DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-year-old single man with a good career, even though I never finished college. I have no children and own my own home.
From time to time I have considered joining the military, and I am close to making a decision.
The service could provide me with technical skills, plus I could finish my education without having to take out a hefty loan. Overall, the experience sounds appealing. However, the truth is, I'm scared about what's going on in the world. Even so, I'd still be willing to serve.
My family and friends hate the idea. They think I've lost my mind, and say it's the worst thing I could do with my life right now. I am really stuck. The recruiter is pressuring me to decide "now or never," and my family and friends say I'll be making a mistake that could kill me or make me miserable for the next four years.
Please help me to decide, Abby. My mother always said you spoke the truth and gave good advice. -- NOT IN BOOT CAMP YET
DEAR NOT IN BOOT CAMP YET: There are no easy answers to your question. This isn't something anyone else can answer for you. Yes, there ARE risks. There are also rewards. I urge you to investigate thoroughly before you sign anything and do not allow yourself to be pressured.
DEAR ABBY: I think I am being discriminated against at my school because I'm 16, a sophomore, unmarried and pregnant.
Because of my pregnancy, I'm getting into trouble because I'm missing school days to go to my doctor's appointments. The teachers think I won't be able to participate in school once my baby is born. I've already told them I'm not dropping out, nor am I marrying the father yet. But they can't seem to get it through their heads.
The teachers are sending letters to my mother telling her how many days I've missed. I've only been absent five this semester. I'm tired of it. My mom's tired of it. And so is my boyfriend. I'm scared to go to school because I'm afraid they are going to say something negative to me and I'm going to get angry and say something I'll regret -- and they'll kick me out. Please help. -- D.B. IN OHIO
DEAR D.B.: It's going to take a joint effort on the part of you and your mother. Demonstrate that you CAN keep up with your schoolwork and maintain an acceptable grade point average during your pregnancy. Schedule doctor's appointments after school hours whenever possible.
Your mother must make clear to the faculty and administration that she expects them to give you the education to which you are entitled. She might also investigate the possibility of special programs for pregnant students, which are available in many school districts.
DEAR ABBY: Last summer, my boyfriend and I attended the out-of-town wedding of a good friend. When I danced with the groom, he began running his hands all over me! I was shocked and tried to pull away. My boyfriend saw everything.
Since my return home, the groom has been sending me inappropriate e-mails. I keep e-mailing him back telling him to stop or I will tell his bride. I do not want to lose her friendship, but she should know what he is doing. What would you do? -- FELT UP IN PHILLY
DEAR FELT: Since he has not heeded your warning, forward the e-mails -- all of them -- to his wife.
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 $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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