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by Abigail Van Buren

Bare Skin Everywhere Is Hard for Reader to Bear

DEAR ABBY: Over the last year I have noticed cleavage everywhere. It's in the middle and high schools, the teller waiting on me at the bank, the cashier at the supermarket and department stores -- all offering plunging frontal views. I can't believe management allows this, and for the younger women, I can't believe their parents permit it. These females look like they're dressed for a romantic evening, not as employees of reputable businesses or students.

Am I just getting old or has this become acceptable? I would like to stop doing business with these companies, but if I do I'll have no place to shop. What's your opinion? -- CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES, ULSTER PARK, N.Y.

DEAR CAN'T BELIEVE YOUR EYES: Are you just noticing this? It has been happening for years. And I'm not referring only to the amount of cleavage women are showing. Haven't you noticed how much that's showing "south of the border" on females and males?

Many businesses have dress codes -- and if enough customers complain or take their business elsewhere, managers might adhere to them. As to the students -- most schools have dress codes, but whether the rules are enforced is another matter entirely.

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Herb," and I are middle-aged and have been married four years. Herb is a wonderful husband, and we are very happy. I cook, and he usually cleans up -- including washing several dishes and cooking utensils by hand. (He doesn't like to use the dishwasher.)

Abby, this sweet man doesn't get the dishes clean! I'm talking about lipstick on glasses, oil on pans and food left on plates. He doesn't use soap or hot water, either. I rewash everything the next morning after he leaves for work. I'm afraid to say anything because I'm happy Herb makes the effort, and I don't want to ruin the nice gesture. Should I keep this up, or tell him my concerns and ask him to try harder? -- IN LOVE WITH THE DISHWASHER, AUSTIN, TEXAS

DEAR IN LOVE: Your sweet husband may have poor eyesight -- so start pointing out what he's missing on the dishes. Then explain that, in the interest of hygiene, you would be more comfortable if, instead of just rinsing the dishes, he would place them in the dishwasher so you can be sure they are sterile the next time you use them.

P.S. Because you are having to wash the dishes twice, you may find that by using the dishwasher you will be using less water!

DEAR ABBY: Do you think it's appropriate to laugh when someone inadvertently falls -- especially if it's unclear whether the individual is hurt?

I have never found it amusing to see someone fall. Instead, I feel concern. Some of my friends think that laughing is not only the appropriate response, but "necessary" to help ease the embarrassment of the individual who has fallen. Who's right? -- COMPASSIONATE WITNESS IN SEATTLE

DEAR COMPASSIONATE: You are. And watch out for those "friends" because they either lack maturity or empathy -- or both.


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.)