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by Abigail Van Buren

Dessert Adds a Sour Ending to Dinners With Girlfriends

DEAR ABBY: I am a 54-year-old woman who, after a long marriage and unavoidable divorce, is ready to date. I work out daily, am active in my church, take classes, and socialize with women and married couples. I'm in excellent shape and am told I'm attractive and fun. There are few available men my age (or a little younger or older) and almost all of them seem to be looking for women in their 40s, 30s or even 20s.

Why are men my age so unwilling to date women their age? We're past the drama years, are secure in who we are, and have a lot to offer. Am I destined to spend my life without romance? I'm an upbeat person but have lately started feeling angry at how I'm being marginalized. -- MISSING OUT IN WYOMING

DEAR MISSING OUT: I can't speak for "all" older men, but many of them in our youth-obsessed culture look for women considerably younger because it helps them fool themselves into thinking they are younger than their years. You are physically, socially and intellectually active, so stop allowing yourself to be marginalized and consider dating men who are younger. It worked for Demi Moore.