DEAR ABBY: I am a 41-year-old female working on my associate's degree in paralegal studies. Most people I know tell me I'm attractive, and I do get some second looks from men, but there is one thing I think -- although I'm not sure -- that scares them away. I am disabled.
I dress well, am an average weight for my height, independent-minded, although not quite independent physically. I get around on crutches.
I live with my parents. I enjoy and participate in physical activities. I don't have a lot of friends, which is fine with me, but I do have a number of special ones. I try to make the best of my disability, and everyone I know, even strangers, tell me I do well and admire me for my courage and strength.
I should be happy with that, but sometimes it bothers me that I haven't found one man who can see past whatever it is that keeps them from liking me. I know a number of grumpy, unhappy, ungrateful women who abuse the men in their lives, and sometimes I can't help but wonder at how "blind" their partners are.
I am not desperate. I like my alone time. But it's a big, beautiful world out there, and I'd like to share it with someone. -- AT A LOSS IN OHIO
DEAR AT A LOSS: You need to widen your circle of acquaintances. Once you have completed your studies and have more time, make it your business to join local and state groups associated with your profession. While some people may be put off by your disability, not everyone will be. Many people with physical disabilities have romantic lives and good marriages to partners who see past their disabilities and recognize all of the things they can do.
P.S. I know I have said this before, but you should also consider volunteering some of your time to a cause that interests you because it's a great way to meet people.
DEAR ABBY: Last night I received a call from my almost-5-year-old granddaughter asking me for Santa Claus' phone number. It seems she is very angry at her daddy for calling her a brat because she wouldn't give him a hug. She wants to tattle on her daddy to Santa.
Her parents are not together. Her daddy's involvement has been only within the last year. She seemed very upset about the incident, and I want to make sure "Santa" gives her a good answer. I asked her to write a letter instead of phoning Santa to give me time for an answer. Did I do the right thing? -- GRANDMA T., PACIFIC GROVE, CALIF.
DEAR GRAMDMA T.: Yes. Once your granddaughter has written the letter to Santa you may find that she no longer dwells on what happened. However, if she continues to look for a reply, "Santa's" response should be that her daddy was hurt when she refused to give him a hug because daddies need love just as little girls do. But name-calling is wrong, no matter how old you are, and he shouldn't have called her a brat -- which is why he'll be getting a lump of coal in his stocking at Christmas.
TO MY JEWISH READERS: The eight days of Hanukkah begin at sundown. (I cannot believe how early it has fallen this year.) Happy Hanukkah, everyone. A joyous Festival of Lights to all of you!
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)