DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old boy with an older brother who attends an out-of-town college. Since he entered college over a year ago, I have tried to convince my parents to let me switch bedrooms with him. Except for summer vacations, my brother rarely comes home, so his huge room is vacant most of the year. Although I am able to make use of his room in his absence, it is not truly mine, and I think it's unfair that I have been relegated to the smaller bedroom.
My parents don't want my brother to feel dispossessed. They want him to know that he is always welcome here and that his things will be exactly the way he left them. I don't want him to feel dispossessed either, but couldn't he feel just as welcome in a smaller bedroom?
Abby, why does the younger brother always get the shaft? Please help me. -- FRUSTRATED IN NEW YORK
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Ask your brother how he feels about his bedroom. Now that he is a college man and has been away from home for a year, he will probably agree to trade his large bedroom for your smaller one. If you can persuade him to tell your parents that he would be comfortable in your bedroom, you'll have it made.
DEAR ABBY: Before we were married, my husband, "Tony," had card parties for his buddies every Tuesday night. The parties lasted until at least midnight, but it didn't matter then because I could go home and get my sleep.
Now that we are newlyweds, this presents a problem for me. I start work early every morning (his hours are later) and I'm exhausted for the remainder of the week.
I've spoken to Tony about this and he's promised to end these parties earlier, but it never seems to happen. I've suggested rotating the parties to the other players' homes, which he did a few times. But now, because we've argued about it so often, he stubbornly refuses to do that. He claims, "This is the way it's always been." What can I do? -- I'VE DEALT MY HAND
DEAR DEALT: Marriage is compromise. Try to accommodate Tony on this issue, bearing in mind it is only one night a week. Buy earplugs and a sleep mask, turn on some soft music in your room and go to bed. You can learn to sleep with a little noise, knowing that your husband is home where he belongs and proud that he has such an understanding wife.
DEAR ABBY: I'm writing because I think you will be pleased that there's a non-native speaker of English who reads your column every day to develop her reading skills.
I've learned many good expressions from the letters and your responses. Your column is also perfect for broadening my understanding of the American people. It's full of ordinary people, unlike the weird types we see on television talk shows.
I subscribe to my paper just for your column, and I read the section it is in before I read anything else.
Abby, I'm grateful that my tutor, Martha, who is also an enthusiastic reader, recommended I read your column to improve my English. -- HIDEKO IN LA CRESCENTA, CALIF.
DEAR HIDEKO: Thank you for your flattering letter. I have heard from other people in various parts of the world who sharpen their English skills by reading my column, but it's always nice to hear from another one.
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