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Dear Abby: Readers offer responses for 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:

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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.”

— Not Your Business in Kansas

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

Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com.