DEAR ABBY: I am sometimes invited to friends' birthday parties and, while I enjoy the celebration, I have one hang-up. When it's time to blow out the candles, sometimes my friends will blow real hard or even need more than one breath. (We're not exactly spring chickens.) To me, this is the equivalent of spitting all over the cake, and I can't bring myself to eat any after this display.
What is a "nice" way of saying, "I don't want any cake," without falling back on the old, "I'm trying to lose weight," especially since other snacks and drinks are also being served? I don't want to be a ... PARTY POOPER
DEAR PARTY POOPER: Your distaste is shared by many people. An effective way to handle the problem would be to mention your "quirk" to your friends long before their birthdays roll around. You could also set an example when your birthday arrives by serving cupcakes instead of a large one to your guests. Many people avoid the problem in this way -- and the portions are perfect.