DEAR ABBY: I don’t want to make my friend “Ryan” mad, but he does something that makes me feel weird. When we go to the mall to hang out, he always wants to go to the big stores. You know those dummies on display wearing clothes? Well, Ryan likes to feel them up! He thinks it’s cool to go up to a female dummy and feel her breasts.

When he does it, he giggles. People stare and I have to leave. I told Ryan I don’t like it. He says, “Whatever …”

Ryan is my best friend. Is what he does natural for a 13-year-old? I like looking at real girls on the beach. He says that’s boring, and he’d rather feel up the store dummies. What’s up with that? What should I do? – BILLY IN GALVESTON

Your friend is very immature. He is both attracted to girls and afraid of rejection. That is why he is acting out with department store mannequins who cannot tell him, “Stop that, you fool. Get away from me!”

You are right to leave when he creates a scene like that. You don’t want other people to get the idea that you get your kicks that way, too, do you?

DEAR ABBY: Our mom had a major cow when she found out that my sister and I are wearing thong underwear. We buy and wash our own clothes, so Mom didn’t realize it until the other day when she walked in on us while we were getting dressed.

Well, Mom says it’s “sinful,” if you can believe that, and she has forbidden us from wearing them. But Abby, it’s what all the girls wear these days, so if we’re sinners, so is everyone else. We’ll be the only girls in the locker room not wearing thongs, and we’ll look really stupid. Do you see anything wrong with thong underwear? – SAN DIEGO SINNER?

No, evil is in the eye of the beholder. But frankly, I have never understood the thong underwear fad. For many decades women have struggled to keep their panties from bunching up exactly where the thong is designed to go – and the feeling is really uncomfortable.

Readers, I’m taking a poll on this: Thongs “up” or thongs “down”? What do you think?

DEAR ABBY: Because I arrived late to an opera performance, I was forced to sit in the designated section for latecomers. Seated next to me was an attractive young lady with whom I had a pleasant conversation as we watched the televised first act. Afterward, of course, we took our assigned seats.

It is difficult for some of us art and opera lovers to find compatible friends with shared interests. My question is, do genteel younger women consider it foolishly ill- mannered, disturbing or offensive to be impetuously invited by an older, single gentleman (age 47) for an after- performance dinner or cocktail? – GIL IN HOUSTON

DEAR GIL: Heck, no! And stop calling yourself old. It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.

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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