DEAR ABBY: I was at a dinner party recently. One of the guests, who was totally deaf, was completely ignored. Not once did anyone attempt to include him in the conversation. I don't know how he stood it.
After dinner I talked to him. He told me he is used to being ignored by hearing people at parties and hated attending them. He was there to please his wife, who is not deaf.
He spoke well and was good at lip-reading. He was intelligent, knowledgeable, and has a good job. He told me he would bring a good book to these gatherings if his wife didn't think it'd be rude.
Abby, how would you have handled this? I'm going to send your answer to every person I know. -- SHOCKED BY THE RUDENESS
DEAR SHOCKED: A gracious hostess tries her best to assure that all of her guests will have a good time, and facilitates conversation. If I had been the hostess, I would have spoken with the couple in advance and elicited some interesting facts about the man. Then I would have shared them with the rest of my guests, as well as the fact that he could lip-read.
The alternative would be to "casually" mention that he is distantly related to Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, or that he's connected in the motion picture business. But then you'd probably have to hire police protection to keep the other guests from mobbing him. (Only joking!)
DEAR ABBY: My husband "Rick's" former wife, "Pearl," is determined to spoil Father's Day for my husband. It happens every year. They have four grown children; the youngest is 28. Pearl invites all of the children to her house for dinner on Father's Day. She also invites Rick's father. (Rick and his father don't have the best relationship.)
I know she does it to hurt Rick. There are 52 weeks in a year, and she could invite Rick's dad over on any of the other 51 weekends. She is so conniving that even a 4-year-old could see through her.
Rick and I never interfere with her plans for Mother's Day or any other holiday.
We can't make plans in advance and outfox her because she always issues the invitation so far in advance. Does she have a lack of class or what? How can we get around this? -- FRUSTRATED IN WISCONSIN
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Discuss this situation with Rick's father and the children. Tell the children their father would love to have them spend Father's Day with him from now on. After all, it is supposed to be HIS special day. Say the same thing to Rick's father, and it might be a step in the right direction in mending their relationship. If they are unwilling to cooperate, the two of you should make special plans of your own on Father's Day.
DEAR ABBY: This question is very important to an elderly friend of mine, and I don't have the answer. Abby, if you are born on Feb. 29, what day do you celebrate on the years that are not leap years? No one I've asked seems to know. -- LULA IN LAKE CHARLES, LA.
DEAR LULA: There are several ways to deal with it. Celebrate the big day on Feb. 28 or March 1 -- or if he or she would prefer to age more slowly, celebrate the birthday only every four years!
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 $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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