DEAR ABBY: Yesterday I made a visit to a city larger than the one in which I currently reside and encountered a problem I have never had before.

I was in a women’s restroom when a man wearing a wig walked in. It was obvious that this 6-footer, with a large Adam’s apple, deep husky voice, dressed in a floral print dress and high heels, was a man.

Should a transvestite be allowed to use the ladies’ restroom? And if sex change surgery was performed, are there any visible signs? – BEWILDERED IN ADA, OKLA.

There is a difference between a transvestite (someone who feels compelled to wear the clothing of the opposite sex) and a transsexual. A transsexual is a person who feels trapped in the body of the wrong sex. Before a transsexual is allowed to have gender reassignment surgery, he or she must live for one year in the role of someone of the opposite sex. This includes using the restroom facilities of the opposite gender. It is not against the law, and it was no threat to you. (And it was probably safer for the pre-op transsexual than using the men’s room would have been.)

When sex change surgery is performed, the surgeons have perfected their technique to such a degree that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to tell that it has been done.

DEAR ABBY: I recently received the following invitation via the Internet:

“You are all cordially invited to a


“Tristan” and “Isolde”

“at 222 Valentine Court

“On July 25 from 1-5 p.m.

“Tristan and Issy are registered at:

“Pier One, Costco and Target

“Come and bring a friend! Tell everyone else you know as well, because I only had a few e-mail addresses. Thanks and God bless!”

Maybe casual is “in,” but I still believe we should observe some of the rules of etiquette, don’t you? I thought this was really rude and tacky, and your comments would be appreciated. – CRYSTAL IN KANSAS CITY

Where I come from, showers are warm, intimate, personal gatherings where friends come together to give gifts and good wishes to the people being honored. The “invitation” you received had all the personal warmth of a casting call for extras in a historical epic – and I don’t blame you for being turned off.

DEAR ABBY: This may seem ridiculous, but it’s true. My fiance and I are about to break up over his cologne. I’m allergic to it and other manufactured scents. He insists he “must” use it.

I have concluded it’s about his disrespect for my needs. He says I am being unreasonable. Where do we go from here? – MILLIE IN MIAMI

You and your fiance need to go for a consultation with the doctor who is treating you for your allergies, which are nothing to be sneezed at. Your fiance’s attitude may not be about disrespect as much as woeful ignorance about how severe these kinds of allergies can be. Allergy sufferers exposed to certain chemicals have been known to have severe, life-threatening reactions. If, after discussing this with your doctor, your fiance still feels you are being “unreasonable,” then you may indeed need to break the engagement.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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