DEAR ABBY: Are the women in this country nuts, or am I? We are constantly being told that all the good men are either married or gay - as though single men are at the bottom of the barrel, or else why would they be single?

I can't answer for all single men - only for myself. I'm 27 years old, considered fairly good-looking, average height and weight, in good physical condition, my hair is thinning a little - I wear glasses, and yes, I am shy with a capital "S." Surprise - I am still a virgin! So what?I graduated from college at 22 and have worked as a bartender for the past few years. I've saved my money and have been accepted by a good law school this fall.

During the past few years, I've been involved with four women. I guess I screwed up with the first three by revealing my virgin status. Two thought I was lying and dumped me. The third classified me as a "geek."

I kept silent with the fourth. Unfortunately, once we reached a more intimate stage, my nervousness ruined everything. I suppose this would have been OK at 16, but at my age, she thought something was "wrong" with me.

Hey, ladies, I'm an intelligent, sincere, sensitive man - a gentleman. How about a survey, Abby? Is an inexperienced, decent single guy disqualified in the search for a mate? - STRIKING OUT IN FLORIDA

DEAR STRIKING OUT: I don't need a survey to tell me that decent women want decent men. I also know that virtue and virginity don't necessarily go hand in hand. There are virginal cads and experienced people with hearts of gold.

Since by your own admission you are shy with a capital "S," get some counseling to overcome your shyness, and the rest will fall into place. There are singles groups, square dancing, cooking classes, workout gyms. Get going. The longest march in the world starts with one step.

DEAR ABBY: Thanks for encouraging the members of a high school reunion planning committee to send flowers to the parents of the classmates who had passed away.

We lost a dear daughter 37 years ago, and would have cherished even a brief note - signed by her classmates - acknowledging that she was remembered and missed. - DALE AND LEONA PERRY

DEAR DALE AND LEONA: Please accept my belated and heartfelt sympathy at the loss of your beloved daughter. I think that sending a letter to the parents of a deceased classmate, signed by all the surviving classmates, is a splendid idea. I hope it catches on.

C) 1988 Universal Press Syndicate