DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old granddaughter is 5 feet 9 inches tall. She walks hunched over, and when she stands with a group, she keeps her legs 2 feet apart. She's on a softball team and is always sitting on the ground in the dugout.
She is the tallest one in the seventh grade in her school. Some of her classmates call her the "giant." I've been with her when someone approaches her who hasn't seen her in a while and says, "Wow! You have grown really tall."
She hates school and has no friends. She also happens to be very pretty. She's taller than anyone in the family. What can we do for her?
- Grandpa in Indiana
DEAR GRANDPA: Being perceived as different at your granddaughter's age can be very painful. The best thing you can do for her right now is to be supportive.
Keep telling her that being tall is not only nothing to be ashamed of, but it can be an asset. Encourage her to find activities she is interested in. Remind her that fashion models are tall women, many of whom were teased about their height when they were her age.
Tall women of note: Taylor Swift, Gisele Bundchen, Nicole Kidman, Venus and Serena Williams, Brooke Shields, Geena Davis and Michelle Obama immediately come to mind. First daughter Malia Obama was 5 feet 9 at 13, like your granddaughter. They "own" who they are and carry themselves with pride. Enrolling your granddaughter in some modeling classes may help her to feel less awkward about her height.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 33-year-old single woman, a nurse who paid for my own education and am still trying to further it. I was talking to a friend the other day about dating, and I said I wouldn't date someone who made half or less than what I do. I was used as a cash cow in previous relationships and I'm not putting up with it anymore. She said it makes me a snob because not everyone earns what I do.
Abby, I'm generous toward my loved ones. But I feel that in this day and age, people can always better themselves like I have, and I don't want another man thinking I will support him. It's not fair to me. Any advice?
- Looking for My Equal
DEAR LOOKING: Your friend was correct when she said not everyone has the earning capacity that you do. But you are right in your conviction that people can better themselves if they are determined to do it.
Considering your personal history, I don't think you're a snob for feeling the way you do. That said, however, I would hate to think you might exclude a great guy who earns less, because he could be helpful in other ways and have qualities the others don't.