DEAR ABBY: I have the sweetest boyfriend I'll call "Earl." He's 58. I'm a widow and have been with him for two years. Earl loves me, helps me and goes out with me wherever I want to go. One problem: He flirts with other women.
It can be family, neighbors, clerks, waitresses, etc. He calls them "sweetheart," "baby," "darling," etc. He pours on the charm and even follows them around to help them with whatever they are doing. I am not threatened, but I get really embarrassed. I have also noticed that Earl has no male friends and seems to avoid them.
When we are alone, it's all about me. He treats me wonderfully, but get another woman around and he goes nuts. What's going on with this man? -- PUT OFF IN PHOENIX
DEAR PUT OFF: Earl may be less confident in the company of other men, or he may consider them competition for the attention of women. Or, he may need to constantly ingratiate and prove his attractiveness to himself.
I'm not going to attempt to psychoanalyze a man I have never met. Heck, it's hard enough to do when I know the person. If you really want to know what's going on with Earl, ask him to explain it to you.
DEAR ABBY: Please help settle a debate my wife and I are having. When making the bed, I always place the top sheet between the fitted sheet and comforter with the finished side facing up. It seems logical. She insists the finished side should face down so that when you fold the top back near the pillows you see the finished side of the sheet. I get her point, but I just don't think that's right. Which way should it go? -- SLEEPLESS IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR SLEEPLESS: If the sheet has attractive trim, why on Earth wouldn't you want to display it? I'm voting with your wife. If you are "Sleepless" because you are arguing over which way the top sheet should face, thank your lucky stars it's not a pitched battle over something more serious. My solution would be: Whoever makes the bed gets to decide which way the sheet faces.
DEAR ABBY: When a spouse dies, what should be done with the wedding bands? -- PLANNING AHEAD IN NEW ENGLAND
DEAR PLANNING AHEAD: There is no right or wrong answer to a question like yours because getting past the loss of a loved life partner (grieving) is an individual process. That's why you should do whatever feels right to you. Some widows and widowers continue to wear their wedding band until they are ready to date again. Others move it to their right hand, or wear their spouse's ring on a chain around their neck.
P.S. I once saw a woman wearing a gold band to which she had fused her deceased husband's ring so that it sat flat atop her ring finger. I thought the concept was clever, original and touching.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)