DEAR ABBY: I'm a gay man in my early 60s. I have been fortunate to live pretty openly, despite being stuck in a small, conservative Southern town. Many guys I have gotten to know over the years are not so lucky, due to being married, afraid for their careers, etc. As a result, many of them lead double lives with their true orientation known only to other gays.
When one of these acquaintances passes away, should I attend the funeral services to pay my respects, even though I might not have known anyone else in the family? Or should I stay away to keep tongues from wagging and asking, "How did Sam know THAT GUY?" -- CIRCUMSPECT IN THE SOUTH
DEAR CIRCUMSPECT: Not everyone who attends a funeral is an intimate friend of the deceased. Some of them are people who knew the person from a distance and admired what he or she accomplished in life. If you feel the need to go to the funeral, by all means do. But have an answer prepared in case you are asked questions because "How did you know Bob?" is a common and innocent one.