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by Abigail Van Buren

Man With 'Inner Qualities' Has Fewer Than He Thinks

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Available in Maine," who lamented that women disregard him because he is not drop-dead handsome and doesn't drive a Jaguar. He included the ways in which he would show his love if only a woman would see the inner qualities of this mid-30s man with a master's degree.

Although you gave him sympathy, my double-standard alarm went off. Suspicious phrases include: "Is it lovely outside, or is it just you?" and "I'll hide cute little gifts so I can put a smile on your beautiful face." I would be willing to bet serious money that he is not talking about inner beauty.

In my experience, most average-looking women in their mid-30s have long since given up any fantasies of an Adonis in a Jaguar sweeping them off their feet. They are looking for a life partner with whom to share love, respect and the storms of life. I doubt these are the women "Available" has in mind. I would bet that he has his heart set on a beautiful woman 10 years his junior that he can put on a pedestal (or in a trophy case).

I've known several of these men, average-looking males who bemoan their lack of success with their latest obsession -- who is always lovely and always much younger. I've also known many bright, witty and interesting professional women in their 30s and 40s who never have a date because all the men their age are busy pursuing pretty girls in their 20s.

"Available" might do well to examine his own values first. Perhaps he's the one who is passing judgment based on appearance. After all, shallowness knows no gender.

My husband and I are average on the looks scale. I'm 49 and he's 48, and we've been married for four wonderful years. I know what it's like to be in a partnership of equals based on love and respect, and there's nothing better. -- SUSPICIOUS IN WASHINGTON

DEAR ABBY: I disagree with you concerning your response to "Feeling Guilty." You told her you saw no reason to tell her children that their father had been married previously.

My mom had told my brothers and me that she and Dad had eloped and were married by a justice of the peace.

When I was 18, my mother died. While helping Dad sort through her things, I found some pictures of her as a bride in a formal wedding gown. Several aunts and uncles and other family members were in those pictures.

This left me wondering why my three brothers and I had never been told about Mom's first marriage. I was hurt to think she didn't trust me enough to share that part of her life with me.

My grandmother was left to explain my mother's first marriage, and I was left to wonder what else I didn't know about my mother. -- HURT DAUGHTER

DEAR HURT: Although I saw no reason why "Feeling Guilty" should tell her children about their father's first marriage since it was very brief and was annulled by the Catholic Church, I confirmed her option to tell her children when they were old enough to understand what a "divorce" is.

DEAR ABBY: A letter that appeared in your column about baton twirling reminded me of something I witnessed many years ago:

During World War II, I was aboard ship in the South Pacific. One day one of the ship's crew members picked up a section of a broken broom handle and, stepping up on the after cargo hatch, began twirling the stick like a baton. He was absolutely fantastic! I watched spellbound by his artistic expertise. And so did a lot of other men aboard the LST (Landing Ship, Tanks). When he finished his exhibition, the sailors and Marines gave him a standing ovation. His demonstration was not considered effeminate by any of the crew or Marines.

By the way, the Marines were from the 5th Marine Division and we were headed for Iwo Jima! -- MARION E. HUTSON, PORTSMOUTH, VA.

READERS: A little reminder. Today is Friday the 13th. Don't walk under ladders or let a black cat cross your path.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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