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Saturday, January 28, 2023

How to respond to insensitive question

Dear Abby: In response to “Ageless Lady in Washington” (Oct. 8), who sought a retort to people who ask her age, I had an aunt who refused to divulge her age. She would say to anyone inquiring, “I’ll excuse you for asking, if you’ll excuse me for not ANSWERING.” — Jane M. in Florida

Dear Jane: That was a classic Dear Abby retort from many years ago, and one I have also recommended. Readers had fun suggesting answers to the delicate question “How old are you?” Read on:

Dear Abby: My grandmother lived to 103. She always answered, “I’m old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future.” She was still saying this past her 100th birthday. — Mrs. F in California

Dear Abby: “Ageless Lady’s” letter reminded me of the response my great aunt would use when asked her age. She would say, “Can you keep a secret?” When the person would reply with “Yes, I can,” she would then say, “So can I!” That was usually the end of the conversation. — Rita W. in North Carolina

Dear Abby: Something I heard in a TV commercial would be a perfect response to what “Ageless” considers a rude question: “Age is just a number. Mine is unlisted.” — Carole R. in Arizona

Dear Abby: As a child I heard — and still remember — my mom’s answer to that question. I enjoy sharing it when the opportunity arises: “I’m the same age as my tongue, and a little older than my teeth.” I enjoy the look of puzzlement it creates. — Dianne H. in The South

Dear Abby: I think it’s time we stopped behaving as if getting to be a certain age, particularly as women, is something to hide. I hope we will quit giving kids the message that older women are “less than.” I know the beauty industry would like to perpetuate that myth for economic benefit, but we don’t have to aid and abet them. — Lisa A. in Connecticut

Dear Abby: When I’m asked how old I am, I answer, “When I was born, the rainbow was black and white.”

Dear Abby: I once received a birthday card that dealt with the issue perfectly. It had a picture of a falcon on it and it read, “If someone asks your age, tell them what Farquart the Talking Falcon says: None of your falcon business!” –– David S. in Georgia

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com

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