Dear Abby: How can I make mom stop putting down my tattoos?

Now 32, the subject of her criticism has 11 pieces of skin art, with more on the way.

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DEAR ABBY: I am tattooed. I have 11 spread over my body. I grew up with strict rules. My mom always said no piercings (other than ears) or tattoos while I was under her roof. I got my first tattoo at 22 while away at college. I had to tell her about it because of a family beach vacation. She was disappointed. I have continued to get inked throughout my life. Every time she noticed a new tat, she voiced a negative opinion.

We live in different states now, so the subject of my tattoos hasn’t come up lately. A year ago, she was here to visit and didn’t say one word about my ink. I’m planning to have more work done this summer and I’m afraid that when she visits, she’ll be critical of me again, even though I’m 32, have an above-minimum-wage job, and my husband and I own our own home. What can I do or say to get her to keep her comments at bay? — TATTED IN INDIANA

DEAR TATTED: What you say to your mother is, “You know I love you, Mom. Thank you for the beautiful body you gave me. I’m sorry you are disappointed with what I have done with it, but in the future please keep your negative comments to yourself because they are hurtful.”

DEAR ABBY: I’m engaged to marry the love of my life. We’ve known each other since we were school-age (we are now 50). It will be a second marriage for both of us. He is unaware that I have access to his Facebook account and can see that he looks up his ex about once a week. They have been divorced for three years. It bothers me, but I’m hesitant to say anything because I would have to reveal how I know. I absolutely know he loves me and is in love with me. What do I do? — PERTURBED IN TEXAS

DEAR PERTURBED: I can understand why you are bothered. Successful relationships — marriages in particular — are built on trust and honest communication, both of which appear to be absent in this love story. If you “absolutely know” your fiance loves you, why have you been monitoring his online activities? I think it’s time for full disclosure. Tell him why you felt the need to snoop on him and ask him why he feels the need to check on what his ex is doing. It could be simple curiosity, but if it’s more than that, you are entitled to know.

DEAR ABBY: Oftentimes, we like to pay our restaurant check with cash. So our server won’t mistake our intention, we place the money inside the folder with the ends of the cash exposed. More often than not, when the server picks up the folder she or he will say: “Do you need change?” We think asking this question is tacky, and we would prefer something like: “I’ll be right back with your change.” My Scottish heritage wants to say: “Every penny!” but good manners prevents that. In some instances, we do leave a tip added on to the bill and don’t want change — in which case we say: “No thank you, the change is yours.” What is your response when the server says: “Do you need any change?” — ASSUMING IN ARIZONA

DEAR ASSUMING: My response would be to smile and say, “Yes, please,” if I didn’t want my server to keep it, which is rare.

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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