DEAR ABBY: I have a problem with people in our church congregation who want to greet me with a kiss. Please advise me on how to handle this delicate situation.
I don't want to hurt any feelings; these are nice people. However, lips carry germs, and I have a weak immune system. I have tried extending my hand in greeting, but one man smooched me anyway, saying, "I don't shake hands with girls!" Abby, I'm 70 and hardly a "girl," and I didn't appreciate his rejection of my handshake.
Do you think it will work if I tell him and others that I have a contagious disease that causes men's lips to dry up and fall off? -- DEANNA IN FLORIDA
DEAR DEANNA: No. It would be more to the point to tell your fellow church members that you have a fragile immune system and are susceptible to viruses -- which is why you prefer to shake hands. It's the truth. And if the man who smooched you continues to be a problem, talk to your clergyperson about it.
DEAR ABBY: I have met my soul mate. She has the same name as my ex-wife. How do we remedy this? It is driving me nuts! -- SCOTT IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR SCOTT: Remember when you were in school and there were several students in a class who shared the same name? Some of them would adopt a nickname. If it's OK with your soul mate, she can certainly do the same. But consider the upside for you. The fact that your new lady's and ex-wife's names match guarantees you won't ever slip and call her by the wrong one.
DEAR ABBY: I am hoping you might have a suggestion on how to handle cigarette smokers who ignore my requests to not smoke in my direction. I have severe allergies, and I also suffer from dry eye syndrome. Even after I have told smokers that their addiction worsens my condition they continue, assuming that by cracking a window the room is ventilated. -- FRUSTRATED IN TURLOCK, CALIF.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: I do have a suggestion, one that is time-honored and effective. Safeguard your health by avoiding anyone who continues to smoke after having been told that it negatively affects you.
DEAR ABBY: A year ago, I married an old and dear friend. We have both been through marriage, divorce and difficult relationships. At last, I finally found the person I was meant to be with.
My husband's parents have been gone for several years, but I was fortunate enough to know them before they died. We went to visit their graves the day after our wedding, and I placed two pennies I had been saving on their headstone -- one dated 1968 for me and one dated 1963 for him.
Last week I received several pennies in change and dropped them into my wallet. When I fished them out later, I was delighted to see that one was from 1968 and the other was from 1963! I believe in my heart it's his parents' way of telling us that they are happy we are together. -- LUCKY BRIDE IN MAINE
DEAR LUCKY BRIDE: And I can't think of a more meaningful wedding gift you could have received from your late in-laws. May you and your soul mate enjoy many happy, healthy years together.