February 16, 1997

Happy Damn Valentine's Day

Well, I survived that time of year again. Yes, Valentineís Day, scourge of the single people, has come and gone. Letís turn back the clock, shall we? It was just about five years ago that three of my best male friends (Frank Warren, John Calandro, and Brad Bennett) and I went out on Valentineís Day night for a lovely dinner at McClintockís Steak House in Pismo Beach. Now thatís a manly place to eat, and, at the time, we were manly men, boldly rebelling against the Valentineís establishment. Of course, none of us had real dates for the evening, which is why we sought solace in each otherís manly company.

Letís go to the scoreboard today:

Frank: Married
John:   Married
Brad:   Living with a woman
Colin:  Um Ö

You see what I mean? Not that Iím completely hopeless, mind you. Why, just this year, I had a lovely Valentineís experience which Iíd like to share with you all.

Valentineís Day was a Friday this year in Los Angeles. And since Iím not quite bitter enough, I decided that seeing one of the hot new romantic comedies would make me lament my fate even more. So, I decided to check out Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek heating up the screen in "Fools Rush In." Well, turned out I had about an hour to kill before the film, and in Burbank, they have a rather large Barnes and Noble bookstore which is quite the local hangout. Itís got a Starbuckís inside, along with plenty of comfy chairs and tables, so people sprawl out all over the place, reading, relaxing, talking, and getting to know each other. With books in hand, I approached two empty tables. One had only one chair Ė the other had two. Well, I think to myself, Iíll never get to know anyone, or meet anyone new, if I sit at the table with one chair. So I plop down in to the chair at the other table, leaving one empty chair sending out signals that I am now ready for that special someone to come along, sit down, strike up a conversation, give me their phone number, go out on an increasingly passionate series of dates, get married, have kids, grow old together, and finally, die.

Now, I realize thatís a lot to ask from any one chair. But this one seemed up to it. For no more than five minutes went by, when a very tall, lovely, nice woman came along and said, "Is anyone sitting here?" "No, no," I answered, and as she sat down, I thought, "Is it really just this easy? Make yourself available for meeting new people, and then just meet them?"

We struck up a conversation; casual at first, but then, talking with increasing energy and fun about her desire to become a doctor (she was studying for the wanna-be doctorís exam thing) and her work with children. Things were actually going quite well Ö when she asked what I did.

"Oh, Iím a TV news writer and producer down at KCAL, Channel 9."

"Really? Thatís so interesting. My boyfriend wants to get into journalism!"

We continued talking, but somehow, on this Valentineís night, after she dropped the boyfriend bomb, I really wasnít that interested.


1) Itís Friday night, itís Valentineís Day, and your boyfriend is letting you go out to study?

2) There should be a more universal symbol for "available." Not that I was expecting anything, mind you, but things were going well, and I was really considering asking if I could see her again. Gah. Then again, at least she did mention her status, further cementing her on the list of cool women.

3) Next time, Iíll have to be more specific when I tell the empty chair to send out the vibe.

4) Just how many people are single these days? In a nation of 250,000,000 people, I fear the answer is something like 47. And if we donít like each other, too bad. Besides, 47 can be broken down in to 23 couples, and one guy standing there by himself, writing columns for his web page lamenting the state of romance today.

Happy Valentineís Day!

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Last Updated March 9, 1997
Colin Campbell - jenolen@earthlink.net