DEAR ABBY: Would it be OK to offer an interest-free loan to a prospective son-in-law to buy my daughter an engagement ring? They have been dating – indeed, living together – for more than two years. They talk about wedding plans all the time. He’s already like part of the family.

We conjecture that he has not popped the question because he can’t afford to purchase an engagement ring. He’s currently working part-time, low-income jobs while he waits for our daughter to get her college degree before he/they go to graduate school. – CARING DAD IN WASHINGTON

DEAR CARING DAD: When in doubt – don’t. Although your idea is generous, I think you should refrain from making the offer. Your daughter’s boyfriend may have other reasons for not popping the question, including not feeling ready to make a lifetime commitment to your daughter.

DEAR ABBY: I recently went to a salon to have my hair dyed back to my natural color. The stylist did a wonderful job, and I’m happy with the results, as it’s hard to match the color of someone’s roots with hair dye.

However, later I went out to dinner with a friend, and she pointed out a large stain of hair dye on the back of my shirt. I’m not sure what to do. I’m fairly certain the stylist must have seen it as she walked me to the counter. It was a brand-new shirt and cost me $40 the day before I went to the salon, and it was the first time I had ever worn it.

I’d like to ask the salon to pay for the cost of the shirt, but would this be proper? – SCARLET WOMAN IN LEXINGTON, KY.

DEAR SCARLET: You are certainly within your rights to ask if you feel that the stylist saw the problem and kept it from you. When you went in for the procedure, you should have been offered the opportunity to change into a smock so there would be no chance that your clothing would be ruined. And in the future, when going to a beauty salon for color, you should ask for one.

DEAR ABBY: Yesterday my husband and oldest son went to pick up my youngest son from my parents’ home. During the 15 minutes they were there, my parents told them nine times that they had something for our children, and they would be over another day to help assemble it. Also, my mother repeated eight times to our oldest son to make sure he didn’t allow his brother to have a small object. None of us has hearing problems, and my oldest son is very smart and responsible when it comes to knowing what his little brother can and cannot have.

My parents are in their early 60s. Both of them are healthy. The thing is, they repeat themselves over and over again all the time. What makes a person do this? We have tried telling them that they have already told us a dozen times. Whenever we try, they either “don’t get it” or they get upset and pout. Does anyone else have to deal with this? It’s really annoying. – PETE AND REPEAT IN OHIO

DEAR PETE AND REPEAT: Absolutely. However, they are usually families whose relative is suffering from some form of dementia or has had small strokes. I don’t know how long this problem has been going on, but your parents’ doctor should be alerted that there may be a potential problem.

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.

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