Dear Annie: I am a 17-year-old straight-A student and have sound judgment for most things, but I’m not sure about this.

I have started seeing “Michael,” a 25-year-old guy. I know it’s a big age difference, but everything else about our relationship is perfect. So far, we have only gone out to public places and for limited amounts of time. I feel like I am being smart about this, but if I look at the situation objectively, the age difference gives me pause.

My parents do not know about my relationship with Michael and I feel horrible hiding it. I have confided in one friend so that if I need her, she can pick me up and drive me home. I feel as if I am safe but still, I don’t know what to do.

Should I tell Michael to wait until I am old enough for this to be appropriate? I don’t want him to find someone else and forget about me. I really like him, and I don’t want him to get into any legal trouble. What would you do if you really loved a guy in this situation? — Lost in Love

Dear Lost: Here is what we get: You are hiding the relationship from your parents, you feel safe only because you are meeting in public places and have a friend to contact in case of emergency, and your gut is telling you that this is not an appropriate relationship. We are strong believers in heeding your inner voice. It’s trying to tell you to back away.

Michael may be a great guy, and the age difference is not what counts here. It’s that you are 17, and your level of experience is limited. He is 25 and probably looking for something more serious than you are prepared for, and you shouldn’t be rushed. Not to mention, we worry about a 25-year-old who is romantically pursuing a high school student. Please confide in your parents, let them meet Michael in person, and then they can advise you.

Dear Annie: Please print this letter and remind people that if they walk out of a restaurant without paying the check, it is the server who suffers, not the restaurant. Also, the practice of dunning the wait staff for an unpaid bill is illegal under federal law, but it happens anyway. My daughter suffered through it last night. — Angry in Louisville, Ky.

Dear Angry: You are right that not paying the bill is illegal and forcing the server to pay it is also illegal. If your daughter has been saddled with a customer’s unpaid bill, tell her to call the U.S. Departmenty of Labor’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-487-9243 and report it.

Dear Annie: Veterans for Peace is interested in returning the Nov. 11 celebration back to its original intent of celebrating peace, rather than war and warriors. We would like to ask all churches to ring their bells 11 times on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. and have a moment of prayer for peace.

On Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice was signed to stop war between the nations that had been fighting World War I. In 1928, peaceful nations met in Paris and signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, legally banning all wars. In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day official.

In 1954, however, Congress moved to change the word “armistice” to “veterans,” which also changed the focus of the celebration from peace to war. Veterans for Peace is asking all churches to ring their bells on Nov. 11 and have a moment of prayer for peace. — Samuel H. Winstead, Veterans for Peace

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