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DEAR ABBY: I am the single mother of identical twin boys. They insist on dressing alike and use their own secret language. I have always had trouble telling them apart. When they were young, it was cute, but as they are growing older I'm starting to worry.
They're 12. When they oversleep, they shower together to save time. Their teacher took me aside during a conference and said they seem to be overly affectionate with each other and might benefit from some time with a masculine role model. When I questioned her, she said there is gossip that they were seen touching and possibly even kissing.
My research has brought up the idea of "twincest," and I am worried my boys may be falling into these habits. How would you suggest making them stop? Everyone keeps suggesting separation, but they share a room and I don't have another one or the money to build one. Help!
- Mom with two much trouble
DEAR MOM: You obviously love your boys, but please stop worrying. According to David Baron, M.D. - an internationally respected psychiatrist at the University of Southern California - at this point one of the most harmful things you could do is to blow this out of proportion. Twins have a special bond. They feel safer with each other than with their peers. If this persists, consult a therapist, for your peace of mind if nothing else. But please do not jump the gun because of gossip.
DEAR ABBY: I wear dentures. I have never gone out in public without them. However, I have seen people I know take them out in restaurants, etc. It is not only awful to look at, but don't they realize how they look? Am I shallow for not wanting anyone to see me without my "smile"? Is there some social etiquette that's being broken?
- Toothless in Colorado
DEAR TOOTHLESS: Of course there is. The active word here is "discretion." If a dental appliance is ill-fitting and uncomfortable, it should not be left on the table or displayed like a goldfish in a glass of water for all to admire. And need I add that a trip to the dentist should be scheduled ASAP to remedy the problem?
DEAR ABBY: I'm a college student and still live with my parents. My two older sisters moved out years ago. I never asked them why, but I'm sure it's because our father is emotionally abusive. He talks down to us and makes us feel inadequate.
He has belittled my mother for years, to the point that she doesn't bother arguing with him anymore. She used to play music all the time, but she's now afraid to "bother anybody." I can honestly say I never loved my father, and I wish Mom had divorced him years ago.
The few times I have tried to talk to him, he overreacted and accused me of being a drama queen who blows things out of proportion. He's almost 60 but has the emotional depth of a spoiled, angry 12-year-old. How can I convince Mom that leaving him will do her more good than harm?
- No love for dad in California
DEAR NO LOVE FOR DAD: You can't do that unless you fully understand her reasons for staying with your father. Women stay with abusive men for various reasons. Some of them do it because they are so emotionally beaten down they think they have no other choice. Some stay because they are financially dependent, and others do it because they are afraid of being alone. She may be biding her time until you are out of the house, or she may love your father.