Susan Deitz

DEAR SUSAN: I laughed at the letter from a man calling himself a "Richard Gere" looking for a woman who is a professional, intelligent and a perfect 10. Men rate themselves about three points higher than a woman would. "Mr. Gere" is potentially only a 6 or 7. Even 10s in time slide down that scale. He should focus on a woman's interior beauty; chemistry and attraction build on deepening emotional intimacy. Even if he finds a 6 or 7, together they'll add up to way more than a 10!

From the Single File blogDEAR BLOGGER: Playing the numbers game is a recipe for failure in love. Far better to let your instincts lead you to a good partner. And be careful not to override that gut feeling with intellect and reasoning; head stuff isn't always a good guide in matters of love. As for men magnifying their numbers, once you meet face-to-face, all that numerical hogwash goes out the window. There are three possible results: You like that face enough to want more time looking at it, there's enough friendliness to warrant more of a chance or the case is hopeless, totally dead, no chance, even for a cup of java.

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DEAR SUSAN: You wrote recently, "The average American spends the majority of his or her life unmarried." I am in my early 50s and have been married for 48 percent of my life -- although it took me three marriages to rack up that total! Presuming that I'll keep up this pattern and that 20 years of my singlehood was from birth to age 20 -- and also given that I've never spent even one day unpartnered when I didn't want to be -- I just may beat your numbers someday. Single can be great. Married is great, too. It's a matter of personal preference, no?

From the Single File blog

DEAR BLOGGER: The numbers aren't mine, friend. They reflect the spread of singleness around the globe. In your early 50s, your preference is to be in a coupled relationship. But your generation may be the last to avidly seek out marriage and persistently raise your hopes for its success. Not everyone is suited for marriage, in the same way not everyone is equipped to be a parent. That's the fresh air brought in by these new generations, with their expanded choices and fewer "shoulds." And society is bending with them, finding fewer reasons to raise a disapproving eyebrow and going along with the loosened dress codes. The rules are changing, they're more relaxed, well on their way to being eliminated. If you want to be married till your last day, so be it. You have my blessing, for sure.