Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

DEAR ABBY: Regarding "Stressed-Out Driver," whose boyfriend wants her to drive him to and from the airport -- you blew it! That boyfriend -- and you -- are out of touch with current reality. No one in his right mind would permit, much less encourage, his girlfriend to travel alone by car, cab, bus or subway during the hours of darkness as a "romantic gesture." It could result in her suffering severe mental or physical injury as a result of a car-jacking, assault, rape or kidnapping.

Please reverse your stance and caution all women to limit their exposure to violent criminals by avoiding unnecessary nighttime travel, particularly while they are alone.

Personally, I think she'd be better off finding a boyfriend who is more concerned with her personal safety. -- JACK B., COL., U.S. ARMY, RET.

DEAR JACK: Although other readers disagreed with my reply, I think you may have overstated your case. If your thesis is that all women must remain inside after dark due to threat of car-jacking, assault, rape or kidnapping, allow me to point out that those crimes also happen during daylight hours. Would the solution be that women not be allowed out without permission from, and escorted by, a male relative? (Just kidding.) Read on:

DEAR ABBY: The woman who wrote you is an example of modern women today. They expect everything but aren't willing to put forth any effort, sacrifice, or give back to their partner. She should be ashamed of her attitude. I hope her boyfriend recognizes her letter and dumps her, because this is just the tip of the iceberg! -- TONY IN TAMPA, FLA.

DEAR ABBY: I disagree with your answer to the woman who doesn't like to drive at night, yet her boyfriend wants her to meet him at the airport after a business trip. He should use a car service and charge it as a business expense. Why should she subsidize his business travel?

What he calls a romantic gesture sounds more like a gesture of control to me. If he hired a car service, they could both enjoy the ride, giving each other their full attention, without having to watch the road. -- ARTHUR IN OSSINING, N.Y.

DEAR ABBY: What's romantic about dragging yourself out of bed at midnight to make a stressful trip to the airport? Alert cab drivers get paid to do that. I think his attitude is controlling and selfish. Pampered men don't make good husbands. She should get rid of him, or she'll be cutting the grass every week for the rest of her life. -- FRED IN ROUND ROCK, TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: My story is a little different from "Stressed Out's," but it applies. I live near a beautiful trail in California. If you take the path to the left, it takes about an hour and a half to walk, and it is beautiful and peaceful. My husband always wanted me to walk that way. On the occasions when I agreed to walk, I'd insist we go the opposite way, which took only 45 minutes and wasn't nearly as pretty. I had too much to do and not enough time to do it, considering the kids, the errands, the house, etc.

Now I walk that trail the long way almost every day, but I'm doing it alone. My husband died two years ago. Now I ask myself what was so important I couldn't take the extra 45 minutes to go the longer and more beautiful way with him. It's the little things I miss the most, Abby. Life is so short, and there are no guarantees. -- ALONE NOW IN CALIFORNIA

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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

More like Dear Abby