DEAR AMY: I am a 35-year-old divorced mother of two. Around the time I got divorced, I met "Chris," who was going through a divorce of his own.
During the last five years, Chris and I have become good friends. He is good with my kids, genuine, responsible, intelligent and a good catch. We get along great. We saw each other about once a week, catching a movie, lunch or dinner, coffee break, picnic, park with the kids, etc.
I've known from the beginning that he has romantic feelings for me. I don't share these feelings. I have never given him any indication that I want anything more than friendship from him.
However, after dinner the other night, he tried to kiss me. I pushed him away.
He is hurt and confused and says we are very compatible. He says we do everything like a couple — except that we are not intimate.
Chris is everything I want in a man, but he is morbidly obese. I don't think I am superficial, but I am wondering.
He has tried to lose weight but always gains it back. I've never made a comment about his weight, but I know he is quite sensitive about it. In all honesty, even if he lost the weight, I'm not sure if I would be attracted to him.
I don't want to hurt his feelings and tell him that I'm not attracted to him. I don't want our friendship to end, but what should I do?
— Just Friendship
DEAR JUST: Your friend breached a boundary between the two of you. He owes you an apology.
While out-of-nowhere kisses seem sort of charming in the movies, in real life this is an aggressive act and now poses a challenge to your relationship.
You know Chris has had romantic feelings for you from the start, and now you two must deal with it directly.
You don't need to acknowledge the "elephant in the room." Chris will assume that his weight is the deal-breaker no matter what you say.
Just tell him, "I know you feel romantic toward me, but I don't toward you. I don't see that changing, and I'm sorry we didn't talk about this sooner. I'd like to continue to spend time with you as friends, but I understand if you don't want to."
DEAR AMY: As it is virtually impossible to find American manicurists in the city where I live, all my friends and I are exasperated by manicurists who mostly tend to speak loudly or shout across to one another in a foreign language. I find their voices very reedy and irritating.
Can you please suggest a polite, inoffensive way to inform these otherwise nice folks that it is considered rude to speak in a language that clients cannot understand and/or to request that they lower their voices?
— J in Los Angeles
DEAR J: Many salon regulars identified with the character Elaine in the "Seinfeld" episode in which she became convinced that the technicians in the nail salon were talking about and laughing at her because they were all conversing in their native language.
You could try saying, "Would you mind speaking in English while I'm here?" and notify the salon's manager of your preference. If you can't manage that, it is perfectly reasonable to ask people if they could speak more quietly.
DEAR AMY: I'm responding to "Lost in Cyberspace," about the widower who was sending too many e-mails to other people.
I am a widow in my 60s. I cannot explain how lonely the days are with no one to interact with. At least sending e-mail lets me keep in contact when phoning is not an option because of time of day, etc.
The children of this widower could do much to relieve his loneliness with a simple phone call. The main thing is he needs to hear from people on a regular basis. This will alleviate his need to be at the computer.
DEAR SUE: I agree that e-mail is a great way to keep in touch, but this particular widower was sending a high volume of inappropriate material via e-mail, and his kids were concerned.
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