DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my late 40s and I hate sex. I always have and always will. I'm disabled, and it has always been torture. I never got any positive benefits out of it.
My problem is I get hit on constantly. I tried marriage once, more for financial reasons than anything else, but I couldn't wait to get out. I'm single now, own my own home, and the men in this town (married and single) all seem to think I'm fair game. They're convinced that I'm in need of satisfaction because I don't date or have a steady man in my life.
I have told them repeatedly that it's not going to happen, but every once in a while one pops up on my doorstep or approaches me in town, only to be told again to leave me alone.
Please don't tell me to see a therapist. The last one I went to tried to tell me I was gay. No! I'm simply happy being single and sex-free. I go where I want and don't have to answer to anyone. Short of running these idiots off with a shotgun, how do I get it through their thick skulls that I'm not available? -- SEXLESS BY CHOICE
DEAR SEXLESS: Although we live in a sex-obsessed society, not everyone -- male or female -- is a sexual creature. Your therapist should not have tried to label you as gay. You appear to be asexual, which you describe as happily sex-free.
The next time you are hit on by one of these men -- who, by the way, probably think that by doing so they are "helping" -- tell him you are happy with your life just the way it is, and it isn't necessary to offer help where none is needed. Period.
DEAR ABBY: I really like this girl, but my parents absolutely cannot stand her. They hate that she has a tattoo and a lip ring, but her appearance has had no effect on her professional life, as she is on the road to success in her field. I am not writing to ask whether I should stay with her, because I intend to. She's an amazing person, a hard worker, a trustworthy partner and, most of all, she's my best friend.
How can I diffuse potentially "combustible" situations with my parents, who always try to put her down no matter how often I plead my case? -- JOE IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR JOE: Whether your parents approve or not, tattoos seem to have become a rite of passage for many people of your generation, and so have lip rings, eyebrow rings and multiple ear piercings. If you are over 21 and living independent of your parents, then you have the right to choose the women you become involved with. From your letter, I'd say your values are mature.
In time, your parents may recognize the fine qualities you see in this young woman. If they don't, they may wind up estranging a son. Right now, getting into a debate about her will be a losing proposition and I'm advising you against it.
DEAR ABBY: I'll be visiting the United States in a couple of weeks, and I'm really excited. Now my question: How do I tip the waitress properly? I know to round the bill by 15 percent and up, but do I pay only in cash, or can I have this amount charged to my credit card? Are there any other things I have to look out for? I don't want to offend anyone. -- JUTTA IN TRIER, GERMANY
DEAR JUTTA: If you prefer to add your tip to your credit card, it is perfectly acceptable to do so. However, before you pay, you should review the bill to be sure that a gratuity has not already been included, which can happen when a group of people dine together. I hope you will enjoy your visit to our beautiful country and that it will be the first of many.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)