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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: We need advice about our 21-year-old son. We are a military family stationed overseas. Our son started college in the United States in June 1994. We give him $400 per month to help with his expenses, plus additional money for emergencies.

He phoned us a few days ago asking for more money for his tuition. No problem. But when we telephoned the school to get an address, we discovered that he is no longer a student! In fact, he dropped out in August 1994, after excessive absenteeism.

He never remembers us on Christmas or holidays, nor does he ever mention the gifts and money we send him. We have found that almost everything he tells us is a lie. When we confront him, he cries and says he's sorry.

We've always tried to support him and his decisions, but I'm getting tired of his behavior. He never finishes anything.

We urged him to go to college after high school, but he joined the Army instead. After one year, he dropped out. We don't know why, and when we asked, we were given an unbelievable story.

My husband and I both work hard, and we're not wealthy. Our other two children are on their own and self-supporting. My husband wants to continue to send this son money. I want to stop, hoping he will grow up.

Abby, we need unbiased advice. -- MILITARY MOM IN ASIA

DEAR MILITARY MOM: Your son sounds like an accomplished "con" man. However, he is an adult now. You do him no favors by continuing to support him and caving in to his lies. Write him a letter telling him what you know about his deception. Send him a final check, and tell him to get a job if he doesn't already have one.

DEAR ABBY: I would like to respond to the many letters I have read in your column from women who complain about how some men treat them.

I dated a woman for quite a while, and from the very moment we met, it was obvious to me that she would not be treated as anything BUT the lady she considered herself to be.

She projected it in many ways: She spoke in a ladylike manner, she walked like a lady and dressed in a very feminine manner -- not to say at all that she was lacking in passion or cool to the touch. Quite the opposite!

I responded in kind, and it was a pleasure to be with her. When we were together, I became the gentleman I wanted to be, and vice versa! Any ladies out there? -- WARREN

DEAR WARREN: MANY ladies out there! They don't always come well-dressed, well-spoken or traditionally "feminine" in manner. I have encountered many plain-spoken, trouser-clad, less-than-graceful women who have great depth, high moral standards and sensitive, caring souls. It is not simply a matter of how she dresses and speaks, but rather it's how she THINKS.

When you treat women with respect, it is usually reciprocated.

DEAR ABBY: I'm responding to your printing the Ten Commandments in your column and the complaints you received: You cannot please all the people all the time.

I would like to add: You did please the most important one -- God himself.

Some of your readers said you left out some words or misquoted the commandments. Abby, it depends on the version from which you quoted. It is not the commandments that differ; it's only the way they are said.


DEAR FAITHFUL READER: Thanks. I needed that.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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