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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and a little confused. I go to a school where "flirting" involves touching. Even when the girls say stop, the boys don't.

One guy has grabbed me several times. I like him, but I'm afraid he's going to do worse things to me. Please help me. I feel weird talking about this to anyone. But I need to know what flirting really means. -- EMBARRASSED IN CAMDEN, ARK.

DEAR EMBARRASSED: Flirting is letting someone that you're interested in know it. It can be a smile, a greeting, a lingering glance, or a touch on the hand, the arm or the shoulder. It does not involve grabbing or overtly sexual touching.

I'm sorry you feel uncomfortable discussing it. Someone should tell the school administration about what's happening so the difference between flirting and sexual harassment can be explained to the entire student body before things get "out of hand."

DEAR ABBY: As the owner of a tanning salon, I feel compelled to reply to the wife who said her husband's visit to a tanning salon was a sign of cheating.

The other clues you listed were more relevant. At our salon, only about 15 percent of our customers are male. Most clients tan for the good look a tan gives, or in preparation for a beach or cruise vacation -- or even just for the relaxation. -- BRETT RICH, MARYVILLE, TENN.

DEAR BRETT: No one meant to "dis" an entire industry or imply that the fact someone visits a tanning salon is conclusive proof that he or she is cheating. When someone is cheating, the warning signs usually appear in multiples -- and that is where the checklist comes in handy.

P.S. The first "warning sign" is usually a person's intuition that something is wrong. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Your list of 29 things to look for if you suspect your partner of cheating was incomplete. You forgot No. 30, the final one: "If your partner tries to hide the list from you." -- ED IN LAKELAND, FLA.

DEAR ED: Ah, yes ... it's a truism that people who are secretive usually have a lot to hide.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are having a disagreement about something and would like you to settle it. When I'm home alone, he sneaks into the house and tiptoes up behind me. He has even done it while I'm in the shower, suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

When I tell him this frightens me, he says I am overly nervous. I say it's not a matter of being nervous. I was raised to be courteous and announce my presence. I think my husband's behavior is selfish, rude, and shows a lack of manners. Who is right? -- KRISTA IN JACKSONVILLE

DEAR KRISTA: You are. His behavior is also childish and a touch sadistic.

P.S. Lock the bathroom door when you take a shower, and hang a string of little bells or chimes on the front and back doors of your house. That should solve the problem.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600