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by Abigail Van Buren

Invitation to Lingerie Party Brings Blush to Hesitant Guest

DEAR ABBY: I'm a senior in high school and about to graduate. The week after graduation, one of my close friends is getting married. I have no qualms about the marriage, but I'm confused about the pre-wedding parties.

The bride and groom are registered at three stores and have had a Tupperware party already. However, I have received an invitation to a lingerie party to which guests have been instructed to bring the bride lingerie with gift receipts attached.

Am I wrong in thinking that buying intimate apparel is the responsibility of the couple? I plan to buy them a wedding gift from the registry, but I feel odd being asked to essentially contribute to their sex life. Abby, if I decline the invitation, what would be the proper way to do it? -- BRINGING A BLENDER IN MONTANA

DEAR B.A.B.: If you are unable to attend the shower, all you need to say is you're unavailable on that date. You do not have to give a reason. However, lingerie showers can be a fun way for women to bond with each other. I once attended one at which a guest jokingly brought the bride a pair of handcuffs. (In Montana, a set of spurs might make an interesting gag gift.)

However, if you prefer not to "contribute to the couple's sex life," why not bring a high-necked flannel nightgown? Your gift could be the talk of the party.

Readers, care to offer any other gift suggestions?