DEAR ABBY: My wife and I speak English as our native language. I also speak other languages fluently, although my wife does not.
When we travel to a country where I speak the language, she insists I speak only English. She says everybody in the world now speaks English and accuses me of showing off when I converse with a local in his or her language. She says it makes her uncomfortable.
I realize many people in other countries speak some -- or even a lot of -- English, but many do not. What do you think? -- SPEECHLESS IN ATLANTA
DEAR SPEECHLESS: Much as your wife might wish it, not everybody in the world speaks English. That you are able to speak to individuals in their native language is a tremendous asset when you travel. It makes for a warmer welcome and a fuller experience wherever you go, and I hope you will continue to use the skill you have worked to acquire.
However, to carry on long, involved conversations while your wife just stands there is rude, and if you find out that the person with whom you are talking also speaks English, you should make an effort to see that she is included.
DEAR ABBY: I was born with a very weak heart. At the age of 23, I went into heart failure and needed surgery. It has been two years since my open heart procedure, and it has changed my life for the best.
As a young, semi-attractive male, I feel insecure about my scar. I went to the beach with friends, and so many people looked at my scar I got uncomfortable and put my shirt back on for the rest of the time. I haven't gone back to the beach since. And in situations where guys go shirtless, I wear mine even over the protests of my friends.
I can't get over the scar. I feel like I'm disfigured. Any advice on how I can deal with this huge change? -- SELF-CONSCIOUS IN GEORGIA
DEAR SELF-CONSCIOUS: Because you're sensitive about the scar, perhaps you should talk to a plastic surgeon about your options in having it reduced. However, in my opinion, you are not "disfigured" -- you are ALIVE. You fought for your life and won.
Few people get through life without some "battle scars." Since you can't change the fact that it's there, consider changing the way you think about it. In a way, it's your medal of honor. Scars have been known to fade with time, and so does self-consciousness.
DEAR ABBY: My grandson will be getting married in Chicago. What's the appropriate dress code regarding wearing pantyhose these days? It seems everyone you see in a dress is bare-legged. I want to be comfortable, but also appropriately dressed. -- BEST-DRESSED GRANDMA
DEAR GRANDMA: It depends upon how formal the wedding will be and whether it will be held indoors or outside. If it's outside and informal, and the weather is hot and humid, you could go bare-legged. However, if it's indoors and the attire is dressy -- and you want to maintain your reputation as "best-dressed granny" -- hold up your "end" and wear pantyhose.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.