DEAR ABBY: I'm a 14-year-old girl in middle school. I have never seriously dated anyone, and the one time I did I felt trapped. My friends think it's weird that I have never dated a guy and they call me a lesbian. I just want to finish my schoolwork and wait until high school to start dating. I don't want to feel weighed down by anyone. Is there something wrong with me? -- CONFUSED IN S. CAROLINA
DEAR CONFUSED: Something wrong with you? Good grief, no! In fact, I would go so far as to say there is something right with you. Not every teen -- and that goes for boys, too -- feels ready to date at 14.
It makes me angry that your "friends" would call you something you're not just because you're not doing what they're doing. If it persists, your parents should talk to the school about it. Preferring to concentrate on your studies and waiting until high school to date is nothing to be ashamed of -- it's something to be proud of.
DEAR ABBY: I attended a friend's birthday celebration a few weeks ago at a chic restaurant. After our entrees were ordered and the appetizers served, the restaurant's fire alarm sounded and the dining room was evacuated. For 20 minutes all of the patrons waited patiently outside while the fire department was summoned. We learned from another guest that there had been a small fire in the kitchen.
When we returned to the dining room, a heated debate ensued among the guests. One person said that because the fire alarm had interrupted our meal, the lunch should be complimentary. Others insisted the restaurant owed us nothing beyond an apology. We paid our bill, but the question remains: Should the management have shown some consideration for the inconvenience we experienced? -- FOUR-ALARM FRAZZLED
DEAR FRAZZLED: I took your question to Craig Susser, owner of the successful Craig's restaurant in West Hollywood, California. He agreed with me that the restaurant owner should have shown appreciation for the patience that was exhibited by the patrons.
While Craig said he wouldn't have paid for the entire meal for everyone who was dining there that day, he certainly would have made some adjustment to the bill to compensate them for their inconvenience. "After all, we're in it together," he added. And that gracious attitude is why he has one of the most popular dining establishments in L.A.
DEAR ABBY: What are your thoughts on marriage? Is it an antiquated practice? I don't know if I really want it, or just because society and social media deem it important. -- CINDY VIA TWITTER
DEAR CINDY: I don't consider marriage to be an antiquated practice at all. In a sense, marriage is a "team sport." It won't succeed unless the team members are dedicated to a common goal and are willing to sacrifice selfish needs to achieve it.
In my opinion, the reason so many marriages fail is that individuals go into it for the wrong reasons. No one should marry because "society" and "social media" deem it important. When you meet the right person, you won't be ambivalent about spending your life and creating a family with that individual.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)