DEAR ABBY: I just finished reading one of your columns on why a woman could be president. Then, at the bottom, a woman signed "On the Spot in Tucson" asked what she should say when people ask her why she isn't married yet. You advised her, "Just tell the truth -- 'the right person hasn't asked me.'"
Why should she act like SHE can't ask a man to marry HER? Surely, if women can be president, women can ask men to marry them. Her answer should be, "I haven't met a man (or woman) I want to marry!" -- JOAN JACOBUS, MEMBER OF N.O.W.
DEAR JOAN: Not only can women ask men to marry them, but many do. However, the woman who wrote that letter asked because the question made her feel defensive, and your response might make a man feel like he wasn't worth considering. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I was 44 before I married, and my wonderful husband was well worth the wait. When I was asked why I wasn't married, I used to say, "Just lucky, I guess." Sometime during my single years, I finally realized that if one isn't happy being single, he or she will not be happy being married either. That attitude prepared me for a husband, delightful adult stepchildren and beautiful grandchildren. -- CONTENT PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
DEAR CONTENT: I couldn't agree with you more. You're a wise lady.
DEAR ABBY: I had a great-aunt who lived to be 91 and never married. Her response to that question was, "Because I never met a man who deserved to be as happy as I could make him!" -- KATHRYN C. IN CINCINNATI
DEAR KATHRYN C.: I think I know why no one ever popped the question.
DEAR ABBY: I, too, was plagued by that annoying and rude question. I had the following posted on my desk at work for inspiration:
I'M NOT MARRIED BECAUSE:
(1) You haven't asked me yet.
(2) Because I just love hearing people ask me that question.
(3) My fiance is waiting until after the parole is granted.
(4) I'm still hoping for a shot at Miss/Mr. America.
(5) I already have enough laundry to do, thank you!
(6) I'm afraid my parents would drop dead from sheer happiness.
(7) What? And lose all the money I've invested in personal ads?
(8) I'm married to my career -- although recently we have been considering a trial separation.
(9) If I married, I'd have to forfeit my $10 million trust fund. -- USED TO BE THERE TOO, SEATTLE
DEAR USED TO BE THERE TOO: The common thread that runs through your responses is humor. And it's better to respond with humor to some questions than to become defensive. I'm sure it's not a question that is intended as a putdown. In fact, more often than not it is a roundabout way of saying, "I'm surprised a person as attractive as you hasn't been snatched up." And that's a compliment.