DEAR ABBY: Summer will be here soon, a time when many Americans travel abroad. I live in Europe, and Americans seem to think that most of us do not understand English here.
Last summer, I overheard a young lady in a restaurant telling her friends about a portion of her anatomy that I shall not mention in a family newspaper. The entire restaurant went silent while she continued on as if no one else had any idea of what she was talking about. Believe me, everyone knew!
Please remind your readers that if a topic is not appropriate to discuss in public in the United States, then it's not appropriate to discuss in public abroad, either. -- EDITH W. IN SWEDEN
DEAR EDITH: I'm pleased to oblige. You are correct that Americans -- many of whom are not fluent in a foreign language -- tend to forget that people from other countries are often bilingual or trilingual.
Many years ago, I spent a summer studying in Italy and had a similar experience. Trapeze dresses (A-line, loose-fitting) were in style that season, and I was walking down the street wearing one of them when an American family (husband, wife, and a boy about 11) approached strolling in the opposite direction. As we passed, the boy said loudly to his mother, "Look, Mom! That lady's wearing a nightgown."
I thought they were going to go through the pavement when I turned around and said, "Thanks, kid!"