If I Were Abby:

Online dating opens door to danger for teenage girl

DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl. One of my best friends, "Emmy," has been doing something I think is very dangerous. She has been dating online with people she has never met. She told me she recently had gotten engaged. Abby, she's only 14! Emmy doesn't have a ring because this supposed fiancŽ lives in Michigan, whereas we live in Tennessee. I have tried to tell her she will get hurt, but she won't listen. She has actually gone to meet some of these people. But her parents and I go with her to make sure it isn't some pervert in his 50s. I really don't know what to do that won't make her mad at me or cause me to lose a friend. Please help. -WORRIED IN COTTONTOWN, TENN.

DEAR WORRIED: I think you are overreacting. At 14, girls from Tennessee are not only supposed to be engaged, but they are also supposed to have started their own families. In fact, in some areas of your state, there are some people who are actually their own mothers. Face it: You guys don't get out much. So if Emmy wants to explore on the Web, leave her be. Ma and pa will do what's right by her and maybe even score a huge dowry - something that other states where people have teeth don't even have the benefit of utilizing.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Neil" for two years. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, mostly because we live 500 miles apart and can't afford to visit each other regularly. My problem is that Neil is still in possession of the bridal gown that belonged to his former fiancŽ. They broke up more than five years ago. She has since married and gone on with her life. Last March, I finally felt I had a right to ask him to dispose of it, but he still has it. He tells me he is "trying" to get rid of it, but I have seen no real effort. (He said he has offered it for sale, but has had no takers.) I just want it gone! Neil feels I'm overreacting. He insists he wants the money back that he spent on it. I say no one will pay what he originally paid, and he should cut his losses. I even offered to buy it and donate it to charity. All I got was a smile and, "I'll think about it." Abby, I feel Neil is holding on to a past that's not there. I know he loves me and not her. But I'd feel better if that "reminder" was gone already. Am I wrong? -DESPERATE GIRLFRIEND

DEAR DESPERATE: You know he loves you and not her? Really, do you? I mean, how well do we ever really know anyone - especially when they live a time zone away? If you weren't busy smothering Neil, you might think about asking yourself not why he still has that particular dress, but why he hasn't put you in one yet. My opinion, Neil has you right where he wants you: a visiting hole who lives nowhere near him while he thinks about what could've been.

DEAR ABBY: I had my first child eight weeks ago - a beautiful baby boy. I would like to let him stay with my parents; however, my mother refuses to clean her house. The place looks like it has been ransacked. There are piles of old newspapers, old magazines and old mail everywhere. It's not uncommon to find dirty dishes and utensils under the couch and on the floor. There are TV tray tables stacked six- to 10-inches high with papers. Abby, my baby's safety comes first. I'm not germ-phobic, and I know a little dirt won't hurt. But all those rubber bands and paperclips left on the floor could hurt. Mom acts offended that I won't allow my baby to be left at her home without me. My sister says I'm overreacting since her child "survived" all his visits. Am I being unreasonable? -APPREHENSIVE

DEAR APPREHENSIVE: So if your mother is a lazy pig whose lifestyle would put your beautiful newborn child in jeopardy if he were to stay with her, I guess my only question would be: why would you even entertain the idea of letting him stay with her? Could there be another lazy pig that didn't fall too far from the trough? Your kid is 8 weeks old for Christ's sake. If his safety comes first, be responsible and take care of him yourself.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a college student who lives in a dorm. My problem is I live next door to a moocher. One time, "Ms. Moocher" came into my room and asked if she could unplug my TV and take it into her room to watch "The O.C." on it. Another time, she came waltzing in my room carrying my hairbrush, which she had taken without my permission. Recently I returned from a weekend away to find that half my popcorn was gone. It turned out that Ms. Moocher had taken and eaten it. She has my cell phone number and can easily call and ask me when she wants to borrow my things. I have no problem with sharing with her, but her taking my things without asking is just plain rude. I know I need to talk to her, but I don't know what to say because I have to co-exist with her for the rest of the year. Please help! -FED UP IN ATHENS, GA.

DEAR FED: Where do you go to school, a commune? Get a fucking lock. Problem solved. CV

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