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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Playful 'Love Taps' Are No Game to Girlfriend

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend recently moved in with me. We have a great relationship except that he is always slapping me on the bottom. He refers to it as "love taps."

I have told him many times I regard it as degrading and frustrating. It stings and I hate it. I have told him 10 different times in 10 different ways, including getting so angry I screamed obscenities at him.

When we get into little arguments, he will say, "That's it! You deserve a spanking for that!" and proceeds to hit me again. I know he thinks it's cute, and he obviously gets some sort of enjoyment out of it, but I am at my wits' end.

How can I get it through his head that his behavior is not only offensive, it is seriously harming our relationship by creating resentment? Does he just not care about my feelings, or does he not take me seriously when I tell him to knock it off? -- SORE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SORE: When someone continues to do something after having been told that it hurts, that you don't like it, and that you want it stopped, what it shows is lack of respect for your feelings and your "space." What is going on is not my definition of a "great" relationship. It's one in which there is a serious communication problem.

Now I have a question for you. What else does he ignore when you speak up?

DEAR ABBY: I take the shuttle bus from work along with a group of others from the same company. Last week, I got out of work a little early and was already sitting on the bus when the others boarded. Not realizing that I was there, a man who works in another department -- whom I do not know well -- said loudly, "I don't think that old lady is here today."

Abby, I am not yet 60, and he is older than I am! I know that for a fact. His remark was within earshot of the other workers and the driver. Needless to say, I was deeply upset and humiliated. In fact, I wrote a letter to the human resources department but never received a response.

I have considered calling the crass fellow to tell him how much he embarrassed me. Should I? What would you do, Abby? -- LOYAL READER, ANY CITY, USA

DEAR READER: Are you the only older female who rides the shuttle? And are you positive the remark was about you? My initial reaction was that the man may have thought someone who usually takes the bus wasn't there yet and he might have been voicing concern -- as in, "Maybe we should wait a few minutes until she gets here."

Rather than calling him, I would let it go. If he was talking about you, he embarrassed HIMSELF with his tactlessness far more than he embarrassed you.

DEAR READERS: Today is a double holiday. Not only is it Valentine's Day (greetings to all you lovers out there), but it also is the beginning of the lunar New Year. This is the Year of the Tiger. Individuals born this year are known for their charm, and when they see opportunity, they're quick to pounce. A formidable combination not only in the jungle, but also in society!

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