DR. WALLACE: I’m 18 and dating a real sweet guy who is also 18.

We have been dating each other for over six months, and I really like him. I’ve dated a lot of guys before, some nice ones and a few jerks, but this guy is different. He is kind and honest and always in a good mood. I really think I could consider him a “keeper.”

I am a graduating senior in high school, have good grades and have been accepted at the University of Connecticut. But I’m not sure if I want to go to college now that I’m really getting serious about Tony.

Tony was not serious about college because he has worked in his father’s auto repair business after school all through high school. He has decided not to further his education because he will end up with a good job in his dad’s business and he really likes working there and makes good money.

My problem is that I made the mistake of telling my mom that Tony drinks a couple of beers with his friends after work. Now both my parents despise Tony because of this and, although I have never seen him drunk, they think he will not be a safe driver for me to ride with him. I thought they liked him before, but now they find fault with him just because he has a few beers.

What can I do to convince my parents that a couple beers a day is no big deal and that Tony is a guy I’m thinking seriously about marrying?

Christy, Bridgeport, Conn.

CHRISTY: Tony has a serious drinking problem. If he doesn’t change his drinking habit, chances are good that his alcoholic intake will increase in time.

Presently, it’s not the amount of beer consumed daily; it’s the fact that he drinks every day. And even one alcoholic drink can affect the driver’s ability to drive safely.

Even though he might not be legally drunk, drinking two beers definitely puts him at risk as a driver.

I’m sorry that I can’t tell you what to do to convince your parents that drinking two beers is no big deal, because it is.

DR. WALLACE: I’m a 19-year-old guy, and I’m embarrassed to tell you that I’m a college student and I’ve never been on a date. I guess I’ve always been afraid to ask a girl out because I was afraid she might turn me down and that would be humiliating. I’ve got to get some courage and ask someone to go to a party or a movie, because it’s just no fun to go alone.

I really need to know how to ask a girl out without her telling me to get lost. Can you help?

Nameless, Pekin, Ill.

NAMELESS: First of all, you must understand that it is all right to be turned down for a date. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Every guy at one time or another has been told, “Thanks, but no thanks” — but they have also heard, “Thanks for asking; I’d love to go out with you.” The key is, you’ve got to ask.

I’m positive there are some girls in Pekin who would be thrilled to have your company for an evening. Some of them are sitting at home this very evening waiting for someone like you to ask them out.

When you are approaching someone for a possible date, wear a smile and be super polite. She may be busy, and she might say, “I’m busy that evening, but you can call me again.” Don’t be discouraged.

Babe Ruth struck out more than 1,000 times, but he also hit 714 career home runs. He is known more for his home runs than for his strikeouts!

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