DEAR ABBY: I am 15 and I have two questions.
I was shopping with my friend "Crystal," and we saw some guys we know. They're a year or two younger, so I thought they were just being stupid kids when they not-so-subtly tried to get me to flash them.
I'm ashamed to say I played along and lifted my top a little and unintentionally gave them a glimpse of my bra. They kept pestering me for more. It was just annoying until one of them reached for my top and tried to pull it down twice. Then one of them said to grab my arms and hold me down, which two of them did, while another one held Crystal back. They nearly succeeded in removing my top and bra, and more than one of them got a hand down my bra.
Was I at fault for this incident because I encouraged them? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill, or is this kind of thing no big deal? -- HUMILIATED IN SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF.
DEAR HUMILIATED: The answers to your questions are yes and no. Children who play with fire run the risk of being seriously burned. And girls who engage in sexual teasing run a similar risk. That's the lesson you should have learned from this embarrassing and, I'm sure, frightening incident. When you lifted your top, you sent a signal to the boys that you were willing to "play" -- and things got out of hand.
However, whether or not it was intended as horseplay, the boys went too far. Because of that, you should inform your mother and/or dad so they can discuss it with the parents of the boys involved. An authority figure -- preferably a parent -- needs to talk to those boys about the definition of sexual assault and battery, because that's what occurred. Unless they are warned, it will happen again. And next time, the police could be involved.
DEAR ABBY: Every year you discuss practical gifts for senior citizens. When my late second cousin, "Pat," turned 94, she was having serious problems with her vision. She loved corresponding with friends, but could no longer write in a straight line, so her envelopes could not be read correctly by the post office.
I asked a friend if she would create some stationery that my cousin could use; she removed the thread from her sewing machine, and on the back of each sheet of paper "stitched" parallel lines about 1/2 inch apart. I asked her to do the same with the envelopes, but to make only four lines where the address would go.
Cousin Pat loved her beautiful -- and useful -- stationery. Her friends were able to read her handwriting, and so could the U.S. Postal Service. It's easy to write in a straight line when your fingers can feel the tiny "bumps" that the needle makes.
I'm a retired former Braille teacher, and machine-stitching is one of the techniques I would use to make geometry drawings for blind students. (I wonder if banks would permit this on personal checks?)
I hope this idea will help more people with fading eyesight to keep in touch. -- NORMA L. SCHECTER, HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIF.
DEAR NORMA: Your idea is innovative, inexpensive and terrific. I hope that readers who use it will be sure to include stamps with the stationery.
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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