Bride expects to recoup cost of wedding from guests' gifts

DEAR ABBY: This summer, three of my good friends are being married. I am happy for each of them and plan to attend their weddings. However, being 25 and in my first job, I am on a limited budget.

What is the appropriate amount to spend to attend a wedding with a guest? It does not help that one of the brides-to-be continually "reminds" me and the rest of our friends how much the wedding is costing her and her fiance &

$100 a person, and how she hopes to get it all back in monetary gifts for the wedding.

I am appalled that she expects her guests to pay their way to her extravagant wedding. Should I feel pressured to give the exact amount that she is requesting?


DEAR PUZZLED: You should, indeed, feel pressured because that is what your "good friend" is shamelessly doing. But do not give any more than you can comfortably afford. Take the bull by the horns, spell out your financial situation to her, and ask whether you'll be welcome if you can't come up with the "entrance fee."

True friends do not treat each other this way. If you're afraid your friendship will be over if you do it, allow me to point out that if she feels shortchanged, it will be over anyway.

DEAR ABBY: My 27-year-old gay stepson, "Lance," returned from New York City last winter &

out of work and informing us that he's HIV-positive. He has not sought medical assistance, and has men overnight.

I care deeply for Lance. I worry about his physical and mental health, and I don't know what to do. His father and I cannot afford to pay his medical bills, and he lives in our garage. With no job, and apparently depressed and in denial, Lance has already attacked me physically and has been rude and insulting &

but most of all he does nothing to help his own situation. We have to buy his food and cigarettes and have supplied him with a computer. How can I help him?


DEAR SICK WITH HEARTACHE: It is very important that your stepson be medically and psychologically evaluated, because what he is doing is endangering not only himself but also his overnight "guests." The sooner he gets counseling and medication, the sooner he can get on with his life.

While there is still no cure for HIV, there have been enough medical advances that the condition can be managed for many years. This means that people with HIV can live productive and satisfying lives &

but only if they get the treatment they need.

My advice is to stop enabling this young man and insist that he get treatment if he is to continue living at home. Your nearest gay and lesbian community center can refer you. To locate it, go to .

DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Lola," has a friend whose mother wants to take her for a pedicure when she stays the night this weekend. I am totally against a 10-year-old getting one and think it's a waste of money. I have had only three pedicures in my life. I'm 37, have a job and I am responsible with my money. Do I let her do it, and if so, should I offer to pay? Help!


DEAR HIGHER PRIORITIES: If the other mother would like to take Lola for a pedicure along with her daughter, I see no harm in it. Let her go, and allow the other mother to treat her &

which is what she appears to be offering to do.

DEAR ABBY: My 43-year-old daughter, "Wendy," three granddaughters (7, 8 and 11) and son-in-law, "Todd," have been guests in my house for six months. Last February, Wendy called to say they were being evicted for nonpayment of rent. She said they would be homeless if I didn't let them come to my home for a while. I agreed to let them be guests in my home for three months, provided she and Todd both got jobs and saved for a rental during that time.

After three months, I reminded them they needed to move into a place of their own. Todd has produced a short film for which he was paid, and Wendy is working in a retail store. At that point I was very tired. I had virtually become a maid in my own home, baby-sitting for them because Todd works out of the area much of the time and Wendy works evenings and weekends. I also do most of the housecleaning and provide transportation for my granddaughters after school.

My daughter told me they had saved no money and couldn't move. I find it strange, since I haven't asked for any rent while they have been with me. I agreed they could stay two more months if they would actually save the money they were earning. I also suggested they sell one of their expensive cars, and either manage with one or buy an old one with the cash from the sale, so they wouldn't have such large payments and insurance. At the end of that time, they still had done none of the above.

It has now been six months since they moved in. I am not prepared to allow them any more time in my home. Wendy has become verbally abusive, and I have become extremely nervous. At times I fear for my safety. Am I being unreasonable in demanding they leave?


DEAR FED-UP: You have been more than generous with your freeloading daughter and her husband. They are taking advantage of your generosity and will continue to do so until you take steps to protect yourself.

I am particularly concerned because you say that the level of hostility in your household is escalating. Please pick up the phone and ask the operator for the number of your nearest area agency on aging. You may need help &

and protection &

to accomplish the eviction of your daughter and her family, and I urgently advise that you seek it immediately.

DEAR ABBY: My intelligent, wonderful daughter is determined to develop a sense of humor in her own 8-year-old by responding to her queries with, "Are you crazy?" or, "Have you lost your mind?" I think this is detrimental and damaging to the child. Please advise both of us.


DEAR GRANNY: You're right to be worried. I question not only your "intelligent, wonderful" daughter's sense of humor, but also her parenting skills, because what she's doing is hostile. And one has to wonder why she thinks belittling her child will develop anything but distance between them and insecurity in the girl.

How much better it would be if she simply answered her daughter's questions, and allowed her to develop her own sense of humor by setting an example that demonstrates what humor is. Neither you nor I should have to point out what she's doing is not funny.

Dear Abby is written by , also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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