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by Abigail Van Buren

Can't Convince His Friends That He's Straight

DEAR ABBY: I am an educated, open-minded, well-spoken, well-mannered single man. I enjoy life and smile just about every waking moment.

My problem is that people -- especially women -- think I'm gay. I assure you, I'm not! One woman recently lambasted me, saying her "gaydar" is never wrong, so I should just admit it to myself.

This issue has prohibited me from dating, especially over the last few years, because ladies see me as a peer instead of potential partner. Also, people tell others that I'm gay, so there are preconceived opinions.

Please don't think I am anti-gay. I have several gay male and female friends. I don't think my speech inflections or mannerisms make people assume this. I don't know what to do. Help! -- STRAIGHT, BUT NOT NARROW IN ALABAMA

DEAR STRAIGHT: Because there appears to be some confusion about your sexual orientation, I recommend you talk frankly with some of your female and male friends and ask what it is about you that has created this impression. Obviously there is something about the way you present yourself that's causing it, and the quickest way to find out what it is would be to ask direct questions of the people who know you best.

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