DEAR ABBY: I am 34 and divorced for three years. I met a very nice man I'll call Jim at my boss's Christmas party. We hit it off very well (at least I thought we did). He is about 20 years older than I and in the process of getting a divorce. Also, he is a friend of my boss. They play racquetball every week.
At the party, he told me I was "too young." I felt I met a nice person to be friends with, and the age difference doesn't bother me. I have been through a six-year relationship, live on my own and pay my own bills.
It's been two weeks, and I would like to know how I can see him without jeopardizing my job or a friendship. He didn't ask for my phone number, but he knows where I work. Should I sit back and wait, or should I call him? I don't want to embarrass him or myself, but I don't see why a younger woman can't date an older man. I will abide by your advice. -- INTERESTED IN ILLINOIS
DEAR INTERESTED: I advise you to wait. Age is not the only factor. You are an independent woman of the '90s who can ask a man for a date. However, for you to aggressively pursue your boss's still-married friend could be misinterpreted, and you could be hurt, both emotionally and in your career.
DEAR ABBY: Regarding Allen Bouchard's letter on the importance of discarding outdated medications, it is important to realize that while most medications, such as nitroglycerin, lose potency with age, some actually can become toxic.
Tetracycline is an old antibiotic, but it is still commonly used for acne, respiratory infections and the like. Outdated tetracycline can cause permanent kidney damage.
So, please check the dates, discard old medications, and keep all medications out of the reach of children. -- PATRICK A. MAUER, M.D., LOS ANGELES
DEAR DR. MAUER: Thank you for taking time from your busy day to alert my readers that some outdated prescriptions can become toxic. I would warn readers who are discarding old medications to carefully dispose of them so they're out of the reach of children and pets.
DEAR ABBY: Of all the phrases and terms we use, the one that offends me the most is "illegitimate child." I guess I'll go to my grave wondering what a newborn child does to become illegitimate. What horrendous crime did he or she commit? How did he or she sin beyond all redemption to become forever illegitimate?
If there's a stigma to be attached to a child born out of wedlock, let's put it where it belongs -- on the parents.
Put the word out, Abby, there is no such thing as an illegitimate child. There are only illegitimate parents. -- GENE IN OLYMPIA, WASH.
DEAR GENE: The term "illegitimate" originates from the old English laws of inheritance. A legitimate child -- one born within the bonds of wedlock -- could inherit his father's property. An illegitimate child could not.
You are correct that it's not the child's fault that his or her parents didn't marry. Rather, it's the sins of emission and omission on the part of the parents.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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