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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Al," and I have been married 18 years. We have a 12-year-old daughter. Last year we bought a wonderful old home that has an apartment in back over the detached two-car garage.

For the past year, we've rented the apartment to a 20-something couple who are the son and daughter-in-law of a good friend of ours. These renters have no children. The young wife likes to chitchat with my husband every time she sees him, and she's usually braless and in skimpy tank tops. (She has an ample bosom.)

Yesterday, when Al was sitting on the stairs that lead to the apartment, this gal bent over at face level and tied her sneaker while flashing him! Of course my husband got an eyeful -- how could he not?

I was hanging laundry nearby and witnessed the whole thing. I didn't say anything at the time, but I ache inside now. Abby, I'm not bad-looking, but I'm in my late 40s and feeling threatened by this young "babe."

How should I address this? Should I raise the rent? Go on strike? Above all, I don't want our daughter to witness the stress and jealousy that's eating at me. Can you help me resolve this? -- FAITHFUL WIFE IN NEW YORK STATE

DEAR FAITHFUL WIFE: The young woman is a poor role model for your daughter. Tell your husband you think the young woman is being intentionally provocative and that you're no longer comfortable with her living there. Inform the tenants it's time they started looking for other quarters. If your husband resists, then I urge you both to talk it out with a marriage counselor, because there's no reason why you should be uncomfortable in your own home.

DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Judy in Tucson," regarding control freaks who insist their weddings be picture-perfect, I have to tell you what happened to me when I was 18.

My best friend, "Carrie," was being married and asked me to be her maid of honor. However, she told me I was too fat and I would have to lose weight before the wedding because she didn't want me to ruin her wedding pictures. I went on a strict diet and lost weight, but that was not enough for Carrie. She replaced me with a thinner girl, but told me I was welcome to attend the ceremony. I was very hurt.

My parents loved Carrie and told me I was being overly sensitive. They were unable to attend her wedding, but gave me a card with cash to give to the bride and groom. My boyfriend thought the way I had been treated was terrible and suggested we ditch the wedding -- and we did. We took Mom's gift and had a wonderful evening out on the town.

My mother still mentions the fact she never received a thank-you note from Carrie. Maybe someday I will tell her the truth -- but I'm still not sorry for what we did. -- TELLING THE TRUTH IN DULUTH

P.S. I recently ran into Carrie at the mall. Poor thing, she's put on quite a few pounds. (I have lost 100 pounds -- and look great!)

DEAR TELLING THE TRUTH: I don't condone what you did, but your motive was understandable. Carrie's priorities were misplaced, but it's wrong for you to continue to allow your mother to think your former friend failed to acknowledge her generous gift.

You're older and wiser now -- not to mention thinner -- so 'fess up and face the music.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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