Dear Abby: After a messy divorce, I moved with my 17-year-old daughter "Allie" to Florida. I'm thrilled that she has adjusted so quickly to the lifestyle here. Allie now has a boyfriend, "Shane," who is 19 and in college.
Shane lives with his parents down the street, and he's often at our house when he and Allie aren't in school. Because I work at home, I can't seem to escape him. When Allie is doing her homework or talking on the phone, Shane swims alone and does a fair amount of "preening." I have the feeling he does it to gain my attention. The other day, after jumping in the pool, he surfaced without his swim trunks and said the pool jets had ripped them off him. Then he got out of the pool and put them back on in front of me. When I told him I found the situation embarrassing, he shrugged and smiled, leaving me feeling awkward.
Am I a prude, or should I listen to my instincts that something is not right? And what do I say to Shane that will allow me to keep my dignity?
-- Taken Aback in Tampa
Dear Taken Aback: The pool jets did not rip the trunks off your daughter's boyfriend. It appears she is involved with an exhibitionist. If it happens again, tell him you find what he's doing to be disrespectful and offensive, and if he wants to parade his shortcomings at his own home that's his privilege, but at yours his pants should stay on at all times -- or you'll tell his mother.
Dear Abby: Sometimes my secretary says things like, "I could just kill myself" or, "Just shoot me!" Abby, my son took his life by shooting himself two years ago. She knows what happened.
I don't know what to say when I hear her utter those phrases. Have you any advice for me?
-- Still Grieving for My Son
Dear Still Grieving: Your secretary's level of insensitivity is astonishing. Since it appears she hasn't a clue, the next time she says it -- and she will -- tell her emphatically not to do it again because of the tragedy your family has experienced firsthand.