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Posted on Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Dietary restrictions force woman to fend for herself

By Dear Abby


I was recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant. My question is, when dining at a restaurant, while everyone else is eating the bread that is served, is it acceptable to discreetly take a few gluten-free crackers from my purse and snack on them so I'm not starving while waiting for dinner?

My husband thought it was inappropriate, so I didn't take them. I did ask the waiter if he had gluten-free bread or crackers, but he didn't. I have many medical issues. I try to eat only what is healthy for me and thought providing my own crackers was a minor deal. What do you think, Abby? -- GLUTEN INTOLERANT IN FLORIDA


It's good that you were diagnosed, because gluten intolerance can cause serious digestive issues. Your husband may have had a bad day when he criticized you, because I see nothing wrong with someone on a restricted diet taking emergency rations in case a restaurant can't accommodate his or her special needs.

Gluten intolerance has gone undiagnosed in many people, but in recent years food manufacturers have created many products that are safe for them to eat. Accommodating a customer who is gluten intolerant shouldn't be an insurmountable problem if the restaurant is asked in advance.


I was standing in front of a restaurant with my mother-in-law and a group of relatives when she "felt up" my back and backside. We were facing the others when she put her hand around my back, first sideways and then all around until she got down to my rear end. It felt like she was searching for something, but the weather was warm and my blouse was very thin, so I couldn't have hidden anything. When she reached my behind, she pressed her thumb hard on my hipbone and rubbed in a circular motion.

I feel extremely violated because her hand should not be anywhere near that region. My husband says I misinterpreted what she did, but he has no explanation. I think her behavior was incestuous! When she visits, she also insists on sleeping in the master bedroom. Am I overreacting? -- VIOLATED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA


Unless your mother-in-law insists on sleeping between you and her son when she comes to visit, I do think you're overreacting. What she did was give you a back rub. In most families, a gesture like that is one of affection. Lighten up!


I'm planning my son's bar mitzvah, and my ex-husband hasn't lifted a finger to help me. I received two small checks for his portion of the guests who will attend the reception.

My question is, should I put his name on the invitation? Or do I just put my name on it since I'm the one hosting and putting the party together? I want to do the right thing, but I also want it made clear that I did the planning myself. -- MITZVAH MAMA IN NEW YORK


Be benevolent. For the sake of your child, include your ex-husband's name on the invitation. It isn't necessary to omit it so that you can get the credit. All you need to do is confide in one "yenta" that your son's father is a "schnorrer" and word will get around. Trust me.

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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