DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I just came back from Mexico where I spent time with five girlfriends. I was encouraged to go by my husband, who stayed with our two kids, and I couldn't love him more than I do now. My girlfriends and I flew in from different points for this reunion and we had a great time renewing our old friendships. Some are married and some are single. We went out dancing together and the single ones did some flirting with young waiters when we were at dinners. I kept in touch daily with my husband online or by phone and came home refreshed and grateful for the darling guy I have, but here's the weird part: he said he got a lot of ribbing from two of his friends about being "a sucker," and he isn't sure if he could ever do it again. They are scheduled to come over in a big group for a winter barbecue soon and I want to cancel it. Should I? -- Hating His Friends Now, Tuxedo
Dear Hating: How could you cancel? This party is his trip. If you cancelled, your guy would be humiliated and feel like he paid twice: with the cancelled barbecue and the teasing over the trip. What you can do is corner the two guys who did the razzing at the party and tell them quietly what you think about the way they treated your husband. Express to them what the reunion trip meant to you and that you would never betray the trust of a man like that. Chances are both of these guys are on a tight leash with their mates and were simply jealous, or they know they're the types to cheat and expect everyone else to be like that.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I love my bi-polar mom, but prefer to live with my stepmom and my dad. This has my mother more depressed, but that's nothing new. Her moods go up and down. My brother, who still lives with her, says she's driving him crazy now, too, and he also wants to move in with our dad. If that happens, mom might really lose it. My mom will not take her medicines properly and that is the big problem. I feel selfish because I'm not being responsible and looking after her, but I can't do it any more, and besides, she doesn't like me nearly as much as my brother. Should I call my mom's sisters? -- Getting Scared, Winnipeg
Dear Scared: By all means, call your aunts, your grandmother, if she's alive, and your mother's closest friend. You don't say how old you are, but her mental illness is not the responsibility of her kids. Tell the adults she's not taking her medication. Talk to your dad and stepmom about needing help for your mother and your brother. Ask an aunt to phone and talk with her doctor about this. Maybe she needs some kind of home care. It's likely one of these people will step up and get things happening. Your job is to sound the alert, not to do the rest.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend and I are both 25, in love and want to run away together and get married. We don't want the social, the gifts, everybody's money, the wedding clothes, the cake, the big fuss, the big party and the paid-for honeymoon. Her parents have a fund for her wedding, should it ever happen, and mine have a liquor fund for the same thing. The only reason we haven't told anyone and set a date is we're scared this will set the whole wedding machine in motion and we wouldn't be able to stop it. How do we handle this? We just want to get married at our apartment. -- Not Going the Regular Route, West End
Dear Not: Start with a little ruse. Tell both sets of parents why you're never having a wedding and let them think about that for a while. You go about the fun part -- just loving each other. It will take a while to sift this message through their brains, especially the brain of the mother of the bride.
Many months later, when they might grateful for any wedding, you could throw a surprise wedding. You make the arrangements and invite the people you want at the last minute. Insist that the parents and your siblings come to a dress-up party at your house where you say you're going to make an important announcement. They will naturally think it's an announcement of your engagement. Just smile. Actually it's an invitation to your little wedding, the way you want it.
Get the wedding commissioner ready to go in the afternoon, have your ceremony, then lay on the food and champagne and celebrate with the family. That night, you go off on a trip together. That eliminates having to listen to all the fussing about what the two sets of parents would have been prepared to do. Suggest they use those wedding funds to go on second honeymoons themselves because that would make you very happy.