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by Abigail Van Buren

Hosts Are in the Doghouse for Providing an Outhouse

DEAR ABBY: A couple we know threw a birthday party this past weekend. A large number of guests were invited. When we arrived, everyone was directed to the back yard. I was appalled to see a portable toilet, the kind typically used at construction sites.

This couple has a beautiful home with at least three bathrooms. What a slap in the face to be invited to someone's home, only to find that we had actually been invited to their back yard and were expected to use an "outhouse"!

My husband and I disagree on whether or not this was an insult. Your opinion, please. -- APPALLED IN POMONA, CALIF.

DEAR APPALLED: Before you conclude that this was an insult, ask your hosts why they did it. Perhaps they were having plumbing problems. Or, the party was so large the hostess didn't know all of the guests well, and preferred they didn't tromp through her house. She might have been afraid her carpets would be damaged by dirty shoes, or had experienced some petty thefts during prior large parties.

Whatever the reason the house was off-limits and the portable toilet was provided, you owe it to your hosts to hear them out before you judge them.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old female who has not had a boyfriend in more than two years. I am desperately lonely and want a guy I can trust and share my life with. I have one particular guy in mind, but I'm afraid if I let him know how I feel, he will reject me. I need someone who makes me feel "complete," and I feel he is the one.

My problem is that he hangs out with the popular group and probably won't even try being an "us." Is something wrong with me? What should I do? -- LONESOME TEEN IN KENTUCKY

DEAR LONESOME: There is nothing "wrong" with you. Many women feel they need someone to make them feel "complete." However, it's a huge mistake. The only person who can truly make you complete is YOU. Rather than concentrating on how lonely and needy you are, instead focus your energies outward on activities that interest you. It will make you a far more interesting person to be around.

Are you interested in art? Go to the library and read up on it. Visit museums and art galleries. (You might meet a nice guy there who's also trying to improve his mind, or some budding artists who are on the brink of recognition.) Are you interested in photography? Inquire if a local photographer could use an assistant during the late afternoons or on weekends.

You'll feel better about yourself if you allow yourself less time to brood. The most successful people I know were usually not part of the "in" crowd in high school.

P.S. That includes my twin sister and me!

DEAR ABBY: Your recent comments to "Fashion-Confused in L.A.," who asked what "casual dress" means for the office, reminded me of the answer I recently gave to a new employee.

During the interview she asked me if the company had any "casual dress" days. I said, "Yes, we have two. We call them Saturday and Sunday." -- LOOKIN' GOOD IN NEVADA

DEAR L.G.: Thanks. You're a hoot!

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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