Hi!

I am a 16-year-old strong Christian. I am pretty devastated about what I've been hearing at church. Some people were having a problem with the way others dressed, showing up in jeans (none have holes in them), T-shirts (clean), sweat shirts (clean). They think it is unholy and is showing God no respect.

I don't see the problem. They are missing the most important thing. Acceptance. We are supposed to love first and judge never. Please help people realize the first commandment Jesus gave us was, "Love everyone as I have loved you."

--Reminding People of the Message in Minnesota

So holey is unholy but unholey's okay?

Having seen all the ball caps in restaurants I ever care to see, I'm going to side with the church ladies here.

But only after I ridicule them for such shameless use of God. They howl through their hymnals on (allegedly) His behalf, and forget that if they were really feeling Christian, they'd just be happy the pews were full. You have a good eye for hypocrisy.

Remove God from the argument, though, and the hypocrisy goes, too. What's left is the point: The jeans-wearers are showing disrespect--to the cleric, to the church ladies, to you even. To people. To anyone who follows the rules.

Our society is generally free of dress codes, which is by and large a good thing, but it does leave the clothing question to people's best judgment, which is by and large a joke. When T-shirts tour Europe and jeans go to church and sweats come to dinner, good taste becomes a casualty of casual.

This isn't the merits-of-purple-plaid kind of taste; I'm talking about having some functional clue to what other people are wearing. Want jeans in church? Great! Hold an informal service.

The argument for jeans, of course, is the almighty Comfort--and it's almighty lame. Ever hear of khakis? Muumuus? Knits? Decorum doesn't need starch.

Meanwhile, if the theory is that God doesn't mind denim--and I find it hard to believe He cares--you could also argue He'd be fine if you worshiped at home. Attending church is a social construct, fabricated by humans just like the clothing itself. So isn't the real hypocrisy in observing some cultural mores while self-righteously snubbing some others?

Dear Carolyn:

A bright, charming, single co-worker and I clicked from the moment we first started working together, and became friends. I've always had a romantic affection for her.

One day, after describing some of my home-remodeling projects, she made a generous offer to help. I didn't want to lose such a unique opportunity, so I began a frantic pace of detailed planning and purchasing of supplies, fixtures and extra tools. As materials arrived and plans began to take shape, I confirmed a day we could begin the project.

During the week before our day, I continued my frantic pace--picking up last-minute items, washing my vehicles, manicuring the yard, cleaning the house, picking up special groceries, etc. Twenty minutes before our agreed time, she called to apologize and say she could not make it, and dismissed any chance of rescheduling.

And to think I was willing to give my left arm for this woman! What kind of friend would treat another in such an inconsiderate manner?

--Fully Armed

The kind you scare the bejesus out of. Ever heard of dinner?

You may have done your frenzied chores in the privacy of your home, but you can't tell me you kept your eagerness! eagerness! eagerness! locked in the garage. That's the kind of thing that leaks out of containers and busts through doors and chases you down at work and lights you up like a one-man doof parade. Oh, the joy of being human.

Another of those joys is the ability to sense "I want to mate with you" vibes from 50 paces. If she caught the wispiest whiff of your enthusiasm--I think we can stipulate she did--she probably realized she was picking up renovation skills and you were picking out china. With such a yawning gap in expectations, her canceling wasn't rude so much as an abrupt dose of mercy. I know, that's not what you worked so hard to get. I'm sorry.

But I bet the place looks great!

Dear Carolyn:

I have been married since May, but I don't really think of myself as married. I use both my and my husband's name, still meet single men and think . . . hmm, would I date him? I resent a little having to check my spending with my husband, and can't really imagine that he plans to spend forever with me--though he is quite sure that's what he wants. Is this just a normal transition phase?

--Way Out West

I'm going to venture a "no" here, but I'd really rather it came from a therapist. It's not that noticing men is a stopper--marriage doesn't shut down the senses (at least not so quickly). It's that a sign of past damage is often a present sense of detachment, and you sure do seem to have that. Please talk to a pro.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or tellme@washpost.com, and join Carolyn's live discussion at noon today or at 8 p.m. Monday on The Post's Web site, washingtonpost.com/liveonline