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by Abigail Van Buren

Women in Dating Pool Have Their Own Way of Swimming

DEAR READERS: Yesterday I printed responses from male readers to the letter from "20-Something in L.A." listing her contemporary rules for dating. Today we'll sample some of the feedback I received from women. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I take exception to the dating guidelines offered by "20-Something in L.A." I see no reason why a gainfully employed adult should expect her date to pick up the tab for everything. Moreover, a young woman who lets her date pay for everything may well have a hard time refusing to "repay" her date with sex. Take it from a woman with a few more years of dating experience. Play fair and play safe. -- CARRYING MY OWN WEIGHT IN PORTLAND

DEAR ABBY: Here are a couple of additions to the dating guidelines for females:

Return his call even if you don't want to go out with him. It is rude and poor manners not to. If you don't want to go out with him, tell him so. Better to be honest than to get his hopes up and make him chase you.

If he breaks up with you for someone else, don't automatically blame her. It might be a blessing in disguise. There are lots of other fish in the sea, and hope the next one will realize what he has and hang on.

Be careful. Even though you may think you know someone, you might not. Respect yourself enough to insist he gets "tested" before you have sex. It could save your life. There are enough surprises in dating; eliminate at least one.

Also, my friends and I have discovered that the time when you are least likely to be looking for love is when it finds you. -- 20-SOMETHING IN KANSAS

DEAR ABBY: May I add my own 2 cents? Remember that men can smell desperation. If you are still reeling from a broken heart, take time off before re-entering the dating pool. Second, remember that sex does not equal love. Do not mistake one for the other. -- JENNIE G. IN MISSOURI

DEAR ABBY: I think the dating guidelines from "20-Something" are tacky and old-fashioned. I have never depended on a man for money, and it's worked out fine for me. When I date, we always split the costs. If I'm broke, I'll ask my date for a loan, and I always pay him back. If he offers to pay, I gently refuse. If he persists, I accept the offer as a gift.

Abby, I do not need anyone to help me with my coat or open doors for me. At 24, I'm old enough to dress myself and strong enough to open doors. I do, however, agree with the sex guideline. If a man can't accept the fact that his date isn't interested in having sex, he should be mature enough to call it quits. -- 24 IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR ABBY: It annoys me that there are women in this world thinking up rules for how to relate to men. I would like to believe that I can think for myself and so can the man I'm dating. I'm an individual with individual ideas and desires. Will the men who read her list of rules conform? I HOPE NOT!

If "20-Something" doesn't want to pay, she should have enough guts to say so up front instead of making a list of rules and expressing her disappointment in men who don't follow them.

Abby, it horrifies me to imagine a world in which everyone acts the same and has the same ideas about how to live. Diversity is essential for human survival. -- 24 IN SAN FRANCISCO

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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