DEAR ABBY: I'm a senior in high school and about to graduate. The week after graduation, one of my close friends is getting married. I have no qualms about the marriage, but I'm confused about the pre-wedding parties.
The bride and groom are registered at three stores and have had a Tupperware party already. However, I have received an invitation to a lingerie party to which guests have been instructed to bring the bride lingerie with gift receipts attached.
Am I wrong in thinking that buying intimate apparel is the responsibility of the couple? I plan to buy them a wedding gift from the registry, but I feel odd being asked to essentially contribute to their sex life. Abby, if I decline the invitation, what would be the proper way to do it? -- BRINGING A BLENDER IN MONTANA
DEAR B.A.B.: If you are unable to attend the shower, all you need to say is you're unavailable on that date. You do not have to give a reason. However, lingerie showers can be a fun way for women to bond with each other. I once attended one at which a guest jokingly brought the bride a pair of handcuffs. (In Montana, a set of spurs might make an interesting gag gift.)
However, if you prefer not to "contribute to the couple's sex life," why not bring a high-necked flannel nightgown? Your gift could be the talk of the party.
Readers, care to offer any other gift suggestions?
DEAR ABBY: I represent Operation Paperback: Recycled Reading for the Troops. Our 10,000 volunteers, at their own expense, collect gently used paperback books and send them to military members and organizations deployed all over the world.
Since 1999, we have sent over a million books and have received thanks from Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Germany, ships at sea, and dozens of places on the globe where our military serves.
Because units are continually being deployed, reassigned and recalled, we struggle to maintain current address lists. We would appreciate the assistance of your forum in spreading the word to service members and their families that they need only to go to operationpaperback.org to register, and we will see to it that they have quality reading material to provide an escape from their day-to-day trials. Thank you for your help. -- DAN BOWERS, RED LION, PA.
DEAR DAN: What a wonderful offer. But be careful what you wish for, because Dear Abby readers are the most generous and patriotic people in the world!
DEAR ABBY: My stepdaughter came and cleaned our house when my wife -- her mother -- was ill. I appreciated her efforts, until I noticed she had put the toilet brush in the dishwasher with the dishes. I quietly removed it.
Am I overreacting because I no longer want to eat at her house? This made me extremely uncomfortable because most of our family gatherings are at her house. -- TURNED OFF IN TEXAS
DEAR TURNED OFF: Ew! Had I been in your position, when I saw what she had done, I'd have hit high C. And I wouldn't have been subtle about removing the toilet brush from the dishwasher. What a gross lapse of judgment. I wouldn't want to eat at her house either, and I'd let my spouse know exactly why. (Please tell me your stepdaughter didn't learn this from her mother.)
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)