DEAR ABBY: "Allison," the daughter of a longtime friend, is being married in grand fashion this summer. Another friend and I planned to give her a kitchen and tool shower in the spring. The other day, Allison called and told me she didn't think the theme we chose would "net" her the caliber of gifts she wants. Then she had the nerve to tell me to change the theme to a crystal, silver and china shower.
My friend and I are hurt that Allison doesn't consider our party plan to be good enough. We don't want to alienate Allison or her family, but we also think she needs to learn a lesson about being a gracious recipient. The invitations announcing the original theme have already been printed. We would like your objective opinion about what to do. -- MIFFED IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR MIFFED: Inform the bride-to-be that the invitations have already been printed and it's too late to change the theme. This doesn't mean you're throwing cold water on Allison's wish to receive "high-caliber" gifts. It simply means another friend, aunt or cousin will have the honor of hosting an additional shower with a theme of Allison's choosing.
DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of a 9-year-old boy. Are there any specific signs I should look for regarding when he is ready to be told the facts of life? His friends at school told him that kissing is "having sex." I am afraid our son will get the wrong idea, because he sees his father and me kissing several times every day. -- MILWAUKEE MOM
DEAR MOM: The time to talk to your son is now, before he absorbs any more misinformation from his friends. Children are maturing earlier than ever before. Add to that the messages they get -- both spoken and unspoken -- from living in our society, and regrettably, the fantasy of an "innocent childhood" is laughable. Parents should be mindful of this, and start the discussion when the opportunity arises.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Hector," showed up at my office the day before Valentine's Day with a dozen red roses. I was thrilled, because we'd been having major "relationship issues," and he hadn't given me flowers in ages.
When Hector handed me the bouquet, he informed me that he had extracted two roses for the receptionists at the front desk. When I told him he shouldn't have, his answer was, "You should be happy I'm nice to your co-workers -- they're probably envious that you have such a good man." At that point I asked him who he was trying to impress -- them or me?
To make matters worse, Hector then announced that the next day (Valentine's Day) he would be hooking up with a female friend who was in town. He planned to take her, his brother and another female friend out to dinner. I was not included. To add insult to injury, Hector had the nerve to ask me to baby-sit his brother's kids. The out-of-town friend is someone we have both known for years, but every time she visits, my "boyfriend" excludes me. What do you make of all this? Sign me ... DITCHED IN DEL MAR, CALIF.
DEAR DITCHED: Wake up and smell the flowers. Hector likes to impress many ladies and is not ready to make an exclusive commitment to you or anyone. Be grateful you found out now, and move on. Your signature says it all. You have, indeed, been ditched.
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