Abby: Secret engagement should stay secret a bit longer

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I have been dating my boyfriend, “Derek,” for four years. After a night of emotion-filled discussion, he asked me to marry him. I said yes, but it has always been a difficult idea for me to wrap my head around. I’m turning 21 and although that may be old enough for some people to get married and have kids, it scares the heck out of me.

I love Derek and I want to marry him one day. He assured me we could stay “engaged” for a few years, but it still makes me uneasy. We don’t have a ring yet, and we agreed that we wouldn’t tell our families until we get one. It doesn’t feel real because of that — could that be why I’m so nervous?

I need a second opinion and some advice on whether to wait to tell anyone or tell people now.

Cold Feet

Dear Cold Feet: An engagement with no ring and no announcement hardly seems like an engagement at all. That’s why you and Derek should rethink making any announcements until you BOTH feel ready to take such a big step. When the time is right, the idea of marriage and children will make you feel happy, not frightened.

Frankly, I think your fears may be well founded because you have had little life experience — and once the ball starts rolling, stopping it may be complicated. That’s why you and Derek should remain in a holding pattern until you are more confident about what you want to do.

Dear Abby: Although I am not considered bad looking, I’m not extremely beautiful either. Guys find my friends prettier than me.

For a few years I have been thinking about getting a nose job. My parents say I need to wait for all my facial features to adjust to my growing body to prevent facial disfigurement in the future. I think that’s just an excuse. When is the right age to get a nose job?

Alabama Teen

Dear Teen: This is a question that should be answered by your personal physician. You didn’t state your age, but I don’t think your parents are stalling. According to WebMD, it is very important that before a young person has a nose job the facial bones have reached “adult size.” The usual age for girls’ noses to mature is 15 or 16. (Interestingly, for boys it is a year or so later.)

Dear Abby: I like to wear a suit and tie to a church where most people dress casually. Sometimes I hear seemingly judgmental comments about my clothing. What would be a good reaction and reply?

Jeff in Fullerton, Calif.

Dear Jeff: People who make such comments about your attire aren’t worth the effort. I’d advise against getting into a spitting contest with a viper, because it might mess up your suit.

To My Muslim Readers: It’s time to break the Ramadan fast. Happy Eid al-Fitr, everyone.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.