DEAR ABBY: I chuckled when I saw the letter from "Eating Single but Not Alone" (Feb. 5), about discovering single men in a diner at breakfast. She's right on. I own and run a diner that's been serving breakfast and lunch for more than 25 years. Not only do male customers meet and eat here weekly, many of them eat here every day, usually at the same time, so they can catch up with others who do. Many of the men are single, widowed, divorced or retired, and just want to start their day with a decent meal in a friendly atmosphere. Between 8 and 9:30 a.m. seems to be the most popular time -- and yes, they sit at the counter.
My advice to single women: Bring the crossword puzzle from the daily paper and you won't feel so awkward. It will give you a legitimate reason for starting a conversation, and you may even get offered help with the answers. -- MAINE-LY COOKING IN PHIPPSBURG
DEAR MAINE-LY COOKING: You may be Maine-ly cooking, but I wouldn't be surprised if you have stirred up more than a couple of love matches. I loved the mail that letter generated. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I'm a waitress at a 24-hour diner. Kudos to you for passing "Eating Single's" letter along. I love it when our "regulars" come in and become friends with each other. Even if it leads to nothing more, it widens your circle of friends. -- AMANDA IN CARMEL, IND.
DEAR ABBY: I have another suggestion for meeting men -- if you don't mind dating someone who's been around the block and already has children, that is.
On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings (usually on the first, third and fifth weekends of the month), McDonald's is full of single dads either getting their kids for a Wednesday evening with not enough time to do anything but feed them, or just after picking them up on Friday night after a hard day at work, and again on Sunday just before dropping them off to Mom.
Some of these guys are a little skittish, but there are some real treasures among them who make great friends until they're ready for something more. After all, one woman's trash is another woman's treasure. I hope this helps some of the gals out there meet Mr. Right, or at the very least, make some good friends. I speak from experience. I've been married to my McDonald's man for 25 years. -- GOT MINE IN WEBSTER, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: I'll tell you where all the dateable men are. If you like boating, go to the boat show. If you like motorcycles, go to a motorcycle show. If you like architecture, go to a home remodeling show. Go where the men are! You'll find men in all age ranges and income brackets. For the price of a $10 ticket, you can have an experience you'll never forget.
Oh, and this is for the men: If you want to meet a nice woman and get to know her background without asking questions, go to a nail salon and get a manicure and pedicure. My fiance and I get pedicures and manicures together, and the ladies just love chatting with him. It's one of the few times they can talk and a man will listen. -- HAPPY HUNTING! NUTLEY, N.J.
DEAR ABBY: Folks who want to meet eligible singles should join their high school or college alumni association and attend all the events offered. There are beautiful "gems" out there among the attendees. I know, because a dear friend of mine met, reconnected with and married her husband that way. -- BARBARA IN GLEN ALLAN, MISS.