Dear Abby: My wife and I go out for lunch quite often. Our check is typically about $15, to which I customarily add a 15 percent tip.

My problem is the food servers who ask if I want my change back. This puts me in an awkward situation because it appears that the server is expecting a $5 tip, which in my opinion is too much for a $15 check.Abby, this happens all the time, and it's getting me steamed. I think it's totally improper for a food server to ask for a tip and to specify the amount.

How would you handle a situation like this?

- Steamed in Boston

Dear Steamed: I would tell the server that, yes, I wanted my change. Then I'd leave a 15 or 20 percent tip, depending on the service I'd received. Although in the past, servers have written to tell me that the question is asked to save a trip back to the table, I consider it to be presumptuous.

Dear Abby: This letter is in response to "Lost in North Carolina," who has herpes.

I am fortunate to be in a relationship with a fine woman who knows how much she is worth and brings joy and a great attitude into my life and the lives of her children. Yes, she has herpes. She had it long before I met her. She had so many of the important qualities I was looking for in a woman that it was not an issue.

With proper care and proper precaution, "Lost in North Carolina" can have a normal life. Sign me . . .

- Holding the Hand

of Someone Who's Been There

Dear Holding: I subscribe to your philosophy for successful living - and it applies to more challenges than herpes. Thank you for a helpful letter.

Dear Abby: I have a problem that may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it really bothers me.

I meet people, and the next time I see them, they do not remember having met me. While I can't always remember the name of a new acquaintance, I can at least remember having met that person.

Abby, it's a blow to my ego when someone has no recollection of having met me. I admit that I am on the shy and quiet side; perhaps that is why I'm not remembered.

Is there anything I can do to make a lasting impression?

- Mr. Forgettable

Dear Mr.: A good way to be remembered is to pay a new acquaintance a compliment. You need not go overboard, but everyone appreciates being complimented.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable - and most frequently requested - poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

1997 Universal Press Syndicate

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All of the Dear Abby columns for the past several years are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.