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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am part of a group of people who read our local newspaper online and comment on the news of the day in the public forums provided. It's great fun and offers an excellent place to interact with others.

Some of us have become close, exchanging e-mails and chat messages. One of the women has suggested we all get together at a local watering hole and meet each other, and the gang has agreed.

I would love to join in, but the problem is that the persona I built online is that of a hunky, handsome young man -- including a pilfered photo I posted as "me" on my profile. Needless to say, he is NOT me. I am a 54-year-old, chubby, graying man who wears glasses.

I would love to meet these people, but I'm embarrassed about the lies I have told them. Some of the women have flirted with me, thinking I am this sexy guy. How can I fix this so we can all be friends? I am afraid they'll be angry at my ruse. -- ABS OF SPONGE

DEAR ABS OF SPONGE: Keep your sense of humor, wear a name tag that reads "Guess Who?" and when they ask who you are, remind them people shouldn't believe everything they read. You are by far not the only person to "fudge" by a few years -- or a few pounds -- in describing oneself. In fact, you may be surprised to discover that you weren't the only creative writer in the group.

P.S. Your true identity may be the most interesting "news flash" at the gathering.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I plan to be married this spring. We have been engaged for 18 months, and he is a wonderful person. We are recent college graduates with good jobs and plan to continue working.

I recently inherited a large sum of money from my aunt, and my parents have recommended that I have a prenuptial agreement to protect my assets. My fiance has no substantial assets.

Abby, you have always stated that trust is one of the most important things in a relationship. Would it show a lack of trust if I ask for a prenup? When do you recommend one? -- TRUSTING IN ALABAMA

DEAR TRUSTING: I recommend a prenuptial agreement when there is a discrepancy in the amount of assets each partner is bringing to the marriage. Because you have doubts about having one, you should discuss the matter with an attorney. To ask your fiance to sign a prenup is not an indication that you don't trust him. On the contrary, his reluctance to sign one could be regarded as a lack of trust in you.

However, before the document is signed, it must be reviewed by an independent attorney (not yours) to ensure that your fiance's interests are also protected.

DEAR ABBY: One of my teachers at school wears jeans and a T-shirt every day. None of the other teachers dresses so casually.

I mentioned it to my mom, and we both think it is unprofessional. Do you agree? If so, should we say something to the principal -- although I would imagine he already knows? -- TAKEN ABACK, CHEYENNE, WYO.

DEAR TAKEN ABACK: I do agree. And I am surprised that there isn't some kind of written dress code for the staff at your school. But allow me to offer a suggestion. Instead of your bringing this to the attention of the principal, the message might be better received if it was delivered by your mother.

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.)