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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife's Tight Fisted Money Policy Puts Man in a Bind

DEAR ABBY: I am in my 70s, on Social Security and in my second marriage. My wife, "Irene," is in her early 50s and holds a good job. She also holds the purse strings, and allows me $5 a week for coffee with my friends. I drive a little scooter, and Irene has given me a gas credit card so I can get around.

Last week, I told her that I need some underwear and asked her for her store credit card. She said she has a drawer full of nylon panties and that I should wear them instead. She said when they are worn out she will buy me some new men's underwear. She also said she didn't want to waste any money on me since the panties are still wearable.

What if someone finds out? Irene says that since I'm over 70 it doesn't matter. Do you think this is right? -- PREFERS BRIEFS

DEAR PREFERS BRIEFS: No, I do not think it is right. Regardless of your age, your feelings matter a great deal. You should wear underwear in which you feel comfortable without having to worry about anyone "finding out."

Because your wife is so tight-fisted, please consider finding a part-time job so you will have spending money of your own. Your wife may be the wage earner in the family, but that doesn't mean she should be the only one "wearing the pants."

DEAR ABBY: Yesterday I ordered a taco salad and an iced tea at a popular fast food restaurant. I sat down and proceeded to eat when I noticed a couple sitting on one side of a table. Neither of them was skinny. Another couple joined them, and the women began staring at me.

I am 55 years old and 250 pounds. They were over 35 and plus-sized themselves. They may have been thinking my meal was inappropriate because of my size, but they were no different from me. I packed up my food and ate in my car. Was there a better solution? -- SALAD LOVER IN OHIO

DEAR SALAD LOVER: Yes, you should have remained at your table and enjoyed your meal. The people at the next table were in that fast food restaurant for the same reason you were.

Some folks stare because there is a lull in the conversation and they have zoned out. If you were certain they were looking AT you instead of THROUGH you, another way to have handled it would have been to have made eye contact, smiled and said, "Do I know you?"

DEAR ABBY: I helped raise my husband's son, "Scott," from the age of 9 to his present age of 19. I devoted my energy, love, money and time to all his activities, while his own mother sat by and did next to nothing to participate in any of it.

Scott has now become "best friends" with his mom, and I am all but forgotten. The way he treats me now, you would have thought that I'd beaten him with a stick. If I had it to do over again, I would never have stepped into that family situation.

Thank goodness Scott has moved out. His dad and I are having the time of our lives. I hope there is a special place in heaven for good stepmoms, because I have gotten no credit at all. -- IGNORED IN OREGON

DEAR IGNORED: I know you feel hurt and angry right now, but the story isn't over yet. Regardless of how little your husband's ex gave to their son, she is still Scott's mother. You have been a generous and loving friend to that young man, and I am sure your husband loves you all the more for your caring heart.

So enjoy your second honeymoon and realize that Scott still has some growing up to do. This will probably sort itself out. But if it doesn't, you will be able to go forward knowing you did the right thing and so will the man you love.

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-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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