DEAR ABBY: I have an awful time meeting men. I'm not considered beautiful by any means, so that means meeting any good guys won't happen. I use Craigslist to meet sexual partners. I am so tired of giving up my body for a few minutes of pleasure and then feeling empty on the inside. Please tell me what to do. - WHERE ARE THE GOOD GUYS?
DEAR WHERE: I'll try, but first let me tell you where the good guys aren't. They are not on Craigslist trolling for sex partners. As my grandfather used to say, "If you're looking for trout, don't go fishing in a herring barrel."
Your problem isn't your looks; it is your extremely low level of self-esteem. It's important that you discuss this with a psychologist who can help you recognize the positive qualities you have to offer, because until you do, you will only repeat these empty, depressing encounters. Please don't wait.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 17-year-old girl who was raised to be polite. When I meet someone, I offer a handshake and a smile and make eye contact. However, I have found that because I'm female, adults - especially men - will go in for a hug even when I offer my hand to shake. This is followed by comments like, "You're too sweet to just shake hands," or, "Girls don't shake hands."
I like hugs, but they make me uncomfortable when they're from someone I don't know well, and I find the comments insulting. How do I avoid this awkward moment and respond to the comments? - TEEN IN NEW YORK
DEAR TEEN: The next time someone lunges forward, take a step back and say, "I prefer to shake hands!" Say it with a smile and don't be confrontational, but do defend your personal space if you feel it is being invaded. It is not impolite to do so.
DEAR ABBY: I'm single, have no kids and I'm about to turn 62. I own my own home and have no debts. After years of earning a modest but steady income and watching my expenses, I have saved enough and I am eligible for good retirement benefits. So what's my problem?
Friends and family insist I'm crazy to leave a job at which I could work for another five to 10 years. I know retirement is practical for me because I have gotten professional financial planning advice. There are many things I really want to do - classes, hobbies, volunteer work and travel before I'm too old.
My friends need to work to support their extravagant lifestyles, lavish vacations, expensive restaurants, plus their new cars, clothing and electronics. I did things my way and can afford to retire now, so why can't my friends keep their mouths shut and let me enjoy what I have worked for? - READY TO RETIRE
DEAR READY: They may be jealous, or they may be genuinely concerned about you. Not knowing them, I can't answer for them. I can, however, suggest this: Before quitting your job and the steady, modest income it provides, talk with another financial planner and get a second opinion. You'd do that with a doctor if you had a serious question about your physical health, and I'm recommending you do it because this decision will affect your financial health for the rest of your life. If you wait a few more years, you won't be over the hill, and you will have even more money to enjoy in your retirement.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.