DEAR ABBY: I'm in my early 30s. I live and work in a beach town and visit the ocean often on my time off. I have a large tattoo on my side, and while it's tasteful and well done, it depicts nudity (an angel). It's always covered by a shirt and never exposed at work.


While I know we're living in a progressive era of expression, including body art, I wonder if it's appropriate to go shirtless and display edgier graphic images like mine. Or could it be considered offensive to some folks who are not as open-minded?


I see plenty of other people display all kinds of ink at the beach, even with kids around. I have only had positive feedback about mine. The beachgoers I've met seem to be open-minded. To cover up or let it show -- what are your thoughts? -- TATTED IN FLORIDA


DEAR TATTED: If you want to get a tan, then go for it, but use sunscreen. However, not all beachgoers will be thrilled seeing a large naked angel getting roasted on the sand, so if you receive stares or critical comments, you may be more comfortable covering up.


DEAR ABBY: I am married to the kindest and most wonderful man in the world. We are happy and enjoy each other's company.


He is impotent and was taking medication to correct it while we were dating and at the beginning of our marriage. The medication gave him terrible headaches, so we agreed to just let the sexual aspect of our marriage go by the wayside. That was 10 years ago. I was OK with it until I started dreaming about having sex with random men. Yikes!


I love my husband and would never cheat on him. I'm at a loss. Please help. -- JUST A DREAM


DEAR JUST A DREAM: Being able to talk about these dreams may help them be less troubling and probably less frequent. If discussing them with your husband might upset or threaten him -- you know him better than I do -- then talk with a trusted friend or relative or a licensed mental health professional so you can vent. Of one thing I am sure: The harder one tries to suppress dreams, the more often they occur.


DEAR ABBY: I have very loud joints. When I stretch out my neck, back, fingers, etc., my joints pop, click, crack, whatever you call it. They've always done this, and it isn't painful. The noise just happens when I stretch my body.


Some of my family and friends tell me they find it gross and don't want to hear it. I want to be considerate, but sometimes I pop my joints automatically without thinking or because I really need to stretch. Is making this sound rude? I don't try to make a lot of noise, but I can't help it. -- NOISY LADY IN MICHIGAN


DEAR NOISY LADY: According to the Cleveland Clinic, the older a person gets, the more noise one's joints can make. This is normal. However, if there is pain along with it, it may be time to consult a doctor.


Because the noise is disconcerting to those around you, try to be mindful and refrain from doing it in their presence, or gently stretch the muscles around those joints, which may eliminate your need to "pop off" entirely.


DEAR ABBY: I'm in high school. My boyfriend lives across the country in a different state. He is a teenager, too. I have asked people for advice about this before and mostly gotten the same answer. They say, "Wait 'til you're older," or, "Your mom is just looking out for you." I don't believe it.


So I'm asking for advice on how to tell my mom that I'm in a long-distance relationship, and I would like to meet him in person. We met on a game about a year and a half ago. We've dated twice before for about a month or two. But now we have been dating for almost five months.


When I told my mom about him, she didn't like him. She doesn't even know him! How can I convince her that he's a good person and she just has to get to know him so she'll let me see him? I'm afraid to tell her because the idea makes me nervous. She refuses to understand that he is good to me, and he loves me and I love him. Although we're only teenagers, we have talked about forever. Do you have any advice for me? -- STRUGGLING IN PENNSYLVANIA


DEAR STRUGGLING: Yes, I do, and I hope you will take to heart what I am about to say because I am not patronizing you. Look at this from your mother's perspective. This young man is someone she has never met in person and neither have you. Yes, you have been talking, but there is no guarantee that he is everything he has represented himself to be in those conversations.


It is a mother's job to protect her child. There is truth to the statement that she is "just looking out for you." I believe the feelings you have for this young man are valid, but I also feel that if he lived close by and your mother could meet him, things might be different.


For the time being, continue communicating with him and perhaps a more serious relationship will develop. However, consider this: What would you do if you finally found yourself in the same room with him and the chemistry wasn't what you expected it would be? This has been known to happen. (Trust me on that!) Time will tell if this is the real thing.


DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I have been separated for nearly a year. Prior to this we dated for nearly four years.


After her mom passed, she fell into a depression and was grieving deeply. I went to see her and she said it was over. We've had some contact, but it has dwindled to nothing. I brought my cat into the relationship, and now she won't give it back. She isn't answering my phone calls or texts. I'm blocked. I've tried letters and had friends try to talk to her. It's just mind-boggling.


She's 57 years old. She's not a spring chicken. I will have to go to small claims court to get my cat back. I'd like to salvage the relationship and try to avoid all this. -- CAT PROBLEMS IN FLORIDA


DEAR CAT PROBLEMS: You seem like a nice person, and I sympathize, so I will offer this observation. You deserve an apology from that woman for her behavior. Do not try to salvage the relationship, which appears to have ended when her mother died. In time, you will find a lady friend who will reciprocate your feelings. Do take her to small claims court to get your cat back because, as it stands, it is the safest and most legal way you are going to have your furry family member returned.