Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Countertops Aren't Meant to Be Seating for Guests

DEAR ABBY: I'll bet you get mail from your readers about your reply to "Homer in San Diego," who is offended when guests sit on his kitchen counter.

Covered or uncovered, I don't want anyone's "tuckus" on my kitchen counters where I prepare food. How gross! Have you stopped to think where their backsides might have been before they got to your house? I don't even place grocery bags on my counter after they have picked up goodness-knows-what from the market basket, counter or car trunk.

I would usher my guests to chairs and tell them seating was more comfortable there. As for spraying the counter with bleach before they arrive, I'd spray after they left -- not only with bleach but with disinfectant as well. -- SALLY IN NEW ORLEANS

DEAR SALLY: What I had in mind by spraying the counter with bleach before counter-sitters arrive was to discourage them from sitting there. A strong scent of bleach would cause them to reconsider their selection of a place to sit.

You're right about my hearing from readers about that answer. Most of them thought my answer was "counter-productive." Read on:

DEAR ABBY: People putting their backsides on a kitchen counter? NOT IN MY HOUSE! I don't want anyone's tush on a counter where I prepare food.

"Homer's" "terrific friends" must have flunked hygiene. -- ARLINE MILLER, THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: When my son and daughter were growing up in the '60s and '70s, most of our conversations took place in the kitchen with me sitting in a chair and them perched on the counter. Thirty years later, my grandsons still sit on the counter while we talk.

My son died five years ago. I wish I could see him sit on that countertop again. -- GRANNIE IN HUNTSVILLE, ALA.

DEAR ABBY: This is for the friends of "Homer in San Diego":

"Counters are for glasses,

"Not for a----!"

I'm sure you can fill in the blank. -- J.B., VICTORVILLE, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: I have an important decision to make, and I'm not sure what it should be. I am engaged to a wonderful man who is perfect in every way -- except one. He hates dogs. I have a beautiful, well-behaved, 4-year-old German shepherd. I love my dog dearly. My fiance will not permit me to keep the dog when we marry. I may be able to give it to a family member, but it is not definite.

Abby, I love this man and want to spend the rest of my life with him, but I am not so sure how much it would hurt me to give up my pet. I am 56 years old and just want to enjoy life. Please advise me. -- CAROL, MENTOR, OHIO

DEAR CAROL: Gladly. If you want to enjoy life, keep the dog and give up your fiance. Any man who would demand that you give up your beloved pet is no bargain and doesn't know the meaning of love.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600