DEAR READERS: On Tuesday, I shared the responses I received from women to a letter from a lady, "No Hugs Please," (9/13) in Alabama. She asked what could be done about "Uncle Harry," a man in his mid-70s who insists on bear-hugging almost all of the women he meets. The letter generated many responses from male readers. And I thought you might be interested to see how they felt he should be "handled." Read on:
DEAR ABBY: May I offer a method that's fast, effective and creates very little attention: When Uncle Harry approaches with open arms, the woman should hold her upper arms close to her chest and slide her forearms up and in front of her breasts. Clenching her fists will provide strength to her upper arms. This position will protect her breasts from contact with Uncle Harry and increase the circumference for her upper body, making a bear hug more difficult.
While holding this posture, she should make direct eye contact and firmly say, "No!" Nothing more. A wishy-washy response will not be effective. He may object, cajole or question, but regardless of what he says, or how many times he persists, her only response should be to repeat, "I said, 'No!'" or, "I do not want you to hug me."
In the unlikely event that he gets loud in an attempt to embarrass her, he's the one who will look like the fool. And anyone who observes the scene will look at her in admiration. -- AN OLD MAN WHO KNOWS WHAT WORKS
DEAR ABBY: Uncle Harry undoubtedly is a sexually abusive pervert. His wife may be "one of the finest Christians in the area," but you can depend on the fact that she already knows about and tolerates his behavior. The other "Christian women" who do not object when he gropes them simply accept his abuse and support his rationalization of "Christian fellowship."
Don't confuse spirituality with reality. What can be done about Uncle Harry? Go to court for a restraining order, or continue to be victims. -- NEIL IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR ABBY: My doctoral minor was in human sexual behavior, and Uncle Harry's groping is neither normal nor acceptable. His family needs to see he receives adequate professional help, and soon, before he "graduates" to a more serious type of activity.
If this doesn't help, there are two sure-fire remedies: First, the offended ladies should complain to their local police about his unwanted sexual molestations (they're criminal acts). His family might be embarrassed by the press coverage, and a judge may demand professional treatment.
The other remedy is for each offended lady to give him a swift with-all-their-might knee to the crotch. His family may need to see that he gets medical treatment -- and professional help -- but it's better than what some irate husband may do to him. -- PH.D. IN ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.
DEAR ABBY: I know a lady who had the same problem, and after three warnings, she finally became fed up. She was a black belt in karate. Needless to say, it worked like a charm. And after another woman did the same thing to the man, he started being an even better "Christian."
If the men won't put a stop to it, then the ladies have no choice and must act. This type of behavior does not stop on its own. -- ON THE LADIES' SIDE IN N.Y.