DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Available in Maine," who lamented that women disregard him because he is not drop-dead handsome and doesn't drive a Jaguar. He included the ways in which he would show his love if only a woman would see the inner qualities of this mid-30s man with a master's degree.
Although you gave him sympathy, my double-standard alarm went off. Suspicious phrases include: "Is it lovely outside, or is it just you?" and "I'll hide cute little gifts so I can put a smile on your beautiful face." I would be willing to bet serious money that he is not talking about inner beauty.
In my experience, most average-looking women in their mid-30s have long since given up any fantasies of an Adonis in a Jaguar sweeping them off their feet. They are looking for a life partner with whom to share love, respect and the storms of life. I doubt these are the women "Available" has in mind. I would bet that he has his heart set on a beautiful woman 10 years his junior that he can put on a pedestal (or in a trophy case).
I've known several of these men, average-looking males who bemoan their lack of success with their latest obsession -- who is always lovely and always much younger. I've also known many bright, witty and interesting professional women in their 30s and 40s who never have a date because all the men their age are busy pursuing pretty girls in their 20s.
"Available" might do well to examine his own values first. Perhaps he's the one who is passing judgment based on appearance. After all, shallowness knows no gender.
My husband and I are average on the looks scale. I'm 49 and he's 48, and we've been married for four wonderful years. I know what it's like to be in a partnership of equals based on love and respect, and there's nothing better. -- SUSPICIOUS IN WASHINGTON