DEAR ABBY: May I sit in your chair and give some advice today? It's aimed at men who place ads on dating sites and then wonder why they can't meet "quality" women.
I'm an educated, decent-looking, middle-aged widow who has dated quite a lot through such ads and local social groups. Yes, it can be a jungle out there, but the Internet is a wonderful tool for bringing people together.
I live in a small town, and the pool of eligible men is smaller here than in metropolitan areas. That said, there are few profiles that attract my attention and that of my divorced/widowed friends.
Gentlemen, some pointers:
1. Smile. A dour expression is unpleasant.
2. We may want to see you with your shirt off after we get to know you, but it's not the most appealing or refined pose for a first look.
3. Be realistic. If you are Joe Average, we Jane Averages would enjoy meeting you. Are you REALLY going to hold out for a model who is a decade or so younger than you?
4. Be kind to the English language. You don't have to be a genius, but it would be nice to know you can competently communicate in writing.
5. Consider a shave. Some women like men with facial hair; the majority of the ones I know do not. About 75 percent of men over 50 have a mustache, beard or both. What are you hiding under there?
6. If you're married and miserable, for goodness sake, go for marriage counseling or get a divorce. But please don't deceive women who want to meet a nice guy to share life with.
In case you think I'm being too harsh, we gals welcome any suggestions from men who scroll through those female profiles looking for love. -- SURFING IN PETERSBURG, ILL.
DEAR SURFING: I'm printing your letter, and I'm sure the reaction will be interesting. The No. 1 complaint I've heard about Internet dating has to do with misrepresentation on both sides of the gender divide.
DEAR ABBY: My 83-year-old mother wants a tattoo. She loves classical music and has decided to have a musical note tattooed on her shoulder. Should I institutionalize her, or chauffeur her to the local tattoo parlor? -- SHOCKED IN GARDEN GROVE, CALIF.
DEAR SHOCKED: At 83, your mother is old enough to make this decision without your blessing. She also appears to be young enough at heart that she may not need the ride.
DEAR ABBY: I am being divorced and my oldest son is being married. My soon-to-be-ex-wife does not want my girlfriend to attend. This has put a great deal of pressure on my son and his fiancee.
I left my wife for this woman. I love her and would like her to attend with me. What is proper? -- DANNY IN DELAWARE
DEAR DANNY: Because your divorce is not yet final, leave your girlfriend at home. Her absence would be the most thoughtful and considerate gift you could give your son, his bride and your almost-former wife.
Dear Abby is written by ABIGAIL VAN BUREN, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby, Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.