DEAR HARRIETTE: I am going to celebrate my 40th year on this earth in a couple of days. Friends from across the country will come to Memphis to celebrate my big day. Love is going to fill the room, and I am looking forward to partying with my guests, but one man coming to my party is different. I really like him, however I don't think he knows that I like him. How do I start a conversation with him without being embarrassed? -- It is My Party, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR IT IS MY PARTY: I'm not sure that your party is the place to break the news to your friend. I suggest that you enjoy your party and pay attention to all of your guests. Bask in the glow of reaching this special age and having so much love around you. Be open to noticing if this man shows any particular affection toward you, but do not act on anything.
What you can safely do is invite him to go out for lunch or dinner or another activity on another day where the two of you can talk to each other without an entourage and music that will likely be distracting. In terms of reducing embarrassment, I say embrace your 40s! You have just stepped into a space where you have earned the experience to be confident and clear in your needs and desires. When you are one-on-one, tell this man that you would like to see if there's something more than friendship in your future. Ask him if he would like to find out.