Carolyn, my dear:

I'm a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding. I am older than he and his bride-to-be (I'm 26). I am also older than all the gals in the bridal party and most of the groomsmen. I expect questions all night about when I'm getting married, whom I'm dating, whether I'm next in line, etc. Short of wrapping my pretty little manicured fingers around someone's neck, how do I handle these questions with tact? It's NOT anyone's business. Geesh.

-- Already Peeved


Anyone who uses the occasion (and your imminent fossilization) to pry into your personal life is either conversationally challenged or too rude to live. Fortunately, both cease to be your problem the moment you walk away. Which I suggest you do -- but not before you serve up a carefully crafted nugget of non-information. A snappy comeback is tempting ("I'll sleep better knowing you care"), but it tells your inquisitors you're bitter and alone. Just stick with the truth: "I'm not in any hurry."

Dear Carolyn:

I need advice on how NOT to be a good host. I recently moved to a warm climate to attend school, and my friends are all eager to visit. One has already made a pilgrimage to visit me, and was such a disagreeable houseguest that I would like to avoid hosting this person again.

My guest insisted on going to expensive restaurants that I admitted my strict student's budget couldn't accommodate. She pouted when I had to attend a meeting about which I had told her before her arrival, and tried loudly, rudely and for at least an hour to get me to play hooky. When I tried to leave, she wanted to know how I expected to entertain her for the hours I would be gone. She left clothes and bedding scattered about the living room where she slept. I found food ground into the carpet and under the couch after she left. When I allowed her to drive my car, she weaved all over the road and greatly exceeded the speed limit, even after I asked her to please be careful with my car. She continually changed plans and then blamed me when we never had time to actually do what she finally settled on. She was rude to my friends. During the ride to the airport (in which she hung the crotch of her damp swimsuit over a headrest to dry), she said she wanted to come back every chance she gets.

Carolyn, I would rather be flogged. How can I politely refuse this girl?

-- My Bones Are Made of Runny Vanilla Pudding

You didn't sign your e-mail, so I took the liberty.

This moon pig has earned the following refusal: "No." You know the word? The one you should have used for the expensive restaurants, for your playing hooky (total required argument time: 00:00:02), for amusing her in your absence, for leaving her clothes all over your living room, for eating off your rug, for using your car, for changing plans, for dissing your friends, for soaking your headrest?

You know, the word your mouth can't form?

The advice you need is how NOT to try soooo hard to be liked. You have your needs, principles and limits, and friends either respect them or aren't your friends. Do try this at home.

Dear Carolyn:

My 16-year-old daughter just informed me yesterday that she is pregnant. She has also told me her world would come to an end if she were forced to have an abortion. As a single mom of two, I am in no position to raise another child. I am looking for a resource to guide us through this process. I am not pro-abortion but I do feel very strongly that a 16-year-old "child" has no business having a child.

-- Virginia

Yoo-hoo, what of the baby's world when he's "forced" into a home that's not ready for him? Has she thought of that? Better question: Has she thought?

People who have thought of all this, and of your anguish, and your daughter's stupidity, and stuff you can't get your mind around yet, are available at Planned Parenthood. You can reach them by phone -- 800-230-PLAN -- or by Web -- -- and do some one-stop, knocked-up-teenager shopping. Any one of their centers will offer a complete rundown of your options right now, including abortion -- though abortion by force is a definite non-starter. They also offer full prenatal care or referrals to places that offer it, and adoption services or referrals to places that offer them.

In case there's a smudge on your newspaper: adoption services or referrals to places that offer them.

I'd type it again if I thought it would help. Please, both of you, consider this. Being old enough for sex, which she apparently thinks she is, means being old enough to put her baby's needs over her own. Time for a big girl to figure that out.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or, and join Carolyn's live discussion at 8 p.m. tomorrow or at noon Wednesday or Friday at