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CONTINUAL PLEA FOR RIDES TRAPS WOMAN

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Dear Abby: I have a problem that is driving me crazy. It is my fault for allowing it to go on for so long, but I really need to do something about it.

I have a very good friend who works just a few blocks from me, so after she finishes, she comes to my place of work to catch a ride home with me. I do not mind giving her a ride because she lives in the building next to mine. But there are times when I want to stay a little longer or do some personal errands, but here she is - routinely stopping at my place of business to catch her nightly ride home!Also, there are days when I might want to go somewhere else after work, but when she shows up, I feel guilty telling her I'm not going right home.

Please tell me how to get out of this routine without making a lifelong enemy. She is not an insensitive person; she has given me some lovely gifts. But I would rather forgo her gifts and not feel responsible for her transportation five nights a week.

- Gutless Girlfriend

Dear Gutless: You managed to state the problem very clearly. Present the dilemma to her just as you have presented it to me.

Dear Abby: I struck up a conversation with a very good-looking guy at a bar, and he bought me a drink (two actually). Well, before I was halfway finished with the second drink, he was giving me this "your place or mine" routine.

Abby, what gives a man the idea that all he has to do is buy a couple of drinks for a lady and she's a cinch? I realize that women have come a long way. Not too many years ago, a woman without an escort wasn't even allowed to sit at a bar!

Fortunately, times have changed, but the attitude of most men hasn't. They still don't consider women their equals. Men continue to do the picking and choosing, and they treat women like they were put here on earth to satisfy men. I am for more equality between the sexes.

- Fresno Feminist

Dear Feminist: One "swallow" doesn't make a summer, nor do two drinks make a strange bedfellow. But if you really want to promote equality between the sexes, the next time you strike up a conversation with a guy at a bar, you buy the drinks, and you won't owe him anything.

Dear Abby: I am a 35-year-old married woman who has read your column since I was a teen-ager. I've learned a lot and trust your judgment. Here's my problem:

I've been married to "Nicky" for four years. (He's my second husband and I love him very much.) Nicky is a salesman and makes very good money, but he spends it faster than he can make it. I work too, and I bring home almost as much as he does. He's been a wonderful stepdad to my two sons, who idolize him.

Nicky is constantly in the hole, and if I hadn't bailed him out, our credit would have been ruined years ago. If I say no to him, he clams up and pulls away, so I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

Please help me. I don't want this marriage to end over money. I really love this man.

- Money Trouble

Dear Money Trouble: It's time to ask yourself why you continue to "bail out" a husband who obviously knows nothing about handling money. You need more help than I can give you in a letter - but some answers can be found in a book I have just finished. Get "Money Demons" by Dr. Susan Forward (published by Bantam Books). It contains excellent advice on how to put an end to money fights. I wish every married couple who fights about money could read this wonderful book.

Dear Abby: In A.M. Oglesby's letter from Tuscaloosa, Ala., about the possibility of post-mortem growth of hair and fingernails, he stated that a body was buried in the 17th century in New Orleans and was dug up 100 years later, and the skeleton had long hair and fingernails.

Your reply was that the story was not true - and forensic medical experts confirmed that opinion.

Abby, that story is also bogus for another reason. There was no New Orleans in the 17th century (the 1600s). New Orleans did not exist until it was founded by Jean Baptiste le Moyne in 1718 (the 18th century). Before that, there were no cemeteries in this former swamp.

- A. Morgan Brian Jr.,

Attorney-at-Law, New Orleans