Annie's Mailbox: Being made fun of in junior high

Dear Annie: I started junior high in September. Everything was going fine, although I wish I could be more popular and stuff like that.

This one guy had a crush on me and asked me out. We had only texted and never really talked in person. So I said no. Now he's taking it personally.

I have very full lips like Angelina Jolie, which he says make me look like a duck. So all his friends are now making fun of me. They make quacking noises and call me duck names. The boy who likes me says he doesn't think I look like a duck, yet he makes fun of me with his friends. I know people say when a guy makes fun of you, he really likes you, but I don't think that is necessarily true.

I act like it doesn't bother me, but I'm afraid they'll keep doing it for the rest of the year. It's ruining my chances with other guys because no one wants to go out with "the duck." They are taking away my dignity. I know I'll be grateful for my lips when I'm older, but this is wrecking my self-esteem. Please help.

— Duck Girl in New York

Dear New York: This is a form of bullying, and it can have an extremely deleterious effect on your high-school experience if it doesn't stop immediately. You sound like a smart girl with a lot of common sense, so we know you can weather this. But these kids should not get away with bullying. Please talk it over with your parents and consider reporting it to the school guidance counselor or principal.

Dear Annie: Can you tell me what the etiquette is for leftovers when a guest brings a dish to dinner?

A friend brought a covered casserole to my house and, when she left, retrieved it from the fridge. Since there were only two forkfuls left, we were surprised. We've never had a guest do this before. Is she rude, or is this acceptable behavior?

— No Leftovers

Dear No Leftovers: When someone brings a dish, the leftovers usually stay with the hosts unless otherwise specified. However, with only two forkfuls left, it's more likely your friend simply wanted to be sure she retrieved her covered dish and the food was incidental.

Dear Annie: Your answer to "Worried Daughter" was dead on. She said her mother was drinking and driving, and you told her to call the police. More family members need to bear a little more responsibility when they see that one of their loved ones is putting others at risk.

My father was a police officer who was going through a deep depression, and his drinking was completely out of control. One week before Christmas, my mother informed me that once again Dad was at the local bar. I told her if he killed a family just days before Christmas, that murder would be on her shoulders if she didn't do anything about his drinking. Her response? "How could I do that to your father?"

So I did it for her. I called and told the bartender that if he served one more drink to my father, he, too, would be at fault if an innocent family was killed on his drive home. I told him to take away Dad's car keys. My father was very angry and incredibly embarrassed. But he also got a wakeup call.

"Worried Daughter" should absolutely call the police and protect the other people on the road from her drunk mother. It may seem cruel, but killing an innocent family is crueler. And who knows, maybe her mother will react the way my father did and finally get the help she needs. I am happy to say Dad is now sober and has often thanked me for shaking him up.

— Not Worried Anymore in Canada

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