This Week’s “Dear Abby Hijacked”

Ken AshfordDear Abby HijackedLeave a Comment

Today I am introducing, as a semi-regular feature on this blog, a segment called DEAR ABBY HIJACKED, in which I take letters to Dear Abby (printed earlier in the week) and provide my own answers without bothering to read what "Abby" said in response.

Simple concept really.  Might be fun.

So away we go with the debut installment:

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Richie," and I have been together three years. Richie watches his pennies, so I was very surprised two days before Valentine’s Day to return from a family trip and find a gorgeous vase of professionally arranged flowers and a small heart-shaped box of chocolates on my coffee table.

I was very impressed, surprised and excited. I asked Richie where he got them, and he told me the name of a high-priced florist. I was off work the day before Valentine’s Day, so I went out, bought expensive wine and filet mignon and made a fantastic home-cooked meal for him.

When Richie got home from work, I asked him again where he got the flowers, and he again named the florist. I asked if he really went and got them, and if they were really intended for me. (It was just so out of character for him to splurge like that. The arrangement must have cost at least $100.) When he didn’t respond, I probed some more. He finally confessed they were from a funeral his parents had attended the day before I got home.

Can you believe Richie was trying to pass off flowers from a complete stranger’s funeral as nice flowers he got me for Valentine’s Day? He lied to me. Now he says I’m ungrateful and that there’s nothing wrong with what he did! I told him he is greedy and cheap, and the thoughtful thing to do with leftover funeral flowers would have been to take them to a cancer ward at a hospital or to a local nursing home.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? I’m afraid this may be a deal-breaker. — ANN IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

Dear Ann,

Yes, I think you might be overreacting.  Why was it important that Richie have spent actual money on you?  Do you measure his love for you (or your love for him) by the amount of dollars and cents he spends?

And why is it less "thoughtful" to give those flowers to you rather than to a cancer ward or local nursing home? 

The fact is, he DID get those flowers for you for Valentine’s Day, and it doesn’t matter that he was able to get them for free.  The same goes for the chocolates (which you seem to have ignored).

That said, there may be a problem if Richie is financially well off and can afford to splurge on you.  But perhaps he can’t.  Does he "watch his pennies" because he HAS to, or because he truly is miserly?  It’s not clear from your letter.  If it is the former, then cut him some slack.  If it is the latter, then consider this incident a red flag. 

Another red flag is the fact that he initially lied to you.  But before you castigate him for that, ask yourself why you think he lied.  Was he ashamed?  Have you been so materialistic as to make him feel ashamed?  If the answer to those questions is "yes", then the two of you have much to work out, and that includes you.  If the answer is "no", then — again — you have yourself another red flag warning.


Dear Abby Hijacked

DEAR ABBY: Will you please suggest a response that will end the conversation when someone comments in a negative way on how young I look, and asks what I have done? I’m 69, but look a decade younger.

I grew up plain and poor, but became a successful professional and changed my appearance. I have had hair and makeup lessons, advice on clothing and cosmetic surgery.

I often receive rude comments from both strangers and acquaintances who have chosen to age "naturally." I’m not interested in answering their sly questions about cosmetic surgery, but because I’m usually accosted in social settings, I don’t want to be rude. I just want to make them realize that I consider their questions impolite and want them to shut up. Any ideas? — PRETTY CAN BE BOUGHT, WACO, TEXAS

Dear Pretty,

Perhaps the thing to do is to not take compliments about "how young you look" negatively.  There is no shame in cosmetic surgery, getting hair and makeup lessons, etc.  The prejudice against those things seems to lie within you, not others.  Why not just be up front?  Why not say "I care about how I look, so I had my face lifted?"  Or whatever.

People taking an interest in your youthful looks is not impolite.  It’s a compliment.  Take it as one.  And if they still look down on you because you won’t allow yourself to age "naturally", then find yourself a new set of acquaintances who accept your lifestyle choices.  But before you can ask others to accept your choices, be sure that you have accepted those choices as well, and are proud of them.


Dear Abby Hijacked