Dear Abby: Teen walks around house, answers door in her underwear

Disgusted reader wants to advise niece, 18, to cover up in front of strangers.

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DEAR ABBY: I don’t know what to do about my 18-year-old niece. She walks around the house in her underwear. She’s been doing it for the last two or three years. It wouldn’t matter, I suppose, if it were just in front of immediate family living there, but she also does it in front of workmen, the cleaning women, answering the door, going out to get the mail, etc. I’m really disgusted.

I spoke to my brother (her father) briefly about it. His response was, “She lives here.” Is there anything I can do or say to get her to keep herself a little better covered? — MODEST IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR MODEST: Yes, there is. If her family doesn’t object to her walking around the house in her underwear, that’s their prerogative. But “someone” should remind your niece that doing it in front of workmen, household staff and the mail carrier is DISRESPECTFUL TO THEM. How their neighbors feel about it is anyone’s guess.

DEAR ABBY: My friend is always sending me pics of food and beverages he thinks look appetizing. The problem is, the cut of steak he usually eats is cheap and unhealthy-looking. I try to tell him that better-quality meat often has less fat and cholesterol, but he tunes me out. He drinks a lot of wine, too, and I don’t think that’s good either. I’m trying to help him because I am concerned about his health. He is 56 and has gained a lot of weight. How can I keep him from a cardiovascular emergency? — HEALTHIER EATER

DEAR HEALTHIER: Your friend is an adult. You can’t “keep him” from doing anything. Because he isn’t open to your helpful suggestions and the photos make you upset, quit looking at them. Accept that when he makes the decision to change his eating and drinking habits, the motivation has to come from within (or from his doctor). You may be able to lead by example and convince him to exercise with you. If you do, be sure to start SLOWLY.

DEAR ABBY: I live in a very small town where everybody knows everything. I own my home and attend a church with a small congregation. When a food pantry opened, I reluctantly began going in to supplement my food budget. The volunteers are all locals, and I know many of them. One woman, who also attends my church, volunteers there as well. This woman has adopted a smirk and a hard stare in my direction when she sees me now. While I work hard at not caring about what people think, this is a tough one. How should I handle her? — SHAMED IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR SHAMED: Handle it by discussing it with whoever has organized and manages that food bank. Also mention it to your pastor. If the church member is behaving as you say she is, she should be told to stop embarrassing you, because it is unchristian and uncalled-for.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds, to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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