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by Abigail Van Buren

Girlfriend's Immodest Dress Is Not for Family Viewing

DEAR ABBY: I am a single father with a 14-year-old son. I am not married, but I have a girlfriend.

My problem is my girlfriend likes to run around very scantily clad. I have no problem with this, except she does it in front of my son, or, when he's in the next room she'll run out, naked or half-naked, into the hallway, just barely out of his sight.

I have asked her to stop, but I don't feel I should have to keep asking her that. We are both in our early 30s. She also darts in and out of rooms naked or nearly naked when we are at the homes of relatives. I do not understand why she does this. -- RATTLED IN REDWOOD CITY

DEAR RATTLED: Your girlfriend may have a different standard of modesty than the one with which you were raised, or she could be a bit of an exhibitionist. Your son is a young man now, and whether or not it's intended that way, her nudity could be interpreted by him as seductive.

You should not have to keep reminding her. Tell her once and for all that you don't want your son and your relatives surveying her "assets" -- so in the future, unless you're alone, she MUST keep them covered.

DEAR ABBY: A year ago you were kind enough to publish a letter I wrote dealing with infants who are thrown away, abused or killed by their parent or caretakers. It concerned the news accounts of the death of one such toddler that haunted me. Shortly after, you published a letter written by a nurse who said that for the first time an infant had been abandoned on the grounds of the hospital where she worked. She thought perhaps my letter had prompted that child to be abandoned in a safe place. I hope so.

I would like to thank you for printing my letter, Abby, and share some information that may save more infants who are at risk of being abandoned or abused. Programs exist to help them. The first is the Baby Anthony Program in California, with a statewide, confidential crisis toll-free hotline: (800) 606-BABY (2229). The other is a national 24-hour toll-free hotline called Project Cuddle. That number is (888) 628-3353. I hope you will pass this along to your readers because recently there were two more stories about abandoned babies. One was found alive in a garbage can, another found dead in a field.

The phone numbers are for women and young girls who find themselves pregnant and do not know where to turn for help. They are also for caretakers who feel they must somehow get rid of the child. Some of these women and young girls will never see a doctor or any other health-care professional about their pregnancies.

I still believe there should be a legal and safe location for caretakers to take these infants, and no "manhunt" to add to the feeling of despair that led these people to think the only way for them to cope is to "get rid" of the child.

Thank you again for the opportunity to ease the trauma the original "Baby Girl Doe" created within me. I almost feel as though her message to the public has been received and some lives have been saved because of her. She remains in my mind and heart, but she is no longer heavy, thanks to you. -- DOROTHY MILLER, PITTSBURG, CALIF.

DEAR DOROTHY: I'm pleased to spread the word about the Baby Anthony Program and Project Cuddle, for parents who are overwhelmed and cannot tolerate the responsibilities of parenthood. They provide a sensible alternative to abandonment or child abuse.

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-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600