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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Finds Love in the Air but Loses It After Landing

DEAR ABBY: No live-in mother-in-law, no boom-box neighbors; nevertheless, I've got a problem.

I was flying home from a European vacation recently, when I realized fate had plunked down beside me the answer to my prayers. A graduate of Brown, "Janis" had been working in an olive grove in Italy. She was everything: pretty, demure, Irish, intelligent, svelte, "with it." All that and a great sense of humor as well. We talked, we laughed, and during the movie our arms accidentally touched more than chance would dictate. We were falling in love at 37,000 feet as clouds raced past beneath us.

Too soon, the image on the screen told us we were nearing New York's Kennedy Airport and the end of our "summer romance." As we unloaded the overhead bins, Janis said, "I guess we won't be seeing each other again -- unless it's at the baggage carousel?" A definite opening. She looked stunned when I replied, "Have a nice life, Janis."

Abby, how could I have said such a stupid thing? What possessed me after God had gone to all that trouble setting up the right day, the right flight, the right seat, next to the right woman? I rationalize that maybe it was the geography. She in Seattle; I in L.A. More likely it was fear of rejection.

Balzac wrote something like: "No lady, no matter how chaste, is ever really offended by an overture of love." I keep forgetting that at crucial moments. And unlike streetcars, another Janis won't come along in 20 minutes.

It would be interesting to know, Abby, how many of your readers have lost a love, a "happily ever after," because they were too shy, too governed by propriety, to reveal what was in their hearts. Probably thousands. When you think about it, what's to lose? Really nothing compared with what's to gain. -- STILL KICKING MYSELF IN FRAZIER PARK, CALIF.

DEAR STILL KICKING: Please stop kicking yourself. It has happened to everybody. I'm sure many of my readers will agree.

P.S. If your airplane angel sees this letter and writes to me, I'll see what I can do.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are planning to have a child. We've been told we're an attractive couple, and my husband often mentions what a "good-looking" child we will have. He also discusses the "cute pug nose" that runs on his side of the family.

When I was a teen-ager I had nasal surgery to correct a deviated septum and shorten a rather prominent nose. I've never told my husband about my surgery.

Abby, do you think I should tell him our child may inherit a large, bumped and/or crooked nose -- or take my chances and see what "physical characteristics" our son or daughter inherits? -- LOSING BY A NOSE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR LOSING: I see no reason to rush into a true confession session about what a child who hasn't even been conceived "might" look like. From my perspective, each successive generation of children is becoming more beautiful. There's a strong possibility that your children will inherit their father's nose. So hold your tongue, as well as a good thought. You can always bring up the subject if the need arises.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds)

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