DEAR ABBY: My son is a tall, strikingly handsome teenager, although somewhat shy. Our problem is that his looks attract the wrong kind of attention from aggressive girls, and it's getting worse every year.
He and his 14-year-old sister went out to eat after school yesterday, and when they returned it was obvious my son was upset and his sister was furious. She said a group of college girls at a table next to them were teasing and taunting my son with blatantly sexual propositions. They went so far as to touch him suggestively as they got up to leave.
I'm sure they got the physical response from him they wanted; he is only 17, after all. But he was clearly angry, embarrassed and ashamed. He said he felt trapped and didn't know what to do.
The sexual harassment of young men is often laughed off with a wink and a nudge, but it isn't funny. It can be as painful and damaging to men as to women. Furthermore, my son is a minor, and I suspect the college girls were adults, if the beer on the table was any indication.
I am trying to raise my son to respect women and to be a decent man, husband and father someday, but frankly, I'm at a loss as to how to help him handle this type of sexual aggressiveness from girls. Do you or any of your readers have any suggestions? -- SHOCKED MOM IN TENNESSEE
DEAR MOM: I can see why your son and daughter were upset. He was not only sexually harassed by those young women, but when they put their hands on him, he was assaulted. When the teasing escalated, he and his sister should have changed tables or left the restaurant.
If your son's father is in the picture, he should discuss the incident with your son. If that's not possible, another adult male should help him understand that his arousal was normal and nothing to be ashamed of. I am sure my male readers will also want to weigh in on your letter because what happened to your son was outrageous.
DEAR ABBY: I recently bought a used car for myself. It is exotic, and my wife and I really like it. She's upset with me, however, because I won't let her drive it unless I'm in the car. I bought it with the intent for us to enjoy it, but I am also concerned with keeping it in good shape.
Because my wife is unhappy, I am undecided about whether to keep the car and stick to my guns, or sell it and live life simply and unfettered. We share everything, but the car is one thing that needs careful attention. Can you give me some advice? -- DOESN'T WANT IT DENTED IN RANCHO CORDOVA, CALIF.
DEAR DOESN'T WANT IT DENTED: Let's be honest. On one hand, you say you bought the car for yourself, and on the other, you say you bought it for both of you to enjoy. You can't have it both ways, so which is it?
I think the time has come to confess to your wife that even though you said the car was for both of you, it's really your baby. Then make it up to her by buying her that special something she has always wished for.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
- Family & Relationships
- DEAR ABBY