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DEAR ABBY: I'm an attractive, single, 30-year-old woman who has some hang-ups and problems dating -- like anyone. But my most annoying and recurring problem is this:

For some reason, the men I date have the need to point out other attractive women to me. Sometimes it's a passing, "There was an attractive girl there, and she said ..." And sometimes it's, "She's hot!" about a woman on television, and the list goes on.

I once heard a saying, "One should never speak of one beautiful woman in the presence of another," and it bothers me a lot when they do this. I don't do that to the men I date, as I find it disrespectful.

Am I silly for feeling this way? And if not, how can I tell them politely to stop? -- WANTS TO BE RESPECTED IN OHIO

DEAR WANTS TO BE RESPECTED: I used to feel the same way you do -- threatened if someone I was with mentioned that someone else was attractive. What a waste of energy. Then I realized that once it was out of their mouths, it was usually out of their heads, and I relaxed and didn't let it get to me.

However, because you have mentioned to these men that it bothers you and they persist, try giving them a dose of their own medicine. If a hunk appears on screen, elbow them and say, "Oooh, isn't he hot?" or, "Doesn't he have the cutest little tush?" Then watch their reaction. Perhaps if they find themselves on the receiving end, they'll learn empathy. I can't guarantee it will work, but it's worth a try.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I moved into our new apartment about two months ago. Our only shared wall is the bedroom wall, and we hear a lot more than we care to.

I haven't met my new neighbors yet, so what's the best way to handle this? Should we try to just ignore it? Should I leave an anonymous note? Or should we knock on their door, introduce ourselves and kindly ask them to be more discreet? -- TRYING TO SHUT MY EARS, GRAND ISLAND, N.Y.

DEAR TRYING TO SHUT MY EARS: There are several ways to handle it, but it should not be done anonymously.

1. Write your neighbors a short note, explaining that you are the new neighbors and feel you are learning more about them than is appropriate, and asking them to lower the volume (or the temperature).

2. Clip this column, and include it with a short note saying that although many renters share this problem, it also applies to them.

3. Tape-record them and leave them a copy -- explaining that you are the new next-door neighbors.

DEAR ABBY: I am a freshman in college. I just bought my Christmas cards, but I need to know a little bit about proper etiquette in sending them out. My concern is regarding my friends who still live with their parents. Would it be inappropriate to address the card only to my friends? Would it be better to address the card to my friend and then write a short message inside along the lines of, "Wishing you and your family a happy holiday"? I'm confused and want to do the right thing. -- LAUREN IN LEXINGTON, KY.

DEAR LAUREN: It's certainly proper to address the Christmas cards to your friends only. However, I think the idea of including the rest of the family in the greeting is thoughtful and sweet. It would offend no one and please everyone, and that, by definition, is good manners.

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