Son’s girlfriend may miss out on tradition

Published 8:38 am Thursday, January 25, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: My son, who is in his senior year of high school, is dating a beautiful, sweet girl I’ll call “Amanda.” I’m very fond of her. This is an exciting year for them both because soon she will be shopping for her graduation gown. Amanda told me her mom has said she will have to wear her older sister’s dress. (Her sister graduated seven years ago.) Finances are tight for their family. I asked Amanda how she feels about it, and she isn’t happy.
I would love to buy her a gown. I remember being in high school and how exciting it was to be able to buy a new gown. My daughter is two years older and says that soon the girls in school will be talking about shopping for their new gowns. I really want this experience for Amanda.
The problem is, I don’t want to offend her or her mother with my offer. Should I stay out of this? Should I approach her mother? I have met her mom only a couple of times, and I don’t want to step on any toes. Even if my son and Amanda are not together by the time graduation happens, I would still want her to have a dress of her choosing and all the experiences that come with it. – OFFERING ASSISTANCE IN CANADA

DEAR OFFERING: You are a caring, thoughtful, generous woman. However, the subject of Amanda’s family’s finances is sure to be a delicate one. Do not discuss this with Amanda yet. Consider reaching out “mother-to-mother” and explaining that Amanda mentioned she might be wearing her sister’s dress for graduation.
Explain to Mom that you care about Amanda, and suggest that IF SHE WOULD ALLOW IT, you would love to take them both to lunch and to shop for a dress she might like. Tell her you would like that to be your graduation gift to Amanda or, if this is something she’d prefer to be just between the two of you adults, you would reimburse her for the expense. Then cross your fingers. You are a sweetheart.
DEAR ABBY: My oldest daughter, “Teri’s,” mother-in-law snooped into Teri’s text messages and found a cartoon I had sent of two early Colonials at a bar, one saying to the other, “I’ve been in the doghouse ever since I tried to get my mother-in-law hanged as a witch.” An argument ensued over her looking at the texts without permission. Shortly after, I received a text from her mother-in-law with a middle finger emoji.
I live in the same city the mother-in-law lives in. Teri lives far away. Sooner or later, our paths will cross, and I’m not sure what I should say or do. My text was meant as a joke – though I must admit the mother-in-law is not an easy person to get along with. I did not respond to her emoji. Actually, I blocked her number on my phone. What should I do? No one has ever given me the finger before! – HUMOROUS DAD IN THE SOUTH

DEAR DAD: There’s always a first time. Tell the woman you are sorry “if her feelings were hurt” and explain that the cartoon was a joke, rather than a judgment of her personally — or, when you see her, laugh about the emoji, which was probably also meant as a joke.
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.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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