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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Last weekend my wife's former college roommate, "Kathy," came to visit my wife and me. We had not seen her since 1986. She had sent a Christmas card, which we followed up with a phone call inviting her for a weekend. She lives two hours away, and accepted immediately -- then she called back and asked if she could bring her new boyfriend. Well, we thought, "Any boyfriend of Kathy's would be as delightful as Kathy." Right? Wrong!

Kathy's boyfriend (I'll call him Chuck) turned out to be the most overbearing, crude, obnoxious, know-it-all we had ever met. He was argumentative, loud and just plain rude. We bit our tongues the entire weekend to keep from telling him where to go!

The problem is that Kathy seems to like this guy and she indicated that she and Chuck would be back regularly for weekend visits! She also suggested that we take a vacation trip with them.

So how do we go about telling Kathy that we think Chuck is a first-class jerk and she deserves better? Or should we keep quiet and hope she sees the light and dumps this rude dude? -- STUMPED

DEAR STUMPED: Be honest. If Kathy asks you what you think of Chuck, don't offer phony praise to keep from hurting her feelings. Tell her now not to include you in any vacations with her and Chuck because you don't enjoy his company that much. She may be offended, but it might inspire her to take a harder look at her new boyfriend and cause her to chuck Chuck.

DEAR ABBY: "Browbeaten in Pompano Beach" wrote that he retired at age 62; then he went on to say, "Five years later, my wife of 55 years applied for her Social Security, etc."

Abby, if he retired at 62, five years later he was 67. And if they were married for 55 years, he would have been 12 years old when he got married. Come on! How can that be? -- K.R.J. IN GROTON, CONN.

DEAR K.R.J.: It can't. In order for it to make sense, that sentence should have read: "Seven years later my wife, who was 55 when I retired, applied for her Social Security at 62."

Wait, it gets worse. In my reply, I say, "After 55 years of togetherness, etc.," indicating that I, too, assumed they had been married for 55 years, which would have indeed made the husband 12 years old at the time of his marriage. The mathematics escaped me entirely. I plead guilty as charged. I'll take 10 whacks with a fifth-grade math book, and another 10 with a book on logic.

DEAR ABBY: Am I the only person in the world who puts eyeglasses on to answer the telephone? I use "specs" for reading only because my eyesight is quite good for a person my age (62) -- so why do I always reach for them when I answer the telephone? -- WEIRD IN DENVER

DEAR WEIRD: Perhaps you want to be prepared in case you need to make a note of something during the telephone conversation. Many people (including me) have the same habit.

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