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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a young woman who, along with my friends, has run into many different men -- and many different styles of dating. We have compared notes, and decided that it's time to share some basic "dating guidelines" for the men out there:

1. Whoever asks (male or female), pays. Whoever pays makes the plans.

2. If you really like a girl and are broke, don't ask her to share costs -- and if she offers money, refuse. If she's worth your emotional investment, she'll be happy going to free concerts, picnics, etc.

3. A guy who asks for money to help with the date before he's asked you to be his girlfriend (usually around three months) is usually just "marking time" and looking for a fling until someone he really likes comes along. And even if you're going steady, don't assume she'll share the expenses from then on.

4. Meet her where it's convenient for her the first few dates, and after that, pick her up from work or her place. Open doors, help her with her coat, etc.

5. Don't whine and sulk if she won't sleep with you right away. It's truly unattractive, and if you're dating her just for sex, and that's obviously not what she's in it for -- be nice, break it off and say goodbye.

6. Call several days ahead to ask, then call to re-confirm the night before.

These are the basics, Abby. If your readers have anything else to add, we're open to suggestions. -- 20-SOMETHING IN L.A.

DEAR 20-SOMETHING: Your contemporary rules for dating may raise a few eyebrows, but they seem sensible to me. Readers? Anything you'd like to add?

DEAR ABBY: In about a month, my sister "Jane" and her husband, "Dick," are going to Hawaii for a vacation. Dick enjoys the nude beaches, but Jane does not -- and she has gotten a lot of verbal abuse about it.

For the entire 32 years of their marriage, Dick has verbally abused my sister because of her weight. Jane has tried every diet known to man, and then some. Her self-esteem is low. He takes every dime he makes, and refuses to allow her to buy clothing when her weight is up. She works in the public sector and feels terrible because she can't dress as well as her co-workers.

During the last conversation I had with her, she said, "Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the vacation, but I just can't go nude. And Dick says he'll cut my bathing suit off me if I refuse. I don't know what to do."

Of course, Dick has never had a weight problem and has always looked like he walked out of GQ.

Abby, could you please offer some suggestions? I know Dick needs counseling, but that is out. -- JANE'S SISTER

DEAR JANE'S SISTER: Dick doesn't need counseling as much as your sister does. Jane needs to understand why she has tolerated for 32 years the kind of treatment you have described, and to become strong enough to demand the kind of respect she deserves from the insensitive man she married. Until she does that, nothing will change.

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