DEAR ABBY: Your response to "Not Ungrateful in San Diego" (July 13) missed the mark. Her boyfriend of eight months is flying in business class to France, but he's only paying for a coach ticket for her? I was a divorce lawyer for 31 years (now retired), so I know a few things about relationships.
While Claude had no obligation to pay her way to France, once he invited her, he displayed a troubling character flaw. If he was going to pay her way, he should have paid for her to sit with him in business class. Her seat in coach is a warning sign: She'll always be in the back of the plane, the bus or his life. Of course buying business class seats for the two of them is expensive, but if he's going to take her to his family's chateau, he should treat her as an equal -- or not do it at all. -- PAUL IN SARATOGA, CALIF.
DEAR PAUL: I appreciate your viewpoint, one which is shared by many other readers. The responses to that letter were an interesting mix. My newspaper readers comment:
DEAR ABBY: "Not Ungrateful" is unbelievable! My long-legged husband cannot sit in coach unless he is in an exit row, and those seats aren't always easy to get. Because I'm short, I don't need the extra space and, if I am assigned an exit seat, I gladly give it up to a tall person. That woman will be in France (paid for!) with her boyfriend. I would go in the baggage compartment for such an opportunity. -- HAPPY TO TRADE PLACES
DEAR ABBY: A less-expensive option for long-legged fliers is to buy an extra coach seat. Claude could purchase three seats together. That way he could sit sideways and put items in the central seat. Neither my wife nor I have long legs, but we fly this way for comfort on long flights. -- STEPHEN IN TUCSON, ARIZ.
DEAR ABBY: When Claude offered to treat her to the trip, he put himself in the role of a "host." A host does not treat himself to steak while offering hamburger to his guest. I am accompanying my husband on a business trip. His company will pay for him to fly business class and I will purchase a coach ticket for myself. My husband insists on flying coach with me, saying that a gentleman would never fly in a different class than his wife. -- WE'RE IN IT TOGETHER
DEAR ABBY: My husband always sits in business class while I sit in coach when we travel long distances. He has a back problem and I don't. Why spend a lot of money on something so fleeting? We have plenty of time together once we arrive at our destination. I have never thought of myself as subservient -- just practical. -- ENJOYS LIFE IN COACH
DEAR ABBY: By all means, "Not Ungrateful" should go to France as planned. Her seatmate in coach could be a delightful person -- maybe even someone with whom she'd rather spend the rest of her life. Or, he could be someone she'll meet in France. Life's little twists and turns can be strange and mysterious, but they lead us to our destiny. -- BETTIE IN ALBUQUERQUE
DEAR ABBY: Claude wouldn't know chivalry if it bit him in the face. Men usually try to put their best foot forward in the beginning of a relationship. If this is his best foot, "Not Ungrateful" might want to pass on the trip and him altogether.
Claude is a buffoon to expect his girlfriend to be grateful for something he himself refuses to abide by because "it's uncomfortable." Perhaps he should tie her hair into two pigtails and force her to fly in the cargo hold as a cocker spaniel instead. -- WOOF!