DEAR ABBY: I had some time to think over the summer, and came to the realization that a baby my girlfriend had almost 30 years ago may be my daughter. "Sally" and I had a very intense, but short-lived relationship that blew up. About a year later, we met again for lunch at the behest of a mutual friend.

I don't remember the details, but I do remember searching for an accurate way to compliment her. Because she had put on weight, the best I could come up with was "you look good." She didn't hit me, but the conversation went downhill from there. Sally mentioned as we were parting that she had given birth to a daughter. I haven't heard from her since.

I don't want to create problems for anybody, but I'm curious. I'm happily married and plan to stay that way. At the same time, I'd welcome having a daughter.

I have thought about sending cheek swabs and a check-off DNA test to the child along with a note suggesting she send our samples in for testing. But that could destroy whatever story she may have grown up with.

I'm at a loss here. I could use some advice from an outside authority. What do you think I should do?

- Blockhead in California

DEAR B.H.: It's been 30 years. The "child" is a woman now. Before you risk starting WWIII, why not contact the mother and ask if you are her daughter's father, because it's possible that you aren't.

DEAR ABBY: I'm 20 years old and have never dated anyone. I have a lot of friends and do well in school and at work, and I try to be a good, kind, friendly person. What can I do to make myself datable? Am I missing some crucial step in how to become a girlfriend?

- Old Maid in St. Louis

DEAR OLD MAID: Because I have never met you in person, I can't tell you what you might be doing that relegates you to the "only as a friend" category. However, some of your guy friends might be able to tell you. And you should also solicit some tips from your girlfriends.