DEAR ABBY: I have lived in the United States for 40 years. My first 32 years were spent in Puerto Rico, so I speak with an accent. My problem is, almost everyone I meet asks me where I’m from. I usually try to disguise my discomfort by jokingly asking them to guess.
The truth is, I feel singled out as being different and not belonging. My friends and family tell me I’m being too sensitive, that people are just curious. I say it’s rude to ask such a personal question of a total stranger.
Would it be impolite for me to point out that they’re asking for very personal information? Am I being too sensitive? — Accented in Georgia
DEAR ACCENTED: I think so. People are often curious when someone has an accent that is different from theirs. I have a strong Midwestern accent, and people ask me where I’m from. They aren’t asking because they are nosy. They’re trying to be friendly. Many people in this country come from other places, and the more people who come here, the more often that question will be raised.
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Spotlight makes her uncomfortable
DEAR ABBY: My four wonderful kids want to give their father and me a 50th wedding anniversary celebration next year. The problem is, everyone knows I’m an introvert who does not like going to parties. The thought of being the main focus of a big gathering fills me with dread.
My husband, who is outgoing, says I should let them do it for us if it will make them happy. He would probably enjoy it, but for me it will just be something to suffer through. I’d rather do something with just the two of us, like see a Broadway show.
What do you think? Do I have to do this, even though I don’t want to? — Rose of Texas
DEAR ROSE: I don’t think you should have to suffer, but a compromise might be the solution to your problem. Instead of a large gathering, why not have a family celebration with your children, their spouses and your grandchildren? And then, because you would like to see a Broadway show, go to New York for a “second honeymoon.”
His unattractive fingernails
DEAR ABBY: I recently began dating a man who is kind, intelligent and fun. The only drawback I can see is that he keeps his fingernails long. I feel superficial confessing that something so seemingly petty is off-putting, but it is.
Is it OK to make a request of a man regarding his physical appearance? If so, how do I broach the conversation? And if not, what can I do so it won’t bother me? — Put Off in Delaware
DEAR PUT OFF: Could this man be a guitarist and need the nails for strumming? If not, I don’t think it would be rude to casually ask him why he keeps his fingernails long.
You might also suggest that the next time you go for a manicure he come along and then suggest to him that men often get them and offer to treat him to one. If he has never experienced this, it might be a life-changing revelation. (That’s what I’d do.)
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.