DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing "Randy" for more than a year. We get along great. He makes me laugh and I can envision us sharing the rest of our lives together.
I am an atheist and Randy is a Christian. I don't mind his family's views, and I have no problem with religion as long as it isn't being forced on me. However, thinking about a future with Randy, I wouldn't want his family's religious views forced on my children, either. I want them to make their own choices when they're old enough to understand.
Randy wants an "ideal Christian family," where he raises his children on his terms and with his religious views. I don't feel children should be forced into something from birth. Again, I have no problem with Randy's or his family's beliefs; I just don't want them impressed on my children's young minds. What can we do? -- A MIND OF MY OWN
DEAR MIND OF YOUR OWN: You can part friends and agree to disagree. If Randy wants an "ideal Christian family" in which he raises his children "on his terms and with his religious beliefs," there will be no compromise. And if you are adamant that your children choose their own beliefs when they're old enough to understand, you -- and they -- will be better off if the father you choose for them has similar beliefs.
DEAR ABBY: My friend and roommate "Kristina" is a great person with a big heart. However, one of her "quirks" is starting to bother me, and I'm not sure how to deal with it.
Kristina is an extremely picky eater who is repulsed by any ethnic food. I am Asian, and if we pass an Asian restaurant (or any other ethnic restaurant, for that matter) she makes comments like, "How can people eat that?" or, "That's disgusting!" When I have pointed out to her that her attitude can be insulting, she casually apologizes but her behavior continues.
I realize Kristina is set in her ways and that there's probably nothing I can do to change her attitude toward cultural cuisine. I feel like a nag every time I suggest she's being insensitive. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can respond to her disparaging comments? -- RAISED ON RICE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR RAISED ON RICE: "Great" people with "big hearts" do not say the first thing that pops into their heads, particularly when they know it can be hurtful. Because you have already told Kristina her comments are insensitive and insulting, and she continues to make them, it's time you recognize that she doesn't care about your feelings.
The surest ways to insulate yourself are to avoid going near ethnic restaurants when you're with her, or spend less time in her company.
DEAR ABBY: I know a very nice family from another country whose little girl would be adorable except for one thing -- facial hair. The child has a dark "unibrow" and a thick moustache. She's hairier than most men I know.
I would like to recommend a cosmetologist to them, but I know other cultures have different views on facial hair. My husband says I should mind my own business. What do you say, Abby? -- ILLINOIS NEIGHBOR
DEAR NEIGHBOR: While your impulse is laudable, listen to your husband. Unless the little girl or her mother mentions that she is being teased because of her facial hair, do not broach the subject.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)