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

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I just joined a gym, and I love everything about it except for one thing -- the ladies' locker room.

I am modest so I use the private changing rooms when getting dressed. There are some women who feel very comfortable walking around in various stages of undress. Not only are they naked, they don't think twice about bending over to get into their lockers, or standing topless while blow-drying their hair.

In a place full of mirrors, seeing all this is difficult to avoid. I don't want to stop using the locker room because it's convenient. Is there anything I can do, or must I put up with the peep shows? -- MISS MODESTY IN PRINCETON, N.J.

DEAR MISS M.: Women in various stages of nudity are not a "peep show." They are par for the course in women's locker rooms everywhere. And yes, there is something you can do: As you pass through on your way in and out, keep your eyes modestly downcast. That way, at most, you will see only a few naked toes. Or visit the gym during hours when the place is not so busy.

DEAR ABBY: I am stationed in Iraq. My husband is home taking care of our two teenagers -- a 16-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl.

My daughter has had several sleepovers at her friends'. On two separate occasions, the mothers allowed the girls to dye their hair. They did this without first consulting my husband.

Am I old-fashioned, or isn't this something a parent should decide for a 14-year-old? Did the other parents think that it was OK since I wasn't home to disapprove?

My husband is doing an excellent job of parenting while I am deployed, and he would never have allowed her to dye her hair. How should we handle this type of situation? -- MOM ON DUTY IN IRAQ

DEAR MOM: Your husband should have told the adults plainly the first time it happened that he objected to the dye job. Since that didn't happen, please remain calm and remember that it's only hair -- which will grow out. And now that you know the parents of your daughter's friends lack judgment, any sleepovers she attends should be in your home until your return from overseas.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are discussing being married at the courthouse before our actual wedding ceremony -- months in advance. Our reason is he will finish graduate school and needs a place to stay -- or else it's back home.

The second reason is, if we live in separate households, it will create two sets of household bills. Under one roof we can share the expenses and save ourselves an ample amount of money to put toward our actual ceremony and honeymoon.

This is our first marriage and, we hope, our last. We want to make it a memorable one. Does this make sense, and if so, how should we approach our potential guests about our plans to "tie the knot"? -- TO DO OR NOT TO DO IN ALABAMA

DEAR T.D. OR NOT T.D.: The way to handle it is to be open and aboveboard. Let your friends -- and extended family -- know that you plan to be married quietly in a civil ceremony at the courthouse and have a formal renewal of vows, complete with gown, religious blessing, etc. to which they will be invited to share your joy several months later.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds)

to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)