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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I just finished reading your column, as I do every day in my local paper. I have always found you to give wise, pertinent advice. However, your advice to "Scared in Denver" is way out of line! Never would I suggest to anyone, male or female, to give permission to the other "companion" (for lack of a better word) to "sow his or her wild oats" and then feel welcome to return to that relationship for any reason.

How about if the shoe were on the other foot and the lady in this relationship asked the man if she could sow her wild oats? Personally, I'd tell this young man, "Adios, and don't let the door hit you on your way out!"

I realize that he didn't mention that any sexual activity would be included in this "sowing"; however, it might be something to think about with all the incurable diseases that are out in "the wild oat fields." Please reconsider your advice, Abby. -- MOTHER OF TWO DAUGHTERS IN LAKE PANASOFFKEE, FLA.

DEAR MOTHER: I did NOT give permission to anyone to sow his (or her) wild oats! I said, "If you are seriously considering marriage to a young man who's asking for permission to sow his wild oats, I advise you to postpone the wedding until he is completely done. That way, you won't have to pray for a crop failure."

DEAR ABBY: I was a dental hygienist for 22 years and have been a practicing dentist for three years, so I feel qualified to respond to the hygienist who was disturbed by those who failed to brush their teeth before appointments.

Our job as oral health-care providers is not to judge our patients, but rather to relate to them as individuals and educate and motivate them to achieve better oral health.

Part of the hygienist's or dentist's job is providing proper brushing and flossing instructions. When my patients apologize for not having brushed before an appointment, I respond, "Relax. You're about to get a deluxe brushing," and I proceed to demonstrate proper techniques.

The hygienist who complained is probably burned out with her job and should either re-evaluate why she is a dental hygienist or choose another career. -- MICHELLE LEPAGE, D.D.S., LEE'S SUMMIT, MO.

DEAR DR. LEPAGE: Wise advice -- from the horse's mouth. (No offense, Doctor!)

DEAR ABBY: Although this is too late for St. Valentine's Day, I offer this romantic story:

At a party, I danced with a beautiful Irish girl named Marie. I nuzzled her long black hair, and when the number was over, we discovered that my chewing gum had become stuck in her hair. We had to get scissors to cut it out.

We married a year later and have stuck together for 55 happy years. -- ALBERT BELZER, VERO BEACH, FLA.

DEAR ALBERT: My readers always enjoy a love story with a happy ending. Congratulations to you and your bride for more than half a century of happy marriage.

DEAR ABBY: I read your column in which you advised people to be careful who they speak Spanish in front of because you never know who can understand you.

I would like to add, "Be careful speaking any foreign language because you never know who can understand it."

I have a granddaughter who was raised in Saudi Arabia. She now goes to college in South Carolina and is a food server part-time.

She was serving some people who were speaking Arabic among themselves. One person said, "The vegetables don't look fresh to me." My granddaughter said, "Oh, yes, the vegetables are fresh; I just cut them up this morning!"

Were those people ever surprised! -- IMPRESSED GRANDMA

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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