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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Rick (not his real name) and I were attracted to each other the moment our eyes met. I am 24, Rick is 30. On our third date, we ended up in bed at his apartment.

Abby, I was so disappointed. He fizzled out in the middle of a very exciting moment. Then Rick explained that he has been unable to function with any woman who is not a redhead. He told me he liked me a lot, and asked me if I would dye my hair red. I am heartbroken. I like Rick very much, but I am very dark- complexioned and feel that my black hair is far more appropriate than a thatch of red hair.

Abby, do you think he's telling the truth? Are there really men who can function sexually only with women with a certain color hair? -- NAMELESS IN LAS VEGAS

DEAR NAMELESS: Perhaps. From your description, it appears more like a case of first-night jitters than a hair color preference. An honest conversation about his needs and yours is in order. The question is less about whether you can conform to his needs, than can he conform to yours.

DEAR ABBY: This letter is for "Hurting in Whittier, Calif.," who thinks that wrinkles on her face are keeping her from getting a second look from men. There is nothing that will make people respond to her more than a sincere smile. It will make her wrinkles essentially disappear. Not only will it make her feel good, it will brighten the day of everyone she greets.

Abby, there is no guarantee that having a man in her life will make her feel any better. Believe me, I have had more to smile about since my husband of 27 years left town with another woman. I look younger, feel younger, and my morale has improved 100 percent. I have the same wrinkles I had when he was here, but no one notices them because I smile so often.

To paraphrase a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Happiness is like a butterfly -- the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and softly sits on your shoulder."

I hope "Hurting in Whittier's" shoulders will soon be loaded with butterflies of happiness. Sign me ... ALONE BUT NOT HURTING NOW, DANVILLE, KY.

DEAR ALONE: I'm printing your letter because many readers can benefit from your uplifting message. As the lyrics from a song in the Broadway musical "Annie" say: "You're never fully dressed without a smile!"

DEAR ABBY: What can I do when I am graciously treated to a restaurant meal by a friend or colleage, and when the bill comes, an inappropriate tip is left for the server?

I am embarrassed if we have received good or exceptional service and yet my dining companion leaves only a 10 percent tip, or less.

Whether it's an oversight, lack of appreciation for the 15 to 20 percent rule, or a lack of math skills, I feel compelled to supplement the tip out of my own pocket if I think the server deserves more. How can I do this without offending my host or hostess? -- WELL-FED IN SACRAMENTO

DEAR WELL-FED: There is no need to offend or embarrass your host by calling attention to the small tips that shortchange a server, so as you leave the table, leave your tip as inconspicuously as possible.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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