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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 12-year-old girl with a big problem. My class recently learned about reproduction. All of the girls accepted it in a mature manner, but it's another story with the boys.

Now all the boys look at me funny when I walk through the hall. It makes me feel awkward. Should I ignore them or should I say something? -- EMBARRASSED IN MICHIGAN

DEAR EMBARRASSED: Right now, I suspect most of your classmates are feeling awkward. A frank discussion about reproduction has been known to make students older than you uncomfortable. It is, however, a part of life -- and contrary to what some may think, ignorance isn't bliss.

Acting the way the boys are is normal for their age. But if it continues, rather than saying anything to them -- which might encourage more of the same -- talk to a teacher about it.

DEAR ABBY: Shortly before I started college, a relative introduced me to "Paul," who would be attending the same school, and told us we were distant cousins. Paul and I became friends. We socialized together often and all our friends knew us as cousins.

It wasn't until after graduation that our parents told us that while we have a relative in common, it is by marriage, and we are not related to each other. Paul and I have a lot in common, and he has expressed an interest in pursuing a relationship with me.

Paul is a great guy, but I'm reluctant to date him because all our friends think we're related. It almost feels like we are doing something wrong. Can you please share your opinion on this situation? -- IT'S ALL RELATIVE

DEAR ALL RELATIVE: There is nothing to stop you and Paul from becoming romantically involved if you're both leaning in that direction. The way to deal with it would be to tell your friends, before you start being seen together, how "amusing" it is that you were led to believe the two of you were related, when it turns out that you aren't. It was all a big mistake. (Ha-ha.)

That should quell most of the gossip you're concerned about. And if you're asked directly, repeat what you told me.

DEAR ABBY: I have been involved with a man, "Seth," for more than two years. We share mutual interests and he makes me laugh. For the most part we're happy, but I have one concern. I have yet to receive flowers from Seth, although he has mentioned many times that he had sent them to his ex while they were together.

Is it wrong for me to expect flowers, or should I just forget the idea and leave it alone? -- WAITING FOR ROSES IN HOUSTON

DEAR WAITING: Not knowing Seth, I can't say whether his unwillingness to send you flowers is because after what happened with his ex he considers them a bad investment or whether he's just cheap. But because the absence of flowers is bothering you, ask him about the omission.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)