DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like my personal accolades get in the way of my dating life. When I go on dates, the men are more interested in my work than expressing interest in my personal life. I plan to go on more dates to try to find Mr. Right. I have a good job that pays well, but I do not play that up. I do not think Mr. Right has to have a particular job or a certain amount of money in the bank. I am looking for someone who is interested in the same things as me, but on almost every date, the conversation goes to my job and then nothing happens. They just want to talk about my work, and it rarely ends up with a second date. (I work with a lot of big-name people because I am a publicist.) I would like to know how should I present myself the next time I go out. -- Presentation is Everything, Brooklyn, N.Y.
DEAR PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING: Look for potential dates who do the same things that you do for fun. Focus the conversation on your shared activities. When the conversation veers toward work, ask your date to talk about himself. People love to do that. Ask him about his work, family and dreams. Share your dreams.
Or you can even say that you do not want to talk about work on the first date. Make it a game between the two of you.
When you do talk about your work, avoid talking about celebrities. Describe the work itself, not the people. Talk about the skills needed, the challenges you have faced and the rewards. Do not lie about your work, but limit discussion of boldface names.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend from my church who has three children, aged 5, 4 and a newborn. Money is tight for her family, and they haven't figured out how to manage everything. They feel like they cannot afford to have three birthday parties each year. How often should a child have a birthday party during his or her childhood? -- Celebrate Good Times, Chicago
DEAR CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: The number of birthday parties is completely up to the parents. What is possible for those who want annual parties is to streamline the party to make it affordable. Instead of a large group of family and friends, have your children invite a best friend or even a couple of friends over for a sleepover. You make the food, including the cake, and provide easy entertainment at home.
By reducing the number of participants in a birthday celebration, you cut down on the cost significantly. Have the celebration at home or at a free venue like a park or playground. Make the food yourself. Add up the savings!