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DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 17 years. My husband never tells me I look pretty. I know some women reading your column will think, "Who cares what somebody else thinks of you?" He tells my daughter she looks pretty -- and the girls in his office -- so I know he knows how to give a compliment.

Abby, I am not overweight. I wear makeup and get my hair cut every six weeks. I am not homely. I shower twice a day.

A year ago I told my husband how I felt. Now the only time he says anything complimentary to me is when we are in bed. Too late! I need to hear encouraging words. Every woman needs to hear that she's attractive.

If you print this, maybe it will alert some nice husband out there who has been withholding to say, "Honey, you look pretty today." It'll sure go a long way with his wife. -- DESPERATE FOR A COMPLIMENT

DEAR DESPERATE: You hit the nail on the head when you described your husband's behavior as "withholding." The next step is to discover why he would deliberately withhold something from you that you told him you needed. And while you're at it, ask yourself why it took 16 years to tell your husband what you wanted from him.

I suspect there are problems in your marriage that you haven't mentioned in your letter. Perhaps when they're resolved, you'll receive the strokes you crave.

DEAR ABBY: Our neighbors hung a wreath on their door with a motion sensor that plays Christmas music whenever someone comes to the door. Unfortunately, it is also activated by the wind, so that it plays endlessly, over and over, day and night on breezy days.

There should be a unique hell for people who invent those little electronic noise-making gizmos; they certainly make it difficult for folks in THIS world!

Please, Abby, ask your readers to keep such items INSIDE their homes for their own enjoyment. Then maybe the rest of us can have a "silent night." -- BAH HUMBUG IN COLUMBUS, OHIO

DEAR HUMBUG: Your suggestion seems reasonable to me. A silent night is a necessity before a constructive work day. And most of us have to work -- even during the Christmas season. Ho! Ho! Ho!

DEAR ABBY: You recently printed a letter about automobile safety. The reader recommended that everyone should install a "back-up beeper" on their cars. The cost would be less than $50.

Abby, every automobile manufactured in the United States already has a working beeper -- it's called a horn!

When I worked for the post office, we were trained to "beep more than once" when we backed up our vehicles. I have been retired for 15 years and still automatically honk my horn every time I put my car in reverse. Everyone should try it! -- PETER IN TAMPA, FLA.

DEAR PETER: Several readers wrote to tell me my response to that letter left a lot to be desired. If that safety tip is good enough for the U.S. Postal Service, it's good enough for me. (Not to mention a great way to save $50!)

And while I'm on the subject, another reader pointed out that when a driver is too old and stiff to turn around and check to see if someone is standing behind the car before backing up, that person should no longer be driving.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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