Dear Abby: Young professional can't escape dating gossip
DEAR ABBY: I'm a girl of 23 who has never had a boyfriend. Now that I finished college and am a journalist, I have met some guys, mostly from high school and places like that. One of them, who went to my middle school, recently asked me on a date. Another one from high school asked me out, too, in the same week. (Neither one ever talked to me in the respective schools.) Even if I wanted to go out, I'm a little nervous because I've never been on a date. What do you think I have to do? I know I shouldn't care about what my family and friends say, but they are gossips. -- FEELING WEIRD IN MEXICO
DEAR FEELING WEIRD: I'm glad you wrote. You do not have to do anything except calm down and get to know who these guys are. You should not rush into ANYthing. Romances evolve from friendships, and friendships take time and effort. Hang on to your sense of humor, and remember: You are at the beginning of an interesting career and life journey. Stop worrying about the gossips, and take advantage of the opportunities that are opening up for you.
DEAR ABBY: My mother and her companion recently moved to be closer to me (20 minutes away). The problem is I don't really care for her companion, and he is always around my mom. He comes over to my house when she does, plops himself in our den and turns on the TV -- LOUD. (We always close the door because he needs a hearing aid.)
We now need to replace the reclining chairs in the den. He weighs more than 300 pounds, and I can't find a loveseat or chairs that can accommodate his weight. He won't allow Mom to drive herself over here. What can I do? I would like comfortable seating in my den, but I don't want furniture that will break the first time he sits on it. -- IMPOSED UPON IN THE SOUTH
DEAR IMPOSED UPON: You are under no obligation to buy furniture to accommodate someone you "don't particularly like." Tell your mother YOU will provide the transportation when she wants to visit you. (Her companion can pick her up when she's ready to go home, or you can take her.) Problem solved.
DEAR ABBY: When six of us women got together for lunch, one gal brought copies of her mother's newly published book of poetry. The book was $20. After describing the book and her mother, she offered one to each of us to PURCHASE! We're not poor, but I thought she showed poor taste by pushing this book on us. We all bought one because we felt obligated. What's your opinion about what she did? What would have been a tactful way to refuse? -- DUMBSTRUCK
DEAR DUMBSTRUCK: You could have thanked the woman for offering the book, told her you are sure it was "wonderful" and refused by saying, "But I'm just not into poetry!"
Wife fears family visits after mother-in-law's passing
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 40 years. My beloved mother-in-law passed away two years ago. She had always been my "buffer" against the rest of my husband's family -- two brothers and their families and his stepfather, none of whom care for me. When we would visit from out of state, I could be sure that, by my MIL's side, I would be comfortable and loved, while my husband hung out with his brothers and nieces.
After she passed, some things happened that hurt me, and I must now decide whether to accompany my husband when he goes to visit. I know if I do, I'll be left alone and isolated on a couch while the rest of them socialize elsewhere, and I dread the thought. My husband doesn't seem to understand how much I am fearing this. Please advise. -- MISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAW
DEAR MISSING: Unless your husband is an ostrich with his head in the ground, surely he must have noticed how his siblings and their families have treated you for the last 40 years. If it has escaped him, give him chapter and verse! No law says you "must" accompany him on these visits, and frankly, I see no reason why you shouldn't plan some pleasant activities for yourself in his absence. Try it. You may find you like it.
DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, when my daughter and her hubby were a young family with two boys, they gave me a large wall clock with sound, lighting and a wooded background with deer. It was a well-thought-out gift, as I was a bow deer hunter. I loved it and I'm sure they didn't need to be spending money for a Christmas present for me.
My problem is we have since retired and moved. I no longer have a place to hang the clock, and it no longer goes with my decor. I don't want to hurt her feelings, and it hurts me to think about getting rid of it. Would it be tacky to ask her if she would like it back, explaining my reasoning? An alternative would be to offer it to her sister who also lives in Florida now. If I were to do this, should I tell my gift-giving daughter? -- GRATEFUL MOM IN FLORIDA
DEAR MOM: When your daughter comes to visit, she will notice the clock is missing. Talk to her. Explain that since you have relocated, you no longer have room for the beautiful clock she gave you, and ask what she would like you to do with it -- including offering it to her sister who might enjoy it as you did. There will be less guilt for you and fewer hurt feelings for your daughter if you keep everything open and aboveboard.
DEAR READERS: I want to wish a Happy Father's Day to fathers everywhere -- birth fathers, stepfathers, adoptive and foster fathers, grandfathers and all of those caring men who mentor children and fill the role of absent dads.
P.S. And a big shout-out to dual-role moms. I applaud you all, today and every day. -- LOVE, ABBY
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.