Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m addressing this letter to all the high school guys out there who are too shy to ask a girl for a date. I represent the millions of intelligent, fun-loving girls who spend endless weekends dateless because guys are too shy to call for a date or are too afraid the girl will say no! Just think of all the fun and excitement you and your date will never have just because you don’t ask. Even when a girl says no, it doesn’t necessarily mean never. It could mean “Not now, but call me later.”

Trust me when I say that it’s a big rush when a girl is asked out. Boys, give it a try. Pick up the phone and call the number that could change your life for the better. We will be waiting for your call. Yes, some of us will ask you out, but deep down, we still want you to do the asking. Don’t wait another minute. Call now!

— Ready for Some

Nice Dates,

Kansas City, Missouri

Dear Ready: Shy guys need all the moral support they can get. Thanks for telling it like it is. Too bad you didn’t disclose your phone number, or your phone would be ringing off the hook with date offers from shy guys around Kansas City! It’s nice that you are willing to provide your own brand of advice to your fellow teens (teen guys, in this instance). I approve of your bold suggestion and am pleased to print your letter here in the great newspapers that run this column!

Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m 16, and my boyfriend is 17. I love him a lot. He doesn’t smoke or do drugs, but he does get high by sniffing fumes from hairspray and cooking sprays. I tell him not to, but he sprays the stuff into a towel and sniffs the fumes like a fiend. He pulls his face out of the towel and has a really weird look on his face. Then he laughs in a really awkward, haunting way. It literally freaks me out! He says that he read somewhere that “sniffing” is safe and doesn’t cause any harm to the body. He said he likes the short rush it gives him and that it’s not addictive.

Just how safe is sniffing? I don’t want him to hurt himself. Besides being my boyfriend, he’s also my best friend. He has offered to give me a sniff, but I won’t go near his smelly, fuming towels — ever.

— Scared Sniffless, Seattle

Dear Scared Sniffless: Sniffing is absolutely not safe, and I urge you to do everything you possibly can to get your boyfriend to stop this destructive behavior. This practice can cause a number of physical maladies and sometimes leads to death.

Fatalities can occur in a variety of ways. Some spray inhalants, for instance, coat the lungs such that oxygen cannot penetrate the sticky film, causing the inhaler to suffocate. In order to get more inhalants into their bodies more quickly, some users place a plastic bag over their head to cover their nose and mouth. The method can be so successful that they lose consciousness — with the bag still on their head. In this case, too, the sniffer may suffocate.

Sniffers lucky enough to avoid the worst nevertheless often suffer from such side effects such as loss of coordination, loss of appetite, temporary loss of consciousness, drowsiness, sores on the nose or mouth, loss of balance, double vision, eye pain, headaches, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, partial paralysis, numbness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, chest pains, increased salivation and whole-body weakness.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@thegreatestgift.com

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