room were side by side. The ladies' room had a line outside it, while the men's room had no waiting line.

As I approached the men's room, the women started to grumble loudly about having to wait and split up into lines outside both rest rooms. This effectively restricted my access to the men's room, so I departed the mall and drove to the nearest gas station to use the rest room there.

What should a male's proper course of action be in a situation like this? -- LEGS CROSSED IN NEWARK

DEAR LEGS CROSSED: I think your course of action was intelligent. But on my way out, I would have reported it to mall security.

DEAR ABBY: Why would a bright, pretty 23-year-old allow herself to be emotionally abused by her husband?

Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, St. Valentine's Day, etc. come and go without so much as a card or any kind of acknowledgment. They have had many fights over this -- and my daughter has told him how hurt she is. He is always "sorry" and has some kind of excuse, but this happens over and over again.

It hurts me to see how upset she gets, but as a parent, what should I do? -- UPSET MOTHER DOWN SOUTH

DEAR MOTHER: Do not offer any "solutions" or advice. It's nice to be remembered on special occasions, but how does he treat your daughter every other day in the year?

DEAR ABBY: The story of the Spanish speakers who assumed two blond Anglos wouldn't understand their rude comments reminds me of two incidents.

A blond man my husband works with had learned Hmong while serving in Vietnam. One day he was on the Paris subway while two girls were speaking Hmong to each other, harshly criticizing fellow passengers. The man waited until a break in their conversation, then gave them an equally bold critique -- in fluent Hmong. They were so stunned, they missed their stop.

Then there was the deaf woman I often waited on in a fabric shop where I worked. She liked for me to help her since I would sign "Hi" (the only word I knew in sign language), speak clearly while facing her, and take the time to puzzle out her speech. One day she told me that two women shopping nearby were planning to steal quite a few very expensive buttons by tucking them into the folds of the fabric they were buying. Sure enough, the manager stopped the women outside the store and the buttons were in the fabric. How did my customer know? She had read their lips! -- CORYN WEIGLE, ALEXANDRIA, VA.

DEAR READERS: Today we celebrate the 265th birthday of George Washington, the father of our country: Happy Birthday, George!

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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