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DEAR ABBY: I am 13 years old and people say I'm cute. I have many girlfriends and a 4.0 GPA. I excel in sports and had the lead in the spring musical. So why do all my friends have boys coming up to them to talk -- and I don't? Every time I talk to boys, they act like they can't wait to get away from me. When I say, "Hi," they don't answer.

I've asked my best friends about this. They say I am "too smart," and it makes boys feel uncomfortable. I love school, and I confess I like doing my research projects on the night they are assigned, even though we're given two weeks to complete them.

At a slumber party a few nights ago, we played a game where we all predicted where we would be in 20 years. My friends told me I wouldn't be married. I would be a rocket scientist instead.

Should I concentrate less on school assignments and work on my social skills with boys? -- A GIRL WITH ONLY GIRLFRIENDS

DEAR GIRL: Absolutely not. You are the girl who has everything -- looks, brains, talent and coordination. The boys in your age group are behind you in their social development. Please be patient. Do not "dumb down" for anyone. In a year or two, those boys will not only catch up to you, but they'll be beating down your door -- and that will open up a whole new set of "problems." Trust me.

DEAR ABBY: I will be 79 in a few weeks and recently received notice of my 60th high school reunion. I was an outstanding beauty when I was 18, but now I have thinning hair and gravity has taken its toll on me.

I grew up in a small town outside of Boston and was one of a class of 160 students. I was extremely promiscuous back then. I slept with more than two-thirds of the boys in my class -- and everyone knew it.

My problem is, my wonderful "steady man" insists that we go to the reunion. He has been my generous provider for many years and I don't want to argue. I hate seeing my classmates with my "old face," and hope nobody will make unkind comments about my past.

What should I do? -- FORMER BELLE OF THE BALL

DEAR FORMER BELLE: Put on a happy face and attend the reunion. Time waits for no man -- or woman -- and that includes your former classmates. Please don't be self-conscious about your appearance or your past. After 60 years, everyone will probably be more than willing to let bygones be bygones.

DEAR ABBY: "Not a Princess in Pasadena" asked what to do for her friend who isn't as financially well off as she is. You missed a great opportunity to recommend volunteering.

The girls could become candy stripers in a hospital, read to the elderly at a nursing home, run errands for shut-ins -- all sorts of things. Assuming they do a good job, they will get good references for jobs or higher education. Those teens should contact the nearest hospital, nursing home, social service agency or church, and inquire about what volunteer programs are available for teen-agers. If there aren't any, they might consider organizing a few friends and creating one.

They would really enjoy it, and it wouldn't cost either of them a penny. My two kids did exactly that and loved it! -- NANCY HABLUTZEL, PH.D., J.D., CHICAGO

DEAR NANCY: What a terrific suggestion. There is always a need to be filled if people look for it. Even a few hours a week can make a big difference in someone's life.

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 $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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