DEAR ABBY: My live-in boyfriend is a total ditz when it comes to challenges. He claims it's because he's a city boy, but I think it's just plain laziness. When something needs to be repaired, he looks the other way and expects me to be "Miss Fix-It." It doesn't matter what's wrong -- the car, the washer, plumbing, even issues with bills. It becomes my job.
I want him to challenge himself sometimes. I've never known a man who won't venture into something that's not familiar. Is there anything I can say or do to let him know I want him to help, or am I stuck with a male damsel in distress? -- ROLE-REVERSAL IN BRIDGEPORT, CONN.
DEAR ROLE-REVERSAL: I'm sure you have told your boyfriend more than once that you want him to help. If he is as lacking in mechanical and organizational ability as you have implied, perhaps it's better that you be the fixer than have him destroy whatever needs to be repaired.
Because you feel you're being taken advantage of, have him call a repairman and pay for the service calls. And while you're at it, start a list of the positive things he adds to your relationship. If you come up with a minus instead of a plus, perhaps you should throw him back and keep fishing.
DEAR ABBY: My niece, "Sara," is considerably overweight at the age of 9. I'm becoming very concerned that she'll become diabetic by the time she's in her teens. She has a horrible habit of literally shoveling food into her mouth as fast as she can, sometimes with both hands. She's obviously eating too quickly to stop when she's full. Now that she's no longer a little girl, what was a bad habit has turned into disgusting table manners.
I live far away, so I have few opportunities to suggest that she slow down or "take princess bites." Her mother is very resentful of criticism, and she's allowing Sara her bad habit. I'm worried not only about my niece's poor table manners, but also her health. Any suggestions? -- WORRIED AUNT, TUPELO, MISS.
DEAR WORRIED AUNT: Is Sara's mother obese? If so, the problem may be not only the speed with which your niece is eating but also what kinds of foods she's being served at home.
Be smart and don't make this about disgusting table manners. Because you're concerned about your niece's health, talk to both parents and ask what Sara's pediatrician says about her weight and what possible solutions have been suggested. But do not make it appear that you're criticizing their parenting or they'll shut you out.
DEAR ABBY: People occasionally tell me I look like a famous person. They can be mere acquaintances, people I don't know or people I don't want to know. I've never seen the resemblance, and since this famous person is known for poor judgment and bad behavior I regard it as an insult.
People seem shocked when I respond with an insult. How do they expect me to respond? I can't imagine walking up to someone and saying, "You look like ..." even if it were true. This is finally starting to bother me. How should I respond? -- NOT VILLAINOUS -- YET
DEAR NOT VILLAINOUS (YET): People may be shocked when you answer them with an insult because they were not trying to be insulting. Rather than become defensive, try this: Smile and say, "You know, I hear that all the time. But I assure you we are not related -- and I don't act like ____ either. "
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