DEAR ABBY: When I was a young man in my 20s, I lifted weights and worked out a lot. I was very proud of my physique - especially my well-developed chest. I am now 62, and I'm sorry to say I did not keep up with my exercising, because the muscles in my chest are soft and flabby and I need a brassiere. These breasts are really heavy and they hurt.

My wife said I should go to a doctor and have the things cut off. I went to the doctor, and he said I could have them surgically removed - like a woman having a double mastectomy - but most men with this problem prefer to wear an elastic support bra.I have been married 41 years. I am not kinky or anything like that, but I do need help. My wife says real men do not wear bras. I really wouldn't mind wearing one, as no one would ever see it except my wife. If she would just shut up, I'd try it. What do you think? - TOP-HEAVY

DEAR TOP-HEAVY: Whether she shuts up or not, do whatever is necessary to relieve yourself of the discomfort. Ask your doctor to recommed a shop that sells the elastic support garment he describes. And, if that doesn't put an end to your discomfort, consider surgery. Your problem is unusual, but not uncommon.

DEAR ABBY: In your reply to "Slow Eater" in Tucson, you used the word "waitperson." Do you have a dictionary that includes the word waitperson?

If a waitperson in a restaurant is slow to bring the food, are the would-be diners then guest waitpersons? Is a butler a front-door waitperson? If I'm standing in line to get into a theater, does that make me a theater line waitperson?

What is wrong with the long-standing, well-understood, less cumbersome words "waiter" and "waitress"? Must we invent a new language? In some languages, every noun is either male or female gender, so why are we concerned that the few English words that refer to gender might offend someone? Has a diner ever failed to notice the "waitperson's" gender? (Incidentally, why does "waiter" refer only to a male person, while "diner" includes both male and female?) Sign me . . . WAIT (HATER) PERSON IN ALBUQUERQUE

DEAR WAIT (HATER) PERSON: I did not invent the word "waitperson." It appears in my Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd Edition, Unabridged, page 2,137. And I am now a person waiting for your apology.

DEAR ABBY: I am a past president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Italian American War Veterans in Chicago. I am also a longtime fan of you and your sister. I want you to know that we have used your Thanksgiving prayer all year long to open our luncheons and dinners, and whenever an invocation is appropriate. We find that it follows the dictates of everything we stand for.

We would further like you to know that we have received many compliments on using this thought-provoking, stirring "prayer" and never fail to credit Dear Abby as its author. - NORMA E. BATTISTI, CHICAGO

DEAR MRS. BATTISTI: How kind of you to let me know. Your gracious expression of gratitude made my day.