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by Abigail Van Buren

In Laws' Bad Attitude Tests Limits of Woman's Tolerance

DEAR ABBY: Does a woman consider a man's invitation to lunch as the next thing to his asking her to sleep with him? And what do others think about this invitation if the female mentions it to her husband or friends?

One etiquette book said, in effect, "If the lunch is not about business, it's about sex." Pretty severe, I think.

I asked a female co-worker to lunch for purely social reasons, but I have gotten reactions of derision from others about it. Can't a man ask a female to lunch without some sort of negative social reaction? -- LET'S DO LUNCH, MISSOULA, MONT.

DEAR LET'S DO LUNCH: In my book he can. And many do. To ask someone to lunch in the bright sunlight of high noon in a casual restaurant is hardly what I'd call a proposition. And I've never seen an etiquette book that implied that it is. It appears the "others" you have been telling have dirty minds and enjoy razzing you.