DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Kip," and I are being married next year and we have only one disappointment. It's about my keeping my last name. I don't want to take Kip's last name.
I have had the same name for 33 years and I do not believe a woman "has" to take her husband's name when they marry. However, the biggest issue for me is my fiance never knew his father, who left when Kip was a baby. I do not wish to take the name of a man who neither of us knows, and who had no positive influence on our lives. I'm part of a close-knit family, and I am proud to bear the name of my father -- a hardworking, dedicated Vietnam veteran.
Am I out of line? We will accept your answer because we are unable to resolve this ourselves. -- STANDING MY GROUND IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR STANDING: While most women still change their names to their husband's (or hyphenate them), those who don't usually have established themselves in a career in which they are known by their maiden name. Others fear that if they change their names they'll lose their identity.
No one can or should decide this for you. However, if Kip did know his dad and the man was a fine, upstanding citizen, would you feel differently? Remember, you are marrying Kip, not his father, and I assume your fiance is a wonderful person. Given your logic, because he had no relationship with his father, should he change his name to yours? Please make no decisions about this until you two have talked this out more fully.
DEAR ABBY: My siblings and I never hear from my grandmother unless she's in town, and then it's usually for one day out of the two weeks she's here. She never calls on holidays, birthdays or just to say hello. Yes, we call her on these special days.
We have other grandparents who wouldn't let a week go by without calling to ask how we are, how we are doing in school or just to talk.
My mom is a grandma to my oldest sister's children and when she doesn't see or hear from them within a week, she'll call or visit them. (By the way, my grandmother is retired, very healthy and travels. When she does, we don't even get a postcard!) What's wrong with her? -- HURT FEELINGS IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR HURT FEELINGS: I agree that you didn't get the standard-issue doting, cookie-baking grandmother. Not knowing her, I can't explain the reason for her distant behavior, but I'm positive it has nothing to do with you personally. She may be preoccupied with her own life, or it may have something to do with the relationship she has with your parents. If you really want the answer to your question, the person you should ask is your grandmother the next time she comes to town.
DEAR ABBY: When I'm out in public, there's always someone saying, "Oh, you're so tiny!" or, "I didn't see you down there," or, "You're so cute!" Abby, I am 83 years old with white hair. I was never tall to begin with, and I have lost close to 4 inches due to a bad back (with constant pain), spine surgery and osteoporosis.
Please remind your readers to abstain from making remarks about a person's size. I don't feel "cute," and I don't appreciate the constant reminders about my disability. Am I too sensitive? -- VERTICALLY CHALLENGED IN ANN ARBOR, MICH.
DEAR VERTICALLY CHALLENGED: I don't think so. You have stated your feelings very well, but I'm pleased to remind readers that comments about someone's personal appearance ("You're so tall," "You're so small, "You're so thin") can hit a sore spot, and to refrain from saying the first thing that comes to mind because it may be rude or hurtful.
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.)