They find them more alienated, less willing to look you in the eye.Many are demanding: a 50-year-old male atheist wanted only female atheists in their 30's.A year ago, the number dipped a bit but has since shot up to nearly the levels of the late 1980's, with 150 ads a week generating 8,000 pieces of mail.

"You're selling people happy-ever-after, their greatest hopes and dreams," said Trish Mc Dermott, executive director.

"You're not selling cars." The opportunity to exploit is clear.

Besides giving users the right to a full refund for three days after signing up, it limits a service's charges to $500 for six-month periods.

The fee limit has slowed the growth of dating services, compared with those in other states.

In 1990, New York State sued a number of dating services owned by Helena Amram, contending that she charged more than $250 per client, then the maximum allowed by the state, and that she misrepresented some things, like the number of dates guaranteed.

A 1991 judgment ordered her to pay .5 million to 1,000 customers."It's our dream to open up in New York," said Keith Granierer, its chief operating officer. "They're looking for something that's very difficult to find, and even harder to buy," said Leslie Gersing, a spokeswoman for State Attorney General Robert Abrams. The number of personal ads a week has skyrocketed from fewer than 100, to 800.He contends that many local services, which he did not name, surreptitiously charge more than the law allows. At New York magazine, there is still a charge for the ads themselves -- a line, two-line minimum.Sam Cohen, a 30-year-old computer consultant, experienced "a particularly dry spring, socially speaking." He swallowed hard, and went to a dating service.First came Kathleen, "a great lunch." Then there was Susan, who "was just wonderfully evanescent, not to take anything away from Kathleen." He still has four lunch dates left on a 0 plan guaranteeing him six within six months."I'm having such a good time doing this now," he said.