DEAR ABBY: I am a teen-age girl, and there is this guy at my school. He asked me out on a date. I don't know what to say. I really want to go, but I'm afraid that my friends and others will make fun of us because he's a year younger than me.
And there is one more problem: He is my best friend's brother. I'm not sure -- but I "kinda know" -- how she's going to take it. But what should I do about my friends? I know my best friend is going to take it well, but I don't know how my other friends are going to take it.
So what should I do? Signed ... ONE OF YOUR FANS (MANDY)
P.S. I read your column every time it's in the paper.
DEAR MANDY: You must decide what's more important to you, pleasing yourself or pleasing your other friends. If the choice were mine and I was teased because I went out with someone a year younger, I would reply, "Well, I LIKE him, and I think he's very cute." There are times you have to stand up for what you believe in.
DEAR ABBY: After five years of marriage, I find myself in the middle of divorce proceedings. I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that my wife left me for a co-worker. Luckily there are no children involved, so other than the emotional pain, the process is primarily financial at this point.
As part of the proposed settlement, I am responsible for returning the personal effects she left behind when she abandoned our home. Most items are easy to deal with, such as clothing, shoes, etc. However, other things are causing a dilemma for me. These are the items that have a connection with our marriage. In particular, I'm troubled by what to do with our wedding album.
In one sense it represents a part of my life and my family history, even though it's been painful. On the other hand, the album is a reminder of the failure of our marriage and the promises that we made to each other. Its financial value is virtually nil, and she has not explicitly requested its return. I want to do the right thing, but not at the expense of my own well-being.
Abby, can you please offer your thoughts on how to deal with this while still remaining a gentleman? -- FEELING TORN IN PITTSBURGH
DEAR FEELING TORN: With pleasure. If you want the album, keep it. Your (almost) former wife can order copies from the photographer who took the pictures.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law baby-sits my 2-year-old son once a week. She is a chain-smoker, smoking one cigarette after another while our son is there. When he returns home, he is saturated in smoke, and I have to bathe him immediately and wash his clothes. He has complained twice that his eyes hurt. For obvious reasons, I do not want him around all that smoke.
Unfortunately, in my husband's eyes, his mother can do no wrong. Abby, is there anything I can do? -- HATES TOBACCO IN TENNESSEE
DEAR HATES TOBACCO: Talk to your son's pediatrician and ask him to schedule an appointment that includes your husband.
Secondhand smoke IS dangerous for babies and small children, and your husband should be made aware of the risk that his son is facing at the home of his chain-smoking -- and obviously addicted -- grandmother.
CONFIDENTIAL TO EDWARD JAY: Happy birthday, son. Your father and I are so very proud of you.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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