DEAR ABBY: Why is a wedding always about the bride? Why is the groom often ignored and the occasion not about both of them? I find this offensive as a man who, by tradition, is supposed to "take care of her," but is ignored as a partner in the relationship.
The whole deal about the day being about the bride is sexist, as far as I'm concerned. Television shows like "Bridezillas" make men look like idiots who have no value in a marriage. What are your thoughts? -- MAN WHO MATTERS IN FLORIDA
DEAR MAN WHO MATTERS: These shows you refer to depend on shock value to attract and sustain an audience, and some of the goings-on that are portrayed are so far-out as to be freakish. Please don't mistake reality TV for reality because nothing could be further from the truth.
Much has changed regarding marriage customs in the last decades. Traditionally, weddings were paid for by the parents of the bride. There was little monetary input from the groom's family, and they did not expect to assist in the planning of the event. Today, however, many couples postpone marriage until they are older and financially independent. They pay for their own weddings and plan them as partners.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a senior in high school who is already taking college classes. I have told my mom I plan to become a special education teacher. I have been an aide in the special ed class for three years now, and I love it.
My mother and grandmother are not supportive. They keep trying to talk me out of going to college to do what I love. They say I should be a nurse, so I can earn better money, and they tell me I won't be able to find a job if I become a special ed teacher. What should I do when they keep bringing this up? -- THINKING ABOUT MY FUTURE
DEAR THINKING: Let me first tell you what not to do. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into an argument over this. As much as you are thinking about your future, so are your mother and grandmother.
Because you are taking college classes, talk with a counselor at the school about the kinds of job openings there are for special education teachers. Visit the library and do some research. Both would be intelligent ways to get a glimpse of what will be in store for you if you choose to go into that field.
DEAR ABBY: I have kids who play sports. As I sit in the stands and watch the games, I am disgusted by the negative attitudes and bad-mouthing I hear coming from the parents in the crowds.
How do parents teach good sportsmanship and compassion when the adults they see around them behave worse than the kids? As hard as I try, I can't understand how grown adults can yell or call kids names at a sports event and expect these same kids to grow up with morals and values. -- SPORTS MOM IN MOUNTAIN TOP, PA.
DEAR SPORTS MOM: Positive reinforcement usually works better than name-calling and belittling. Kids are like sponges. They imitate the behavior they see the adults around them exhibit. Effective parents teach their children by modeling behavior they want to encourage in their children. (No one ever said this is always easy!)
The parents you describe may be trying to relive their youth vicariously through their children. Many times, it's not possible for the children to do as well as -- or better than -- the parents, and the result is the children end up disliking the sport.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)