I found "The Bachelors" {Style, Oct. 3} offensive, destructive and disrespectful to everyone. The article blatantly disregarded the "bachelors' " private lives, not to mention giving a slap in the face to women in its assumption that bagging a successful bachelor is what we still all clamor to do.

If one wishes to be treated with respect, one must treat others with respect regardless of their sex, race, social status, etc. How can you sacrifice principles for the sake of a frivolous article? Where were your editors? -- Lisa A. Clifton

I was outraged by the article "The Bachelors," which discussed major male political figures in terms of their marital eligibility. Politicians face enough challenges in establishing their credibility without such attempts to cheapen them.

Reporter Roxanne Roberts called Judge David Souter the new "catch of the day," implying that at age 51 he might be rescued from bachelorhood by Washington's power-hungry women.

Despite a statement by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) that people in Washington are more interested in politics than sex, Roberts treated her targeted politicians like subjects for a personals ad, complete with phone numbers, and even ranked them from most to least eligible. Likewise, she portrayed the "barracuda" who chase after them as creatures driven exclusively by a desire for social prestige -- a traditional stereotype that says women have no pursuit beyond a marital mission.

By reducing the complex nature of contemporary men and women to a single element, the article documented the willingness of today's press to substitute insightful and substantive journalism with thoughtless entertainment. It is deplorable to see what was once reserved for supermarket tabloids prominently displayed in our national newspaper. -- Elizabeth L. Lee

Would Roxanne Roberts really have us believe that a man's success is best judged by 1) how powerful he is, 2) how well he relates to other powerful men and 3) which celebrity women he attracts? Likewise, are women to rate their success by their closeness to powerful men?

A friend recently challenged me with what she said was a Biblical ideal of success, albeit one that rarely seems to count in modern Western culture. She said that a powerful person's success should not be rated according to how well he or she relates to other powerful people, but according to how well he or she relates to weaker members of society. Imagine if we actually held ourselves to such a standard. -- Jim Kenaston

The article "Bachelors," phone numbers and all, was worth the price of my paper. But I think some of us women outside the Washington glitz network ought to get in on the most eligible bachelor action. After all, those guys are in Washington to serve the whole country, right?

There's a lot to be said for power dating in a small town like mine. First, unlike Washington, where the masses mob eligible politician-bachelors when they step outside, guys here can relax when they go out on dates. They can linger over beer and crab cakes, and no one will bother them. Heck, they won't even be recognized. Hulk Hogan might have a problem, but politicians? Around here, people would just ask them to pass the ketchup.

Mutual interests? No problem. Bob Kerrey and I could talk about my Nebraska relatives. He'd love the stories about Clarence and Elmer Smith, the brothers who drove from their hometown of Gibbon to the metropolis of Kearney every day to sit in their car on Main Street and eat the lunch they brought from home. They're kind of power guys themselves.

Even the local paparazzi won't bother eligible politicians here. They'd get their picture on the front page of the daily paper only if they were in a car wreck.

-- Ellen Ternes The writer lives in Waynesboro, Pa.

As a law student, I aspire to be a productive member of the community whose accomplishments are attributed to my own efforts. Your article on bachelors insinuated that women use men to become powerful. But what about women such as myself who independently strive for excellence and want to be invited to power lunches, not because it would look good, not because it would be something to gossip about, not because I'd be the envy of other women and not because I'd be lucky enough to have a "catch" on my arm, but because I could have some meaningful input?

When will women be recognized for their achievements and abilities without such efforts being undermined by archaic attitudes? You would do well to write about the significant contributions women have made to society rather than dedicating a story to that minority of women who maintain that their most significant contribution to society is to be at the side of a powerful man.

-- Joanne E. Johnson