DEAR ABBY: I'm 14, and I don't wear shorts because I'm self-conscious about my legs. My mother is always nagging me to wear them in the heat.
The other day, I overheard one of Mom's girlfriends ask her why I don't wear shorts, and what's wrong with my legs? The next day, Mom told me she was going to put on some shorts and how much cooler she felt. Then she asked, "Aren't you hot in those jeans? You should start wearing shorts."
Today, Mom had on some new shorts, and she said they were the most comfortable she had ever worn. Then she handed me a bag with four pairs of shorts and told me, "I got you some, too." She told me to try on a pair. I told her I wasn't wearing them. She yelled that I was being ridiculous to wear jeans in 95-degree weather.
Later, I got out of the shower and saw the shorts on my bed. All my jeans and pants were gone. Mom then came in and told me to put on the shorts. She said, "You have nice legs and look good wearing shorts. You look normal now -- and don't you feel a lot cooler?" She said she expects me to wear shorts every day for the rest of the summer. What should I do? -- NEEDS ADVICE IN TEXAS
DEAR NEEDS ADVICE: You'll wear the shorts, and probably resent your mother every day you put them on -- or attempt a compromise. Believe it or not, you don't need advice as much as your mother does. She has won the battle, but at what price? She turned your insecurity into a power struggle and pulled rank. There was no reason to force you to wear shorts other than the fact she felt self-conscious in front of her friend. Talk about misplaced priorities!