DEAR ABBY: I am a 76-year-old man who is romantically involved with a 65-year-old lady. She knows I take Viagra. I recently had to go out of town for a week. Before I left, she demanded that I give her my bottle of Viagra. She said she would return it as soon as I got back.
What I did not tell my lady friend is that I don't always need Viagra to "perform." Should I remain silent and let her believe that without the little blue pill I'll be forced to remain faithful?
Honesty is the best long-term policy, but is there a limit to just "how" honest one should be?
— A VITAL MAN IN ARKANSAS
DEAR VITAL MAN: In this case, keep your own counsel. If you tell your lady friend you don't always "need" Viagra, she may start wondering why you always need it with her and find the implication insulting.
DEAR ABBY: As a child, it was painfully obvious that my mother favored my brother, "Clint," over me. Everything he did was considered perfect and was bragged about. Because I was a girl, I was expected to step and fetch for him. To this day, my opinions hold no weight against those of my brother. I have always been hurt by this, but I have lived with it.
Clint moved 3,000 miles away years ago. I am the one caring for Mom, although Clint contributes financial assistance. When he and his family came to visit for a week, my daughter asked me why Grandma respects and is prouder of Clint's children — all boys — than of her.
Grandma is proud that one of the boys knows about computers, but my daughter has BUILT computers. Grandma is proud because one of the boys is studying piano. My daughter has played flute for 10 years. Grandma brags about another of the boys' ability at rowing, but never about my daughter's achievements in academics.
How do I keep my daughter from feeling resentful, and what should I tell her?
— LESS VALUED IN GREENVILLE, S.C.
DEAR LESS VALUED: Tell your daughter the truth — that your mother always favored your brother, and that this is just more of the same. Tell her that she is a terrific daughter and that YOU are proud of her. And explain that there is no pleasing Grandma, which is why she should keep her distance.
DEAR ABBY: My husband's aunt was gorgeous when she was young. At 90, obviously her appearance has changed. After many illnesses, her looks have faded.
When she shows me pictures of herself in her youth, it's obvious she wants a response, but "you were beautiful" seems cruel, pointing out that she is no longer. To pretend she still is would be disingenuous.
I have been in this situation with other elderly people. What is a complimentary and sincere comment at these times?
— REALIST IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR REALIST: Your aunt is reminded of the fact that she's no longer in the full bloom of youth every time she brushes her teeth in front of the mirror. So why not give her the compliment she deserves? Say, "Auntie, you were drop-dead gorgeous! I'm sure you stopped traffic." If you do, I'm willing to bet she has a few stories to tell you about when she did exactly that.
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.