DEAR ABBY: I am a 50-year-old gay man. On New Year's Eve, there was a block party on the street I live on. My neighbors, "Tim" and "Marie," are a good-looking 30-ish couple.
I was watching the fireworks when Marie sat down next to me and said, "Tim and I would like to get to know you better. How about we drop by for drinks some night after we put the kids to bed?" She said this while stroking my upper thigh with her hand.
I find the idea of being intimate with her husband appealing, but I have never "been with" a woman and I don't think I want to be. It seems to me the most prudent approach would be to pass on this opportunity, but how do I do it without offending or causing embarrassment for one of my neighbors? -- CAUGHT IN THE FIREWORKS, HOUSTON
DEAR CAUGHT: Does this neighbor know your sexual orientation? If the answer is no, just thank her and tell her you're not into threesomes. Because it has taken you so long to give her an answer, she probably won't be surprised that a liaison is not your cup of tea. However, if she does know, tell her with a wink: "Thanks for the offer -- I'm not into threesomes. But you can send Tim over anytime."
DEAR ABBY: After 30 years of marriage, my husband is more interested in watching politics on TV than interacting with me. We are, by mutual consent, no longer intimate -- but he totally ignores me. He will talk to anyone who looks his way, but he doesn't talk to me.
His idea of doing something together is driving around the countryside for four hours looking at the scenery. He'll lie on the couch and watch TV or read while I'm a few feet away and not say more than a dozen words to me all day.
I can't do this much longer. What do you suggest? -- NEGLECTED WIFE IN GREENVILLE, S.C.
DEAR NEGLECTED WIFE: Perhaps you should spend less time with your husband. Couples who spend a lot of time together can find conversation difficult because they have nothing fresh to bring to it.
Do some things with female friends so you won't feel so shut in and isolated. This way you will have more experiences you can discuss. Also schedule some diversions you can enjoy together that don't involve conversation. How about a movie or a play, or a volunteer activity you can both be involved in? If this doesn't help, then consider counseling.
DEAR ABBY: I don't understand why people need others to take sides in an argument. If someone is upset and wants to cut someone out of his/her life, why does that person expect family and friends to do the same -- even if the disagreement had nothing to do with them? Some of them lie to force the issue. I just don't understand -- especially because we're talking about adults. -- PUZZLED IN COON RAPIDS, MINN.
DEAR PUZZLED: They do it to punish (and isolate) the person they're mad at. However, if you make plain to the manipulator -- because that's what the person is -- that you will not be dragged into the middle of something that's not your business, you'll be better off.
P.S. What makes you think that all adults act like adults? Surely I'm not the only person who has seen a grown-up behave like a 5-year-old.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)