Dear Amy:

I am a tall, 9-year-old girl.

I am somewhat tired of being asked if I play basketball. I was wondering if you or your readers have any suggestions for some comebacks (not smart alecky but quirky) so that I don't have to sit there looking dumb while saying "no."

Thank you.

Colorado

I'm a total pipsqueak (though I act tall), so I sent your letter to two of my favorite friends, who happen to be married to each other and who happen to be very tall.

My friend Martha says that her tall father taught her to like being tall, which is a pretty good way to feel.

When people bugged her about her height, she would say, "I love being tall! I can't wait until I'm 6 feet!" (She succeeded in being 5 foot 11, by the way.)

Bill, who was 6 foot 5 by the time he was 14 (he's still 6-5), said, "I was always the tallest kid in my class -- always -- and I hated basketball. When asked why, which happened, oh, like every other day, I used to say, 'When you're as tall as I am, basketball is incredibly boring. No challenge at all.' They'd get this blank look and walk away. It was very effective."

Okay. You're armed with two perfectly quirky responses. Now shoot and score!

Dear Amy:

I'm writing in response to the gentleman who complained that there were no decent, morally minded, attractive, twentysomething single women.

I am a 22-year-old woman, beginning a great career with the federal government, and I consider myself attractive and intelligent.

I also haven't been on a date for two years. Your notion that women in my situation might be too picky is true in my case, but I think it's compounded by the fact that there isn't much to choose from.

The relationship-oriented young men are already married, I don't enjoy meeting dates in bars (I'm still a virgin, which is a rarity in my age group), and I am not very religious, which precludes church groups.

I have resolved myself to solitude for the time being, and I am content to focus solely on my professional life.

Single in D.C.

If solitude works for you, then by all means continue doing what you're doing. But having been single in D.C. for many years, I can tell you that there are many places other than bars and churches to meet nice, morally minded people. Try volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, taking a class at Georgetown, signing up for a lecture series at the Smithsonian or join the throngs down on the National Mall for the Folklife Festival. There is so much to do, and there are so many people to meet -- I hope you'll get started.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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