DEAR ABBY: I would like to know what the fascination is with putting plugs in one's earlobes. I have seen some as large as half dollar coins. What does the person do if he regrets having done this to his ears? Can the holes be surgically closed? -- UNPIERCED IN SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.
DEAR UNPIERCED: I spoke to James Wisniewski of the Body Electric Tattoo piercing studio in Los Angeles. He told me that, as with any type of body modification, the ear plugs are a matter of personal taste.
The process is referred to as "stretching," and James has had his earlobes this way for the past 14 years. He says he is asked about the procedure on a daily basis. He is attracted to it for the aesthetics. The modification is a gradual process, with larger jewelry being inserted as the hole becomes larger.
James recommends consulting a plastic surgeon if someone decides to have the hole closed because new tissue is grown as a result of the earlobe stretching. The extra skin may have to be removed in the same way as after a major weight loss.
DEAR ABBY: I am 17 and I want to start writing a book about things I have been through in my life. My family is all for it, but my friends are against it. I am torn about what I should do. I feel if I write this book it will help kids my age who may have been through some of the same things I have.
Should I go through with it or not because my friends think it's a stupid idea? I know I'm not exactly the smartest person and getting a publisher is difficult, but does that make it a stupid idea to try? What should I do? -- CONFLICTED IN INDIANA
DEAR CONFLICTED: Your reason for wanting to write a book is a valid one and you should proceed with it regardless of what your friends think. It will help you organize your thoughts, and if you show your chapters to your English teacher, you can effectively sharpen your writing skills.
Worrying about a publisher now is putting the cart before the horse. While it might be helpful for other teens to read, I promise you that even if the book isn't published, it will become a treasured time capsule containing the thoughts that were important to you during this formative period of your life. Some people your age start writing in diaries or journals and continue doing it throughout their lives.
DEAR ABBY: What is the correct response when asked at a doctor's office or hospital if you drink? I drink socially, maybe once a month. Should I say yes? If I do, I'm afraid it will imply that I drink more often.
I always end up feeling awkward and like I need to explain myself. I'm pretty proud telling them I don't smoke or do drugs, but the alcohol question always gets me. What do other people who drink on occasion usually say? -- FILLING OUT THE FORMS IN OHIO
DEAR FILLING: In my doctor's office I was asked that question, and my response was, "Yes, occasionally." At that point, the follow-up question was, "How many drinks do you have a week?" Because this particular question makes you uncomfortable, mention to your physician that you indulge in alcohol only about once a month -- which is practically negligible.
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