DEAR ABBY: I love my daughter-in-law and I am afraid she is harming herself because of her addiction to tanning. Her boys are in high school and cannot remember their mother without a really dark tan. One son told his classmates in grade school that his mother was African-American when they were doing African-American studies. (She's Caucasian.)
My son says that he cannot convince her to "lighten up" a bit. I don't know what to do. I am . . .
- So Concerned for Her in Illinois
DEAR SO CONCERNED: You are right to be concerned for your daughter-in-law. For years, dermatologists have cautioned the public about the dangers of exposure to the sun. With the invention of tanning beds, the rates of melanoma among young people have soared. For anyone who isn't aware, melanoma is an aggressive type of skin cancer that can be fatal.
Tanning can be addictive, and you should urge your daughter-in-law to discuss this with a dermatologist. Because tanning also causes premature aging of the skin, she should explore "sunless tanning," which is much safer.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 18, and I'm leaving for college this fall. My boyfriend "Matt" will be attending community college nearby.
I want to live the next four years to the fullest. So, I want to be single so I can have a good time and be a little reckless without worrying about him.
I love Matt, but I want to find out what other fish are in the sea before I settle down. What should I do?
- Wants the Best of Both Worlds
DEAR WANTS THE BEST: The kindest thing to do would be to tell Matt that while you care deeply for him, because you are going to be separated for the next four years, you feel both of you should be free to date others. Whether or not the next four years will be the best years of your life - one would hope you have more than four - they will be an important growth period for both you and Matt, and each of you should explore them to the fullest without being encumbered.