DEAR ABBY: I am a 20-year-old male living what appears to be “the dream.” I have completed my bachelor’s degree, and I’m starting what will more than likely be a prosperous career. Still, something important is missing.

All my life I have always felt very isolated. Although I have been able to develop “friendships,” the more I progress in life the more these friendships slip away.

I have been unsuccessful in finding a mate, and I am embarrassed to still be a virgin. Is there something horribly wrong with me that drives people away? – LONELY GUY, MONTREAL, CANADA

DEAR LONELY GUY: I doubt it. You have accomplished a lot for someone your age, and the way you did it was by focusing your energies on your studies rather than your social skills. Now that you are starting your career, begin joining business-affiliated groups so you can widen your circle of acquaintances. This will help both your business and social lives – which will eventually blend together.

Give yourself some time and please do not obsess about the virginity issue. I am sure you will meet someone who will accept and value you for the person you are, and the condition will resolve itself.

DEAR ABBY: I own a motorcycle, which is my only means of transportation. The other day I had a conversation with a stranger who “needed” to tell me about someone she knew who was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash. This isn’t the first time I have had this conversation. It seems that almost everyone knows someone who was killed or maimed in a bike crash.

Abby, I know there is an increased risk of personal injury where motorcycles are concerned, and the thought of it happening to me isn’t a pleasant one. But why do people insist on telling me these horror stories? How should I respond to such insensitive statements? – LOW RIDER IN NEW YORK

DEAR LOW RIDER: Some of them may be trying to warn you, while others may simply enjoy telling horror stories. The way to handle it is to say, “Thank you for your concern.”

Now I have a question for you: Why are you engaging in lengthy conversations with complete strangers?

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were married a few weeks ago, and I hope you’ll let me share with your readers what we did. Because we have both been married before, we didn’t need any gifts from family and friends – nor did we want a money tree.

Instead, we asked our guests to please bring nonperishable food items or a cash donation that would be given to our local food bank. A representative from the food bank was present to receive the food and donations.

Abby, the response was overwhelming! We had tables filled with food items. More than $600 in cash donations was given, and we are still receiving food and money to be forwarded to the food bank.

My husband and I feel truly blessed. God has been good to us, and we have been able to pass along those blessings to people who need help. I hope my letter will inspire others to assist their local community food banks in this unique way. – BLESSED IN SOUTHERN OREGON

DEAR BLESSED: So do I because the need has never been greater. Here in Los Angeles, the people who run the food banks are reporting that requests for food assistance have increased by as much as 41 percent in the past year. What you and your husband did was caring and generous, and I, too, hope it will be replicated.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

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