DEAR ABBY: I love my husband, but how do you make a man stop embarrassing you in public?
My husband flirts openly with cashiers right in front of me, and asks complete strangers walking by if they would "like to buy a wife cheap."
Yesterday we went out to lunch and the bill was $18.42. He made a big fuss about it with the cashier, then loudly informed me it was my "fat a—" meal that cost so much. Abby, my meal was $6. I died a million deaths that day.
My husband is proud to have the nickname "Mr. Rude." Many of my friends avoid him because of his rudeness. He tells me people think it's funny, but I know they are offended.
— NOT LAUGHING IN CINCINNATI
DEAR NOT LAUGHING: Excuse me? Is "Mr. Rude" the same man you married, or is his poor imitation of Henny Youngman something new? If it's something new, your husband needs his head examined. If it's the way he has always behaved and you have tolerated being ridiculed this way for years, then you need to tell him to knock it off or ask yourself why you put up with it.
Your husband's behavior is inexcusable. But, if necessary, two can play that "game." With a little time I'm sure you can come up with a retort or two that will teach him a lesson he won't forget. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
DEAR ABBY: I am a bachelor by choice. I love my freedom. If I were interested in raising children, I would have married and had some.
My problem is a young man I'll call "Kyle." Kyle is 14 and attends the same house of worship that I do. He has become attached to my hip.
Kyle is extremely intelligent, multilingual (which I am not), but small for his age. Whenever I go there, he changes seats to be near me. If I ask him to move for a moment so I can speak privately to someone, he gets a hurt look on his face.
The boy has few friends, probably because he's more intelligent than most teens. His father, also an intellectual, often puts Kyle down.
His mother told me Kyle talks about me often at home — when he's not beating up his younger brother, raging at his parents or throwing temper tantrums. Abby, I don't want to be a role model. I am older than his parents. I enjoy talking to him after services, but I do not want to be his buddy.
Kyle's mother has now started asking me to come to their home for meals, in an effort to control the boy. (When Kyle is with me, he is kinder, more considerate, polite and helpful than he usually is, according to his mom.)
How can I, without hurting this young man or changing my place of worship, get Kyle to find a buddy closer to his age?
— SOLO IN FLORIDA
DEAR SOLO: You should not be placed in the position of trying to solve this troubled family's problems. Kyle isn't looking for a "friend"; he is looking for a father.
Start by talking to your religious adviser and explaining what you know about Kyle's family situation. Perhaps his "intellectual" but insensitive father can be made to recognize that his son's problems stem from the need for a parent who loves, values and accepts him. And if he doesn't get it now, Dad may be paying for a lot of couch time later.
P.S. Politely refuse those dinner invitations, because if you don't, you'll not only be socially obligated to reciprocate in some way, you will also be trapped.
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.