DEAR ABBY: I would like to reassure "Darlene in Dallas," the 12-year-old girl who is looking for ways to make boys realize she is more than her ample bustline. I feel her pain. I have been full-busted most of my life, beginning with a DD prior to high school and continuing up from there.
As an image consultant, I advise my clients how to dress for a particular effect.
First, she should not be ashamed of her figure. She is special and beautiful -- and not just because she is well-endowed. She doesn't need to wear tents, but she should choose tops that skim the body rather than tight or low-cut garments that accentuate her cleavage.
Interesting jewelry, hair clips or headbands will draw the eye upward to her face and take the emphasis away from her chest.
If she has shapely legs, she should wear skirts and pants with funky patterns. That, too, will draw the eye away from the bustline.
And above all, she should learn to love herself. I wish her my best. She is not alone. -- DIANE D., NORWICH, CONN.
DEAR DIANE D.: Bless you for lending your expertise. A number of readers responded to that letter with helpful suggestions. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Tell her to buy some "birth control glasses." A pair of unflattering glasses will stop any boy dead in his tracks. My sister got a pair of nonprescription glasses for that very reason. -- WALLY IN AUSTIN
DEAR WALLY: Really? My mother used to say that men who DON'T make passes at girls who wear glasses are asses. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Please tell "Darlene in Dallas" to ask her mother or another adult to take her to a lingerie store for a proper brassiere fitting. There are bras specifically designed to minimize a woman's size. Good support is a necessity for large-breasted girls and women to prevent back, shoulder and tissue/nerve damage. I know this from experience. -- BEEN THERE, TOO
DEAR B.T.T.: What a great suggestion. I'm sorry I didn't think of it.
DEAR ABBY: I must take issue with your response to the 12-year-old girl who wants boys to like her for who she is and not because of her big bust. You suggested she "impress them with attributes she wants them to notice ..."
A 12-year-old wants to attract boys, and you want to give her a healthier way to do it. As a psychologist who works with children and adolescents, I have seen firsthand the devastating consequences of sexual behavior in those who are so young. That girl should focus on developing interests other than boys. She should explore her talents, get involved in helping others through volunteer work, participate in sports, spend time with her girlfriends, talk to her brother, father, pastor or rabbi -- anything other than worry about better ways to attract boys. -- Ph.D. IN YORBA LINDA, CALIF.
DEAR Ph.D.: I agree that ideally Darlene should be encouraged to focus her attention on developing her talents and personality. However, at 12 she IS receiving attention from boys, and she needs to learn how to handle it NOW.