DEAR ABBY: We installed a hot tub several years ago. We are always naked when we use it. However, when we entertain guests, we let them know in advance that it is their choice whether to wear bathing suits or not. If they opt to wear suits, we ask if they care if we or other guests are naked. Most guests opt to soak in the nude; those who don't have no problem with others being naked.
Recently we invited new neighbors to our house for a welcoming party with other neighbors. They informed us they would be uncomfortable if other guests were nude. We have no problem with this –- after all, we have plenty of opportunity to enjoy our spa naked -– but some of our neighbors did. They felt put out that after years spent enjoying our hot tub in the buff, they now had to cover up.
This has created dissension in the neighborhood, and our efforts to be respectful of others is backfiring. Have you any suggestions on how we can resolve this? -– DOIN' WHAT COMES NATURALLY
DEAR DOIN': Yes. Don't let your straitlaced new neighbors throw cold water on your hot tub tradition. Entertain them separately so your less-inhibited neighbors can enjoy all the therapeutic benefits of soaking in their birthday suits without anyone pointing fingers. I'm sure everyone would prefer it.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I moved into a new house with our son about six months ago. After we moved, we realized we needed to set some house rules. One of them has to do with overnight guests.
The rule is simple: If a family member or friend asks to spend the night, each of us must check with the others before agreeing. We do this in case there is a conflict and out of respect for each other.
Last week, my sister, "Lisa," who lives out of town, called to ask me if she could spend the night. I told her I needed to check with my wife and son, but I didn't think it would be a problem. Lisa was appalled and insulted that I would have to check with my wife and son before "allowing" her to stay. In her wildest dreams, she couldn't imagine ever having to check with her husband and kids. After she hung up, she told a bunch of her friends about it. She told me they, too, were flabbergasted that I would say such a thing to my sister.
Abby, my wife, son and I have had no conflicts since we established that rule. Should I have gone ahead and told Lisa it was OK to stay without checking first? (By the way, my wife and son had no problem with my sister staying with us.) –- LITTLE BRO IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR LITTLE BRO: No. You did the right thing. Your marriage is a true partnership, and you're teaching your son consideration for others. There would be far less conflict in most families if more people communicated as effectively as you do. Your sister owes all of you an apology.
DEAR ABBY: I live in a four-unit apartment complex in a lovely neighborhood. A young couple occupies the unit directly above mine. Although the apartments provide some privacy, I have a hard time ignoring the couple upstairs when they reach the highest peak of their passion.
Is there a subtle way to let them know I can hear their most intimate moments without embarrassing them -– or me? –- SLEEP-DEPRIVED IN SCHENECTADY, N.Y.
DEAR SLEEP-DEPRIVED: The next time it happens, consider dropping a subtle hint. Play "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" on your stereo and turn up the volume. It may not work the first time, but after a while they'll get the message.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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