DEAR ABBY: I live with two of my best friends. We get along great because we respect each other's personal space and business. My problem is my roommate "Michelle" drinks alone in our apartment. She consumes eight to 12 alcoholic beverages in an evening. She does this once a week, usually during the week. The next morning she'll complain that she's "sick" when she has to get up for work, but I know she's hung over.
Our other roommate spends little time at our place and doesn't want to speak to her about this, even though he agrees she has a problem.
How should I approach Michelle about this? I'm afraid if I say anything she'll think I'm accusing her of being an alcoholic. I want to maintain peace in our home, but I'm worried about her. Any suggestions for how I should handle this? -- FEARFUL IN FAIRBORN, OHIO
DEAR FEARFUL: You are right to be concerned about Michelle. If she isn't an alcoholic, she is well on her way to becoming one. From your description, she is bingeing on a regular basis.
The way to approach her is to tell her you're worried. Eight to 12 drinks in an evening is a huge amount of alcohol. And if she's going to work hung over, it is already having a negative impact on her job.
Offer to attend an AA meeting with Michelle. (They are listed in most telephone directories.) When you get there you'll find pamphlets are available that contain a self-test people can take to determine whether they need help. I know for sure she will have to answer yes to at least one of the questions -- "Do you wish people would stop nagging you about your drinking?" -- because by the time you get there, you will have nagged her.
DEAR ABBY: I have just become engaged to "Egon," who is from Norway. He has a great job and is studying to be a masseur. He tells me often that he loves me and would never fall for another woman.
My problem is my sister "Ellen." She's happy about our engagement, but she keeps asking my fiance for lower back and thigh rubs. She claims she gets cramps from being on her feet all day.
Well, I'm on my feet all day and my thighs have never cramped up. What bothers me is Ellen makes embarrassing sounds of pleasure when Egon massages her. I'm upset with her because she constantly asks my fiance for massages, but I also get annoyed with Egon because -- in a weird way -- it feels like he's cheating on me.
He says it's his job and I'm being silly. What I want to tell my sister is, "Sorry, but those intimate rubdowns belong to me now. Find someone else for yours!" Abby, am I being unduly jealous or is what she's doing wrong? -- RUBBED THE WRONG WAY IN FLORIDA
DEAR RUBBED THE WRONG WAY: If you are going to marry someone who makes his living as a masseur, you need to understand clearly, in advance, that he will be working on all kinds of clients. This means men and women, some old and saggy, and others who are young, buffed and may be drop-dead gorgeous. Your fiance may enjoy his work, but it is work and he will receive compensation for his efforts. If the back and thigh rubs Ellen is requesting have become so frequent that it's making you uncomfortable, I suggest you and Egon agree that he shouldn't be giving away what he's selling, and instead he should offer your sister a "family" discount.
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