DEAR ABBY: Forty-five years old may not seem too old to attract someone of the opposite sex, but I'm not your average-looking 45-year-old. I have terrible wrinkles under my eyes that add years to my appearance. In the last couple of years, I have developed deep lines that run from each side of my nose down to my lips. I've tried every conceivable moisturizer and concealant, but nothing helps.
I know this is a natural part of aging, but I cannot accept that at age 45 I look so old a man won't even give me a second look, much less open a door for me or try to strike up a conversation. Wherever I go, men look only at nice-looking, younger women -- something I no longer am. I have become lonely and despondent at the realization that I will probably be alone for the rest of my life.
I've tried joining groups, doing volunteer work and even taking night classes to meet someone who might look beyond the wrinkles, but no one shows the slightest interest in me anymore. I'm friendly, courteous and approachable, and the proper weight for my height. But I guess you can't make filet mignon out of chopped liver.
If I could do something about these terrible wrinkles, my confidence would soar, and I wouldn't have to spend the rest of my life alone. However, because I can barely make ends meet and cannot afford cosmetic surgery, I see no hope. Any advice, Abby? -- HURTING IN WHITTIER, CALIF.
DEAR HURTING: How we perceive ourselves is invariably telegraphed to others. An intelligent, personable, self-confident person is not chopped liver -- or any cut of meat, for that matter. Forty-five isn't too old to attract someone of the opposite sex. Women do it every day without the aid of plastic surgery. Although your collagen may be waning, what's really sagging is your self-esteem, and as long as you think of yourself as "over the hill," that's what you'll project. Your local library has books on improving self-esteem. I urge you to borrow some of them.