DEAR ABBY: I am a 48-year-old single male. I teach an adult Sunday school class. Two women who have joined our group have made it plain they would like to have a romantic relationship with me.
I'm not sure how to handle this. I'd like to meet someone special, too, but I'm not certain this is the right way.
- Troubled Teacher
in the South
DEAR TROUBLED TEACHER: Tell the women you have a policy that you do not date your students. To do otherwise would be distracting and disruptive to the class.
Once they have "graduated," there is nothing to stop you from dating both of them. One may turn out to be that someone special you have been looking for, but if she's not, you'll have saved everyone from unnecessary drama.
DEAR ABBY: We are a gay couple who have been together for 37 years. We were recently invited to the wedding of a close nephew in San Antonio. The invitation was addressed to us both, and we flew 5,000 miles to attend.
At the ceremony, my partner, "Alan," was seated in front with the groom's family. While we were being shown to our seats, I was told by the groom's father, "Sorry. You can sit somewhere else." Alan and I were deeply offended.
How should we express our displeasure and prevent this from happening again when the niece marries? Do we have a right to say anything?
- Snubbed in Honolulu
DEAR SNUBBED: Of course you do. The groom's father was extremely rude to separate you. The person who issued the wedding invitation should be informed of how offensive it was. And if it happens again, the two of you should respond, "We are a couple, and we sit together."
DEAR ABBY: My wife is a cancer survivor who is doing well.
When a friend or relative learns she had cancer, a common response is, "Yeah, I knew someone who had the same kind of cancer. It was awful. It came back six months later and he/she died an agonizing, terrible death."
Abby, it's hard to remain polite around such thoughtless, moronic individuals when they blurt out something like this in my wife's presence. I can't imagine the fear she must experience hearing such remarks. Can you offer an effective retort?
- Baffled by the Ignorance
DEAR BAFFLED: Remarks such as you have described usually are made when people don't know what to say, so they blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. A polite response would be, "Thanks for your concern. My wife is doing great."
Of course the appropriate thing for friends and relatives to say would be, "I'm so glad you're better - I care about you and I was worried."
To raise the subject of someone who died from the disease is inappropriate and extremely insensitive.
There's an old Portuguese proverb: Never mention a rope in the house of a man who has been hanged. It definitely applies here.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self- addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby - Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.