DEAR ABBY: Why is it socially acceptable to refer to a grown woman as a "girl," and yet it would never be appropriate to call a man a "boy"? -- BARBARA IN HUNTSVILLE, ALA.
DEAR BARBARA: I'm not sure whether all women would accept being called a "girl." In fact, some would find it condescending and offensive. If you call a man a "boy," he could regard it as an assault on his masculinity.
And yet, I have heard those terms used in the third person, as in, "What's my husband doing on Saturday? He'll be out playing golf with the boys, while I'll be going to lunch with the girls." And I have never heard that it was offensive to either sex.