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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband All Wet Defending Front Yard Ritual Watering

DEAR ABBY: I strongly disagree with your answer to "The 'Whiz-zard's' Wife," whose husband urinates in their yard. You said you suspect the practice is not unusual. My husband doesn't do it, and my ex-husband didn't (except once when he was drunk). My father didn't, and I have never seen my neighbors do it. My husband says this guy is an exhibitionist. I say he's lazy and ignorant, despite his college education. My sympathy to his wife, who sounds like a classier lady than the jerk deserves.

However, I once knew a psychiatrist who confessed to occasionally "watering" the rubber tree in his outer office in this manner. I can't imagine why he disclosed this to me, unless it was to coax me into sharing personal secrets. -- ARIZONA ANNIE

DEAR ANNIE: I can't imagine why he did it, either. It could certainly discourage a patient from using the chair closest to the plant. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: If your assessment of territorial urination is correct, that "dogs and cats do it to mark their territory, and the husband may be doing it for the same reason," then my husband has claimed the city of San Francisco from the deck of a hilltop restaurant, as well as many other cities from the balconies of hotels.

If this has to be psychoanalyzed, I would say it's a form of rebellion. It's one of the few things a highly educated, supposedly well-bred man can do today. My only advice to "Whiz-zard's Wife" would be, "Steel yourself -- the worst is yet to come." -- ANONY-MRS. IN MEDFORD, ORE.

DEAR ANONY-MRS.: You may be right. However, while urinating on one's own lawn might be a matter of personal preference, doing it off a hotel balcony could be a public nuisance, particularly to any pedestrian who happened to be below the balcony. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from the woman whose husband urinates on their front lawn. She asked if this was a "normal male ritual," and you seemed to agree that the practice was not unusual.

I am a male, and I do NOT urinate in my yard. I have never done this, and I don't know anyone who does. I can't think of any time this might be an acceptable practice, unless your front yard is 40 acres and you drive a slow tractor. Perhaps this woman should install a fire hydrant in her front yard and buy a leash.

Your comparison of men to dogs and cats who urinate to mark their territory is degrading and sexist. By the way, neutering does not stop a pet from marking its territory. -- TOM WILLIAMS, HENDERSONVILLE, TENN.

DEAR TOM: I beg to differ with you. I checked again with my veterinary expert, who tells me that although it doesn't always solve the problem, the FIRST thing an owner should do to stop a pet from "inappropriate urination" is to neuter it. (If that doesn't work, the owner may have to resort to drugs for the animal, which are not effective 100 percent of the time.)

I meant no offense when I made the comparison; however, if you were offended, please accept my apology.

Many readers wrote to comment on the letter from "Whiz-zard's Wife." I'll have more on the subject tomorrow.

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