DEAR ABBY: What's your opinion of having a double wedding and a double shower for two girls within the same family? Would it be appropriate to split the monetary gift since it combines the events? Please do not identify me because I have already expressed my dismay to another family member and was told that I'm the only person who thinks it is inappropriate. I need to know if it is socially acceptable. -- ANONYMOUS IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR ANONYMOUS: My mother and her identical twin sister married in a double wedding. Because they did practically everything together, I wouldn't be surprised if they also had a double shower -- although I never thought to ask her about it.
Please remember that wedding and shower gifts are just that -- gifts. You are not compelled to spend more than you can afford, but there should be a separate one for each event that you attend.
DEAR ABBY: I work with another woman who always comes to the office in professional attire. She is lovely. My only problem with her clothing is that it's so devoid of color that it makes her appear incredibly drab and depressed. She wears all beige, all black or all white, which does nothing to enhance her beauty.
She is a quiet person, so I understand her not wearing flashy reds or loud colors, but a little bit would bring out her inner vitality.
Would it be presumptuous of me to suggest she might add some color to her wardrobe, or should I just leave it alone? Should I buy her a scarf to brighten up all those muted ensembles? -- SUFFERING IN BEIGE-LAND
DEAR "SUFFERING": If I were you I would tread carefully in this area. Your lovely co-worker may wear monochromatic outfits because she does not wish to draw attention to her beauty and inner vitality. If you are close to her, you might buy her a scarf and say you picked it up because you thought it would look wonderful with her beige suit. However, if she doesn't wear it, don't take offense and don't push the issue. Not everyone has the same taste in fashion.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 46-year-old woman who has always believed in the adage "A smile is the only language that everyone can understand." Sometimes I will offer a quick, casual smile to people I encounter in a grocery store or other public place.
Last week, a woman frowned at me when I smiled at her. Another woman passed me with a puzzled look on her face. A young man's inflated ego allowed him to respond with a "No thanks!" after I offered him a smile. It's a shame that in today's world some people have become so ill-mannered that they cannot return a smile and accept it for what it is -- a friendly gesture. -- HAVE A NICE DAY IN BARGERSVILLE, IND.
DEAR H.A.N.D.: My mother used to say that the most effective cosmetic a woman can wear is a smile. In stressful times we don't see enough of them. The individuals you encountered must have been having a bad day. Allow me to share a wonderful thought penned by a gentleman named Robert L. Bass: "Warmth is a communicable disease. If you haven't got it, no one will be able to catch it from you." Please don't stop smiling.
TO MY ASIAN FRIENDS: Today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year. It's the Year of the Rabbit -- so let's hop to it! -- Love, ABBY