Dr. Wallace:

About a month ago I met a guy who was “cruising” the mall with his friends. We talked for about 10 minutes. I had to leave because I was at the mall with my mom. I really thought this guy was sweet and I was upset because we didn’t exchange telephone numbers.

Then about a week ago I went to the grocery store with my sister and who do I see but Jeff! We talked again for a few minutes and this time he asked me for my telephone number and I was very happy to give it to him. He said he would call me in a few days because he was in the process of breaking up with his girlfriend.

When my sister and I finished grocery shopping and were walking to our car I saw Jeff sitting in a truck with his father. When he saw me, he yelled out, “Hey Sandy, shake your stuff for my old man.” I was super embarrassed and didn’t say anything in return.

I still would like to go out with Jeff, but my sister has advised me not to. Please give me your advice and please hurry because I want to have my mind made up before he calls.

— Sandy, Toledo, Ohio.

Sandy: Take your sister’s advice. Jeff is rude and crude and showed no respect for you. When he calls, tell him no and ask him to please not call you again.

Dr. Wallace: I read your column every day and enjoy it very much; you give teens good advice.

I am a gay man. Before living in California, I lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where I belonged to the Lesbian/Gay Community Center of Greater Cleveland and was an operator on the center’s hot line for seven years.

In your article on teen suicide, you forgot to mention that the highest percentage of male teen suicides were gay. From my years as an operator, I cannot count the many times I received calls from gay teens who were having trouble coming to the realization that they were gay. If you check the facts, you’ll find that the suicide percentage is very high for gay male teens.

— Ted, San Francisco, Calif.

Ted: I mentioned in the column that teens are especially susceptible to suicide when they are striving to establish an identity and develop the capacity to form loving relationships. At this crucial time they need guidance and stability from their parents. For many reasons, including the confusion and isolation that result from feeling they are outside the norm, gay teens often find adolescence a particularly trying and painful time. The tragic result is a high number of suicide attempts.

Thanks for your information. It is important.

Dr. Wallace: You said that blackheads are not caused by dirt. If that’s true, what makes them black? I still think blackheads are bits of dirt that clog pores.

— Bob, Rochester, N.Y.

Bob: Blackheads are not bits of dirt. During the teen years, glands produce an excess of oil. When a pore is clogged with excessive oil near the surface of the skin, usually on the face, exposure to the air turns the clogged pore black. It’s the same chemical reaction that turns a peeled apple brown.

Don’t squeeze blackheads. They could turn into pimples and cause scarring. Your best bet is to see a dermatologist, who can easily remove blackheads without causing skin damage.

— Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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