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NAMING RIGHTS

Dear Abby: My husband and I are expecting our first child in August. A few months ago, a girlfriend, "Marie," and I were discussing names. Marie mentioned that she had always liked the name Brooke. I told her that I'd always liked it, too.

Now that I'm pregnant, my husband and I want to name our baby Brooke if it's a girl. When I told Marie, she became angry. She said the name was her idea so she should be able to use the name if she ever has another daughter.

Abby, I'm pregnant NOW. Marie has no idea when she'll be having her next baby -- if ever. We live 3,000 miles apart and have no friends in common, so it's not like there would be any confusion over who's who. Am I being unreasonable?

-- Going for Brooke in British Columbia
Dear Going for Brooke: You're not being unreasonable. Your friend is being petty. Since there are no copyrights on names, name your baby whatever you choose -- and don't apologize.

Courtesy demands invite

Dear Abby: My high school graduation is right around the corner, and I have a problem with it. About eight years ago, my dad had an affair Rosemary. As a result, my mom divorced him and moved. Dad got custody and ended up marrying Rosemary.

My problem is, Mom plans to attend my graduation. Given the fact that she despises Rosemary -- and I do, too -- I'm uncertain as to whether I want my stepmom to be there. I think it would create friction, even though Mom says she doesn't care if "that woman" shows up or not.

Please let me know if it's my right to make the final decision for an occasion that's supposed to be "my day."

-- Muddling Through
Dear Muddling Through: Yes, it is your day. However, since your mother doesn't object, for the sake of family unity your father's current wife should be given the courtesy of an invitation.

Change the policy

Dear Abby: I am a 38-year-old single mother of two. There is a man at work I find attractive, and he's giving me signals that the feeling is mutual. The problem? I've made it a strict policy never to date anyone at work, at church or in my neighborhood because of problems that can occur if there's a breakup.

Am I being too cautious?

-- Trying to Be Smart in Philly
Dear Trying to Be Smart: While it's my opinion that workplace romances (as common as they are) are a bad idea for the reasons you have mentioned, I do think that by not dating men from the neighborhood or church, you are severely limiting yourself. Social opportunities present themselves in the places you present yourself.

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