DEAR ABBY: You were far too easy on the ninth-grade boy who said: “Women are like fish. If you have the right bait, they are easy to lure in. Once you’ve sampled the goods, then you throw them back.” He asked “what was up” with all the “unfortunate women and their out-of-wedlock pregnancies and bad relationships” and said that men don’t have these problems.

What kind of male role model does that boy have? He appears to be headed for many brief relationships if he has the preconception that women are to be hooked and then let go. With that mind-set, he’ll miss out on the love and stability of a healthy relationship when the “right fish” comes along and he has the wrong attitude.

He should look at the lake from the top instead of the bottom. The water is kinda murky from his vantage point. – HOOKED AND RELEASED BY CHOICE, CANTON, OHIO

You’re right. Did that letter ever touch a nerve. I was inundated with mail. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I have a hunch that boy has “sampled” some goods and “thrown them back” despite his claim that “he isn’t like that.” Girls who have out-of-wedlock pregnancies and bad relationships don’t get that way by themselves. There are boys involved.

You should have told him that he’s not as smart as he thinks he is, and to look for better role models for how to treat women.

P.S. Reminding him to always keep a “net” handy to cover his “fishing pole” wouldn’t have been a bad idea either.

Not a bad suggestion. It might keep him from getting in over his head.

DEAR ABBY: My name is Kelsey. I live in Japan and have a few words for “Mr. Fisherman.” Women are NOT like fish! Is it so wrong to actually trust a guy? By the sound of it, I think you are out there casting your hook as well. I hope you know where I hope it lands! Women are no more gullible than any other human can be, and we are not stupid. I have had a couple of bad relationships, but I’m grateful for them. They made me smarter. – “LITTLE FISHY” IN NINTH GRADE

Good point. It may take a couple of “strikes,” but people learn from experience.

DEAR ABBY: For every bad relationship and every single mother, there is a man who contributed to it. Women use sex to get love. Men use love to get sex. Which seems to be the lesser of the evils? – TAKES TWO TO TANGO, VANCOUVER, WASH.

Neither. When people do THAT dance, they both get cheated because neither one is a commodity to be traded for the other.

DEAR ABBY: What’s up with all these men who leave women after they impregnate them? They bolt at the sight of anything more complicated than Monday night football or hooting at a strip club.

Men are like dogs. If they smell food, they’ll come panting. If they were smart enough to accomplish more than a few simple tricks for treats, there wouldn’t be a need to write this letter.

Offended? GOOD! Not all women are like fish, hoping to catch bait their entire lives. Women are strong, ambitious, intelligent people. Not all men are dogs, either. Some men are loving, generous and intelligent enough to lead healthy, functional lives supporting their partners as equals. Unfortunately, “Fisherman” is too juvenile to see this. By the way, I’m also in ninth grade. – MICHELLE S., MENLO PARK, CALIF.

Thank you for an excellent response. You have a good head on your shoulders. I hope my male readers understand that girls who have strong, active male role models in their lives are less likely to take the bait when it’s offered.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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