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Dear Abby: I think parents who encourage their teenage daughters (and some sons, too) to get a nose job are doing their children a terrible disservice.

The message they are sending their children is wrong. They are clearly saying that the way God made them is not good enough - a plastic surgeon should be called in to improve on God's work.Parents should put more emphasis on character. A beautiful, honest character is what makes a person beautiful - not the size and shape of a person's nose.

- Manhattan Mother

Dear Mother: My mail is overwhelmingly in favor of nose jobs. For a typical response, read on:

Dear Abby: I worked for a plastic surgeon for over 20 years (appointment secretary), and the one comment I heard more than any other following rhinoplasty (the technical name for "nose job") was: "I'm sorry I didn't do this years ago!"

- Marion G., retired

in Malibu, Calif.

Dear Abby: Regarding the mother who is not sure her 15-year-old daughter should have a nose job: Our beautiful 15-year-old became terribly self-conscious about her "longish" nose, so we promised if she still felt that way at 17, we would take her to a plastic surgeon.

Well, she had her nose done the summer before her senior year in high school and it made all the difference in her self-esteem and confidence.

Today she is a straight-A university student and a new bride. She says her new nose was the best gift her parents ever gave her.

- No Regrets in California

Dear Marion G. and No Regrets: The Santa Monica, Calif., mother who inquired about plastic surgery for her 15-year-old daughter was concerned not about whether she should have it done - but only if the girl was physically mature enough to achieve the best result right now. The plastic surgeon's decision should prevail.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable - and most frequently requested - poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

1993 Universal Press Syndicate