DEAR ABBY: I recently attended a party to honor a much-loved and highly respected high school teacher who was retiring after 38 years of service. His wife and family attended, as did all the other teachers.

The social committee hired a young woman to "crash" the party dressed in a policeman's uniform, and give the retiring teacher a "citation."Then, to the accompaniment of some taped music, she stripped down to a black fishnet body stocking with a few doodads here and there, and proceeded to fondle the honored guest while trying to involve him in a very sexy dance!

The honoree was visibly embarrassed but tried to be a good sport. The guests were also embarrassed but laughed to hide their embarrassment.

I was more angry than embarrassed. My first impulse was to leave, but I didn't want to insult the guest of honor and his family, so I stayed and simmered.

Abby, what should a disapproving guest have done under such trying circumstances? - PITTSBURGH SCHOOLTEACHER

DEAR TEACHER: A disapproving guest should have done exactly what you did - remained and politely tolerated the tasteless stunt. I'm sure the social committee meant well, but their judgment was out to lunch.

DEAR ABBY: As a child my mother taught me that when I was in a store trying on clothes, after I took a dress off I was to put it back on the hanger.

I never realized how unusual my mother was until I started working in a beautiful dress shop.

I am appalled at the way some women treat the clothes they have tried on! They drop them on the floor and step over them, or wad several dresses together and throw them over a chair - not to mention how they yank the garments over their thighs and split the seams.

Once I waited on a young woman who was trying on dresses. Her mother was with her, and when the girl started to put a dress back on the hanger, her mother said, "Oh, don't bother to do that - the salesgirl will do it!"

Please mention this in your column. Perhaps some people don't realize that when they beat up the merchandise, the store has to mark it down, and they're the ones who take the beating. - OLD-TIME SALESGIRL

DEAR SALESGIRL: You may have done the retail merchants a great favor by writing this letter. (It's a first.)

Ladies, when trying on garments, treat them all as though you were going to own them.

DEAR ABBY: This concerns the letter from "Mr. Clean Plate," whose wife considered it bad manners to finish all the food on the plate. You answered, "It's bad manners to mop up every drop of gravy with a piece of bread."

Abby, that's true in public or when you have guests for dinner, but it's all right in your own home with family.

My mother is a wonderful cook. When she makes goulash or chicken livers with rice, I clean my plate. Sometimes when no one is looking, I even lick my plate! Mom considers it the highest compliment. - LICKIN' AND LOVING' IT ON LONG ISLAND

DEAR LICKIN': I'm all for complimenting mother on her cooking, but licking the plate in the presence of others is for animals - not people.

C) 1989 Universal Press Syndicate