DEAR ABBY: I have been battling breast cancer and have been blessed to have a lot of support from family, friends and some awesome medical providers. My husband's best friend and his wife socialize with us quite often, and the friendship is important to him. I recently celebrated a birthday and these friends had us over for a belated birthday dinner. They bought me beautiful flowers and a gift. The card attached made a joke about my "aging breasts," which she found quite funny.
Abby, I had a mastectomy, which she knew about! To make matters worse, my hair has just started to grow back from the chemo, so I decided to have some highlights put in, and she told me she didn't like my new hair.
I am hurt and dumbfounded by her insensitive behavior. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time she has said things like this. How do I tell her I'm offended by her rudeness without compromising my husband's friendship with them? -- HARRIED FRIEND
DEAR HARRIED FRIEND: You nailed it. The woman is insensitive -- but you said she has also made tasteless comments in the past. For the sake of the friendship between your husbands, tune her out and spend less time with her one-on-one. It's OK to tell her that her joke about your "aging breasts" hurt your feelings in light of your mastectomy, and that as your hair is growing back you thought you'd like to try something "different." However, if you use the word "offended" she'll probably become defensive, so avoid that word.
A final thought: Most people are terrified of cancer. People sometimes try to make jokes about things that make them uncomfortable in an effort to diffuse those feelings. This may be the reason the woman tried to joke about it, so don't let it cause you to carry a grudge.
DEAR ABBY: I have recently reconciled with my girlfriend of six years, "Molly." It has been five months since our last fallout and longest breakup. While we were apart, a woman I knew through my business made it clear that she was interested in me. One thing led to another and "Tish" and I slept together. Now she's pregnant.
I'm happy to be back with Molly now, but have been contacted recently by Tish with proof of the pregnancy. I'm afraid Molly will leave me if she knows about it. She's the woman of my dreams and the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. Help, please. -- IT'S COMPLICATED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR IT'S COMPLICATED: I'll try. Talk to Molly about this and consult an attorney. Molly should not hold against you something that happened while you were separated. Whether the child is yours can be determined by a paternity test. If it is yours, you will be responsible for providing child support until he or she is an adult and emotional support well beyond. If Molly is, indeed, the woman of your dreams, she'll stand beside you. If not, you are better off without her.
And in the future, please use birth control, so you can plan the number of offspring you bring into this world.
DEAR ABBY: I work as a mattress salesperson. Often when I tell my senior customers about the 10-year warranty on a bed, they'll reply, "Oh, I doubt I'll be around that long."
At that point I'm usually at a loss for words. Any suggestions as to an appropriate response? -- SPEECHLESS IN SUFFERN, N.Y.
DEAR SPEECHLESS: Smile and say, "Then be sure to include the mattress in your will."
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)