DEAR READERS: I'll be on vacation between Aug. 18 and Aug. 31. Don't panic -- I've selected some of my favorite letters from past years to fill the gap. I hope you enjoy them.
DEAR ABBY: I don't know if you remember me or not. I wrote to you a year ago about my weight problem, and you gave me some really good advice. I went to Overeaters Anonymous. So far I've lost 55 pounds, and I'm still losing. But now I have another problem.
Since I've got a pretty good figure, guys have started noticing me, and Abby, I can't handle it. I'm 18 and never dated before because I was such a mess, but with guys paying attention to me all of a sudden, I'm a wreck! I hated being fat and ignored, but at least I wasn't hassled by dudes trying to get me into bed. All the guys I know are after only one thing.
My girlfriends say if I don't put out on the first date, I shouldn't expect a second date. Please help me. -- HASSLED IN ST. PAUL
DEAR HASSLED: Your girlfriends are wrong. Hang on to your high standards and say goodbye to the dudes who try to rush you into bed. There's something worse than being ignored -- it's too much attention from guys who are after only one thing.
DEAR ABBY: "No Names" wrote, "My fiancee and I fight and argue every time we see each other, but whenever I suggest calling off our Christmas wedding, she cries and carries on, saying she'll be humiliated before her friends."
You said, "Call it off anyway!" You are absolutely right. I know. I learned the hard way.
My fiance and I were both 21. We fought constantly. Several times he suggested we call off the wedding, or at least postpone it for a while, but I insisted on going through with it because I didn't want to face the embarrassment of having to tell people that I wasn't getting married after all.
Today, after two years of a miserable marriage, I am five months pregnant and in the process of getting a divorce. Obviously, we never should have gone through with the marriage in the first place. I hope "No Names" takes your advice. -- TOLD YOU SO IN DALLAS
DEAR TOLD YOU: Thanks for the reaffirmation. A broken engagement is usually embarrassing, sometimes humiliating and always painful. It can also be costly. But it's not nearly as painful and costly as divorce -- especially if there are children to consider.
DEAR ABBY: Concerning inappropriate questions asked of a widow at the funeral of her husband, I think mine tops them all:
At the funeral of my 67-year-old father, my poor grieving mother was approached by an officer of the burial society to which my parents belonged, and instead of offering her solace, he asked, "Would you please give me a deposit on the grave next to your husband so I can reserve it for you?" -- VIVIAN OF BAYSIDE HILLS, N.Y.
DEAR VIVIAN: Your story takes the prize. In spades.
DEAR ABBY: I am expecting a baby in about three months and have been very careful not to smoke, drink or even consume caffeine during my pregnancy. I hope to continue to give our baby the most healthful environment possible after he (or she) is born.
The problem is my mother-in-law. She is a heavy smoker, and I would prefer that she not subject our baby to her secondhand smoke. Studies have confirmed the theory that babies who have been exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher incidence of respiratory illness.
My mother-in-law smokes one cigarette after another and she's anything but gracious when she's told her smoke is bothersome or irritating.
After our baby comes, my husband and I intend to ask her to please step outside if she wants to smoke. But what if it's raining or dark outside? -- MRS. S., PARKDALE, ORE.
DEAR MRS. S.: If it's raining, give her an umbrella. And if it's dark, give her a flashlight.
DEAR READERS: If you would like your letter considered for publication, please include your name, area code and telephone number.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)