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by Abigail Van Buren

Old Fashioned Manners Are Not Just Page From the Past

DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Disillusioned in Dallas," the 22-year-old man with old-fashioned manners who said it was difficult to find women his age who are receptive to being treated courteously.

I am a single, 25-year-old female. Apparently "Disillusioned" is dating the wrong type of women. I have shared his letter with all my girlfriends, ages 22 to 27. We agree that manners do count.

Good manners have not faded in our generation. Being considerate and showing respect to a woman reveals class and a moral upbringing. A man with manners and respect for women is exactly what many other young women and I are looking for in both a casual date and in our soul mate. -- AMY IN DALLAS

DEAR AMY: I have been deluged with letters from women who echoed your sentiments. However, I have also received a few pointing out there may be another side to the issue. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I am a 21-year-old female. There are various reasons some women decline those gestures of chivalry: (1) a strong sense of personal space; (2) in some cultures those particular niceties are not the common way of communicating consideration to a woman; and -- saddest of all -- (3) some women fear that "old-fashioned" manners indicate that a man is also old-fashioned in his feelings about a woman's place in the world.

"Disillusioned," the right woman will accommodate you with pleasure, for your manners are an indication of your true self. I just don't want some gals to be thought of as "strange" for declining gestures they find alien or uncomfortable. -- G.Z. IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR G.Z.: I have no doubt that "Disillusioned" will find someone who thinks he's terrific. I do, however, take exception to anyone who reacts with rudeness when a courteous gesture is offered. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Men with good manners these days are hard to find. All I can say to "Disillusioned" is: Don't change a thing! Those same women will be banging on his door someday after they've kissed enough frogs. "Disillusioned" sounds like a true gentleman, and men all over should take lessons. He can open my car door anytime. -- ANN S. (AGE 32)

DEAR ANN: You're right. Some women have to learn the hard way. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I am 18 and feel fortunate when someone opens a door for me or pulls out my chair. My big brother (who's 30 now) always told me when I was younger to never date a guy who doesn't open doors for me. I followed his advice, and I confess, I haven't dated much, but he was right -- there is a BIG difference. -- COMMITTED TO COURTESY IN THREE RIVERS

DEAR COMMITTED: Keep listening to your brother; he's a smart man. Good manners are a measure of respect and courtesy -- important qualities in a mate. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: In a time when people are becoming more preoccupied with themselves and in a greater rush, courtesies are getting lost along the way. I urge everyone to make an effort to keep manners alive. With booming populations, that is the only way we will be able to get along. -- IN FAVOR OF MANNERS IN PORTLAND

DEAR IN FAVOR: It's true. On the one hand, courtesy is one of the things that bond society together. On the other, it's the social lubricant -- the WD-40 -- that keeps relationships from becoming abrasive.