DEAR ABBY: At what point does a man finally give up hope of finding a mate and accept that he may end up alone?
I'm 29. I never had a chance to date in high school. My family farms, and when I was 14, my grandfather could no longer help my dad. Dad couldn't take care of things alone, so I would go out and help him the minute I got home from school every day. Between the farm work and keeping up with my studies, I had to grow up fast. I graduated with a 3.5 grade point average, but because I had no time for dating, this part of my development has always been off.
I have been set up by family and friends, tried meeting people in groups and on online dating sites. So far, it has been to no avail. My last actual date was two years ago. Friends tell me I'm a good guy, so I can't figure out what has gone wrong.
I never regretted helping my dad when he needed me, but I wish it hadn't come at such a steep social price. Am I doomed to a lonely life because I "did the right thing" when I was in high school? -- MIDWEST FARMER
DEAR FARMER: A quick online search would show you there are women who would be very interested in meeting someone like you. Go back online and start researching dating sites for farmers and ranchers. While I can't guarantee you'll meet your match, it would be a good place to start. I wish you the best and hope you will let me know I have guided you in the right direction.
DEAR ABBY: Recently, my friends threw me a party for my 34th birthday. A number of them brought their children (ages 2 to 6 years) to the Saturday afternoon event.
When I began opening my gifts, several of the children started throwing tantrums because they were not being given gifts. I thought this might be a good learning opportunity to gently teach the children that it was not their birthday, but someone else's special day. However, some of the parents began insisting that I let the crying (and by this point, screaming) children open my gifts(!). Instead, I stopped opening gifts, put all the presents up on a shelf and began serving cake and ice cream and handing out balloons and other party favors.
This satisfied some of the children, but others were still screaming. One of the parents then began berating me, saying that I was "the biggest child" for not "sharing." Needless to say, the party ended early and with some hurt feelings. Was I wrong to not allow small children to tear open my fragile and expensive birthday gifts? -- IT'S MY SPECIAL DAY
DEAR SPECIAL DAY: You did nothing wrong. The parents of the children who were throwing tantrums were wrong. They should have removed their offspring until they regained control of themselves rather than demand you allow their little angels to tear apart your packages. Your mistake was in not having an adults-only party, but after this experience, I'm sure it's one you won't be making again any time soon. Those parents owe you an apology.
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