DEAR ABBY: My 24-year-old daughter and 21-year-old son work as banquet servers at a local country club. Many of the receptions at which they serve include guests consuming large amounts of alcohol.
If an intoxicated male guest made suggestive comments to my daughter or touched her, he would be asked to leave the facility. But what is my son supposed to do when an intoxicated woman, usually much older than he, pinches his backside and makes inappropriate comments or "invitations"?
My son isn't a prude. His sense of humor allows him to "laugh it off," but it happens often and he is becoming annoyed. In fact, he'll say, "Mom, it's pretty gross!" Abby, what are these woman thinking? What should he do to promote self-respect but not cause an uncomfortable atmosphere for himself and the guests? -- CURIOUS MOM IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR MOM: The employee protection rules are no different for males than they are for females. What your son should do first is document the incidents with dates, times and the women involved. He should then report their behavior to the banquet supervisor at the country club. I'm sure the person in charge will want to know, because if the sexual harassment isn't stopped, it could result in a very embarrassing -- and possibly costly -- lawsuit against the club.
DEAR ABBY: I recently began dating a widowed co-worker. We are both private people and we have kept our personal lives out of the workplace. Only our close friends at work know we are dating.
The issue we now face is the office gossip queen has spotted us out and about, and is asking all our friends about whether or not we're dating. We barely know this woman and don't care much for her. How do I politely respond when people start asking me about my boyfriend?
I'm concerned that if I tell them we're seeing each other, I'll be treated differently because he had been widowed only a short time. I have spent my entire life avoiding the drama machine, and now I'm afraid I'll be thrown onto center stage. Please help me. -- DRAMA-FREE MOUSE
DEAR MOUSE: Face it, your secret is out. If you prefer not to discuss your private life, all you have to do is say so to those who question you out of curiosity.
But why are you afraid that you'll be treated differently? Whether your co-worker's wife died two weeks or two months ago, he is available. Widowers have told me that women have approached them within days of their wives' funerals. You're acting like you feel guilty for being happy. For both of your sakes, please stop feeling like you're doing something wrong.
DEAR READERS: I am pleased to offer the traditional Thanksgiving Prayer that was penned by my dear mother, Pauline Phillips. No Thanksgiving would be complete for me without it.
Oh, Heavenly Father,
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service,
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
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- DEAR ABBY