DEAR ABBY: When my wife sees lingerie she likes in a store, she asks me to buy it for her birthday or our anniversary. The problem is, she’ll wear the item only once and never wear it again. She has a fortune in lingerie in her dresser drawer just taking up space.

I hate wasting money. Do you have any advice for me? – FREDERICK, BUT NOT IN HOLLYWOOD

I see your point and do have a few thoughts on the subject. First, you are a sweet and generous husband to give your wife the lingerie she’s requesting.

Now: Allow me to share a feminine secret. When women spy a display of “fabulous” lingerie, we often fantasize that we’ll look like Giselle Bundchen when we put it on. Sadly, when there’s no one to airbrush the image, that often doesn’t turn out to be the case.

Also, lingerie displayed in a shop window isn’t always practical for everyday wear. It may not offer enough support, look lumpy under outerwear, or worse, turn out to be scratchy.

Before the next special occasion, suggest to your wife that you go shopping together. That way, perhaps you and she can select something wearable, practical and pretty – and you won’t feel so frustrated.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing this letter to make amends to a former co-worker. This incident happened years ago. I have no idea where this lady is, or I would say it directly, but I am hoping she will see it in your column.

“Dear Former Co-Worker: Many years ago, your husband sexually molested your daughter. It was in the paper and on the news. You came to work every day looking distraught, and I did and said nothing. I didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to add to your pain, so I didn’t speak up. I have always regretted it. I felt your sorrow and respected your courage. I want you to know that I cared about you and what you and your daughter were going through. I’m sorry I didn’t have the courage to say a kind or sympathetic word.

“I still think of you and wish I hadn’t held back. I know what a hard time this was for you on many levels. I sincerely apologize and hope you and your daughter are OK. I also hope you can forgive me for being a coward.” – YOUR FORMER CO-WORKER, LESLIE

I, too, hope your former co-worker sees your letter. However, whether she does or not, it sets an example for others who see someone in distress and don’t know how to reach out. When someone is in pain, knowing that someone cares can be of great comfort.

DEAR ABBY: I grew up in a family of girls. Our parents always told us we could do anything a boy could do, and we did. However, when our brother was born, everything changed.

He is now 40 and has never been able to hold a job longer than a month. He has a college degree, a wife who works and three wonderful little girls. Our parents are in their 80s and continue to pay his bills! Mom even takes his clothes to the cleaners. How can we get our brother to stop taking advantage of our parents? – BIG SISTER IN TEXAS

DEAR BIG SISTER: I think you have it backward. By turning your brother into an object of worship and failing to teach him responsibility and independence, your parents have done all they could to allow themselves to be taken advantage of.

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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