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Abby; Funerals for closeted friends could be awkward for gay man

Dear Abby: I'm a gay man in my early 60s. I have been fortunate to live pretty openly, despite being stuck in a small, conservative Southern town. Many guys I have gotten to know over the years are not so lucky, due to being married, afraid for their careers, etc. As a result, many of them lead double lives with their true orientation known only to other gays.

When one of these acquaintances passes away, should I attend the funeral services to pay my respects, even though I might not have known anyone else in the family? Or should I stay away to keep tongues from wagging and asking, "How did Sam know THAT GUY?" -- CIRCUMSPECT IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CIRCUMSPECT: Not everyone who attends a funeral is an intimate friend of the deceased. Some of them are people who knew the person from a distance and admired what he or she accomplished in life. If you feel the need to go to the funeral, by all means do. But have an answer prepared in case you are asked questions because "How did you know Bob?" is a common and innocent one.

DEAR ABBY: A couple of months after moving in with my boyfriend, I have realized that his mattress is not a good fit for me. He says that it's 12 years old and it still has 10 to 15 years left in it.

Every day I wake up with an aching, stiff back. I have a job that keeps me standing all day, so my back pain is starting to affect my performance. I like living with him, but how can I get him to replace the mattress? It seems he has chosen the mattress over me, so I guess I'll start sleeping on the floor. -- SLEEPY IN ST. LOUIS

DEAR SLEEPY: According to the website of one of the top mattress manufacturers, the average lifespan of a quality mattress is between eight and 10 years. Mattresses older than that can suffer from deteriorating comfort features and diminished support capabilities.

Many consumers wait too long to replace their mattresses. If you wake up in the morning not feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, or feeling pain or discomfort, then it's time to replace this one. So talk with your boyfriend again. If he's not willing to invest in a replacement, suggest buying a firm mattress topper or even splitting the cost for a new mattress.

A restful night's sleep is essential for good health. If you are unable to convince him, then you may have moved in with him too quickly.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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