DEAR ABBY: Our otherwise responsible 15-year-old daughter, "Marie," is upset with her father and me because we won't allow her to have her belly button pierced. She's a good kid, and we originally told her she could get it pierced if she improved her grades. However, after thinking it over, we changed our minds and told her so.
Marie couldn't believe we'd changed our minds. She worked hard and brought her grades up to A's and B's. Now she is in tears because we won't let her have the piercing.
At what age do you and your readers consider belly button piercing appropriate? -- UPSET IN COLLEGEVILLE, PA.
DEAR UPSET: I see navel piercing as a fad that has gone mainstream. Discuss it with your family physician or a dermatologist to determine what the risks are. Be sure your daughter is present so she is aware of them, too. (As long as the procedure is done hygienically, it shouldn't cause any damage.) And in the future, I advise you to think carefully before making any more promises to your daughter.
DEAR ABBY: I am getting married in August. My best friend, "Judy," is my maid of honor. My problem is she expects me to invite her fiance, "Joe," to the wedding.
While I love Judy dearly, I do not care for her fiance. When they are together, they keep to themselves and barely interact with other people.
I'm afraid if I invite Joe to my wedding, she'll spend most of her time with him. He has never done anything to make me dislike him, but I've never had a good feeling about him since the day I met him. I want to keep my friend happy, but I also want to have the wedding of my dreams. I'm worried if I invite Joe it will put a damper on my day, and if I don't invite him, Judy will be hurt. Is it OK not to invite him? -- BRIDE-TO-BE
DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: No, it's not OK. To exclude your friend's fiance would be selfish and a breach of etiquette. They are officially a couple, and besides, on your wedding day you will be so busy with your guests and your new husband that you won't have time to dwell on the amount of attention you'll be receiving from your maid of honor.
DEAR ABBY: I enjoy the letters you print about acts of kindness. I am a 63-year-old woman with physical disabilities. While walking out of the grocery store, I slipped on some ice and fell. Abby, four people walked right past me without even offering to help. A Muslim family walked by, and the husband put his groceries down and helped me up. He then carried my groceries while his wife and son helped me to my car. After that, they followed my car to my house to make sure I arrived safely. Their son helped me unload the groceries and get them into my kitchen.
In all the chaos, I didn't even get their names. Please, Abby, let them know how grateful I am. So many ugly things have been said about Muslims since Sept. 11. Their kindness and concern reminded me that there are many good people out there, and we should not forget that. -- GRATEFUL IN ST. PAUL
DEAR GRATEFUL: You're right. We shouldn't. Kindness and consideration for others aren't virtues confined by borders, nor are they restricted to one religion. Thank you for pointing it out.
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