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by Abigail Van Buren

Soldier's Imagination Gets a Workout While in the Gym

DEAR ABBY: I am a soldier currently deployed in Iraq. My unit's mission has ended, but we must remain here for the next two months with no real mission to occupy our time. Because of this, I -- along with other soldiers -- spend free time in the gym.

Recently, a female American civilian contractor has started working out at the same time I do. She's gorgeous and wears skimpy, provocative clothing while working out. Because I have not seen a female in civilian clothes for many months, I find it hard not to stare.

Is it wrong for me to stare? Should I confront her and tell her that her clothing distracts me from my workout and makes me feel uncomfortable? -- CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT IN IRAQ

DEAR CRUEL AND UNUSUAL: You know darn well that it's wrong to stare. Didn't your mother tell you that staring is rude? Do not "confront" the woman. Have a gym supervisor talk to her or you might get in trouble for harassment. Or better yet -- change the time of your workout.