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by Abigail Van Buren

Long Hair and Full Beard Hide Honey of a Husband

DEAR ABBY: I had to write in response to "Available in Maine." Girls, if you know this man, or any man like him, grab him! If I didn't know better, I would have sworn you were describing my husband.

I work full time as a schoolteacher and he stays home with our four children. He not only takes excellent care of the kids, he also cleans the house and runs our small farm. The only thing he can't do is cook.

Abby, I just had to tell the ladies out there that there are some absolute gems among men; however, they may not look like a magazine cover. My husband is the most wonderful, patient, loving, generous man a woman could want, but most women wouldn't take the time to find out because of his appearance.

He has very long hair and a full beard and mustache; therefore most people think he is a criminal, a "biker" or some kind of unsavory character. It's a shame more people don't get to know what a really great guy he is. You may use my name. -- KIT CONNALLY, LONE OAK, TEXAS

DEAR KIT: A man can wear his hair down to his shoulders as well as a full beard and mustache, but if it's shampooed and trimmed regularly, he can look like a magazine ad. Besides, you can't judge a book by its cover.

DEAR ABBY: I received an engraved invitation that has me more than a little puzzled. The invitation is to a "commitment ceremony" for two men, followed by a reception at a swanky downtown hotel.

I have been friendly with one of these men for more than 30 years. Only recently he told me he is gay. I do not want to do anything that would offend him, and I have indicated that I will attend the ceremony and reception.

I have no idea of the protocol for such an occasion. While it's not a wedding per se, that is the idea. Do I take a gift? If so, what kind of gift is appropriate? The parties involved are highly successful businessmen -- one is a magazine editor, the other a prominent lawyer. They don't need a blender.

This is a first for me. I want to express my respect for the union my friend and his partner are forming. What would you do, Abby? -- MINNEAPOLIS READER

DEAR READER: I would treat their "commitment ceremony" as though it were a wedding, because that is what it is to them and those who care about them.

Yes, do send a gift. Something for their home would be nice.

DEAR ABBY: I have heard (and known) about showers for the bride for a long time, but never have I heard about any shower to benefit the groom. Just recently I was surprised to receive an invitation to a "tool" shower for my grandson who is engaged and will soon receive his degree in construction management.

I thought this was a great idea. Surely this is an idea that should be more popular. It would benefit all future grooms. -- J.H.S. IN TEXAS

DEAR J.H.S.: While bridal showers and showers for the couple are more common, showers for the groom are not unheard of. I'm sure many brides would cheer if the common (and frequently offensive to them) stag party were replaced by a more practical shower for the groom.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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