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Colleague Outgrows Friday Hawaiian Shirt Tradition

DEAR ABBY: I started working in engineering in the late 1980s and thought it was "cute" that we all wore Hawaiian shirts when the guys went out for Friday lunches. Now we're in our 50s, and many of my peers still honor that tradition.

I no longer find it cute. In fact, I'm finding it embarrassing because men over 50 -- especially curmudgeonly engineers -- should not be wearing Hawaiian shirts. They look like horrible Caribbean cruise ship tourists. In addition, their favorite lunch destinations are usually in a part of town where there's a big university, and they add the element of creepiness by ogling the young coeds.

I find myself hiding or inventing meetings so I can avoid being part of this Friday circus of embarrassment. How do I just tell them that the reason I no longer go along is their curmudgeonly displays of creepiness? -- SOLE TAILORED SHIRT IN TEXAS

DEAR SOLE: There's no way to politely tell your co-workers their attire and the way they comport themselves is an embarrassment. Say instead that these lunches "aren't your thing" anymore.

It would be a kindness to diplomatically point out that their ogling is inappropriate. Hope they take the hint, but don't be surprised if you hear that some of the coeds complained to the managers of the restaurants, and your pals have been asked to take their lunches elsewhere.

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