DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our early 30s and we spend a lot of time with three other couples. A few months ago, we went on a picnic at a local park to play ball and have lunch. One man (I'll call him Bill) thought it was funny to pour what was left of a soft drink on one of the wives' head. She and her husband had to leave. It was obvious she couldn't stay with sticky hair and clothing. Bill called them "party-poopers."
Three weeks ago, Bill yanked the cloth off a table that had been set with another of the wives' good dishes. Broken china lay everywhere. That wife was also a "party-pooper" because she didn't think it was funny.
Last weekend there was a pool party. I didn't want to go because I'm not comfortable with the water. My husband promised he'd stay right with me, which he did. However, Bill swam under the water, grabbed both my ankles and yanked me under. I was terrified. I told Bill I never wanted to see him again, and I meant it.
Now his wife, "Nicki," is upset because she found out I had a dinner at my home and didn't invite them. I told her she could come, but I would no longer let her husband near me. I think he needs professional help.
Nicki and I work in the same building, and I see her almost every day. We eat in the building cafeteria, and she's spreading the word that I have caused trouble with their group of friends. She's saying I made a play for her husband and he rejected me, and I'm angry about it. I have not said anything to defend myself. I don't feel the need. But my husband says I should tell the real reason. What do you think? -- THE VICTIM, NOT THE PERP
DEAR VICTIM: I agree with your husband. You have an obligation to protect your reputation, and you should by all means tell the truth -- the whole truth. Bill appears to be a real handful; whatever his problem is, I'll bet this isn't the first time this has happened to that couple. You are wise to avoid them. They both appear to be troubled.