DEAR ABBY: I'm a 55-year-old woman, divorced for a year and a half. I was married twice before and have three grown children.
I own my own home, have a job I enjoy and a loving family. I do what I want when I want and how I want. I control the remote, the thermostat and my money. I have no desire for male companionship or a "social life," and can honestly say I have never felt happier or more content in my life.
I wonder why society places so much emphasis on men and women forming romantic relationships. I also wonder how much angst I could've saved myself, my former husbands and my children by realizing years ago that marriage is not for me. I don't know why it took me so long to realize that I will never meet a man whose company I enjoy more than my own.
I just want to tell your readers -- at least any who feel the same way I do -- to be happy with themselves and stop letting friends, relatives or society dictate to them how to feel or what to do. There's nothing wrong with an independent woman or man being, well, independent. These days I call myself ... EMANCIPATED AND HAPPY
DEAR EMANCIPATED AND HAPPY: If I had to guess why society places so much emphasis on marriage and romance, it would be because that's the way society perpetuates itself. After three divorces, it is not surprising that you are happier on your own.
I'm sure many people wish they were as independent and resilient as you. However, most people crave some degree of closeness and intimacy -- which may be why women and men search for romance. Today, more than half of adults in the United States are single. For those who are not "coupled up," I'm sure your message will be meaningful.
DEAR ABBY: I am the luncheon chairperson for a large fundraiser that will be held in six weeks. I know my question is one shared by many. How can a brilliant person be advised to keep his remarks short and not like he's preaching to the choir without seeming rude? -- DOESN'T WANT TO OFFEND
DEAR DOESN'T WANT TO OFFEND: Here's how. Run your event like a commanding general. Tell all your speechmakers and honorees how much time they are allotted. Insist they submit their remarks in enough time before the event that you can review the length -- and keep "reminding" the speakers what time the event MUST end.
If you bravely and diligently do this, your event will be a hit. And you will be regarded as brilliant because not many people are courageous enough to be this assertive.
DEAR ABBY: What should a person do when their children and grandchildren don't like to talk on the phone, and text you only? -- LONELY GRANDMA IN L.A.
DEAR LONELY GRANDMA: Learn to text!
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)