Valentine Perils as Cupid's "Helper"

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Valentine Perils as Cupid's "Helper"

When February approaches, the time is short before the inevitable arrival of Cupid for Valentine’s Day. Although ‘single’ may be viewed as ‘confident’ and ‘not waiting,’ on Feb. 14 the peer pressure hits like an arrow in the heart. Either you find some friends , a date or stay home on that day.

However, friendships and relationships are not mutually almost happily ever after like in the movies. Serendipity does not spring into place as in “Valentine’s Day” or “Sleepless in Seattle.” It gets complicated along the lines of the classic play/film “She Loves Me” (a.k.a. “Shop Around the Corner”). The premise has a senior retail store worker exchanging virtually anonymous letters with a potential soulmate. Fate has a sense of humor ---she’s the new hire and neither knows that they are in the presence of their snail mail heart throb.

Actually, on line chatting and GMS texting have made it easier for two strangers to find each other. Large cities boast of services that can program relationship expectations into a phone “ap”, then, assuming your match has the same “ap,” well, if you pass in a mob, you’ll hear a ding. At least, you can specify where to wait, since determining who’s ‘beeping’ can be embarrassing.

During simpler times, a ‘blind date’ likely would be made via phone. Once there’s an agreement to meet, at say, a shopping mall, it’s a matter of finding the brown haired twentysomething woman wearing jeans by the fountain on Saturday afternoon.

Prior to on-line popularity, I ran a legitimate, find a suitable companion dating service. Usually, the success of such ventures would be measured in the number of, say, permanent relationships achieved. Although I lost count of those, a ‘short term’ coupling still brings a tear --- Without indicating time is short request, a woman in her mid-20s sent in one of those ,“I’ve never done this before” and “I’ve never been on a date” profiles.

Months later, her mom discontinued her membership. She wrote, Thank you for helping my daughter meet someone before she died. Her wish was to go out on a date and have a friend at her bedside.

Not everyone had heart stopping goals, but some needed a help from Cupid to solidify their meet up. Sometimes, it was simple --- for one young man, I re-worded his profile from “working for my dad” to “vice president of…” Locating a chivalrous ‘born again’ Christian body-builder proved impossible, especially since the lady had a tendency to complain after an upscale meal, “This chicken tastes funny.”


Courtesy Web
Courtesy Web

Serious relationships, if you arrive there, become more complex, especially when the same people who said, “don’t let anyone tear you apart,” reverse themselves and counsel, “you really didn’t need her in your life.” See, the blissful endings of romantic comedies in truth neglect the ambiguity , both for the ‘happily ever after’ and ‘breaking up is so hard to do.’

Our relationship had the makings of a “Beauty and the Beast” pairing. She said she wanted maturity and similar interests; I loved her outgoing confidence and spontaneity coupled with a touch of nurture for my sensitivity in social situations. I’m average looking; she was beautiful and  equal or superior when conversing on performing arts.

She opened my comfort level to PDA , ( no, not a digital assistant, the ole’ public display of affection gorilla ). After hand holding and smooching practice, I proposed one for the record books --- we puckered from the first floor to the 110th floor observatory of the since doomed World Trade Center.

Of course, I made my share of missteps. I followed her in a communion line up north believing the ‘open communion’ of campus would apply at a strict Catholic church. When it hit me we weren’t at Marshall anymore, she told me to, “open wide and swallow,” no one will know the difference. Hopefully, the Man Upstairs did not mind, too, that once at a prayer fellowship, I neglected to set my phone to vibrate. When someone announced, “Let us call upon the Lord in prayer,” my phone went off, and I blurted, “There she is.”

I’ll never understand all of how that  ‘one that got away.’ She must have found a ‘prince,’ after I found (just as she requested) a liberal priest  to perform the ‘for better or worse’ union.

Despite mixed  “hints” (favorable and unfavorable) from a few mutual friends, I did not hear back from her. So, I have to respect that answer , yet I smile every time  John Denver sings, “Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy…. (MADE).”


Using my own ‘service,’ I found a stereotypical ‘country woman without a May-December age gap. But, she thought uncomfortable in metropolitan Charleston. She had fashion challenges. At first, I laughed, then, I didn’t know what to do when I recognized her sincerity.


We had been at a state park and she ran barefoot through a clear, babbling brook. When we were leaving, I instinctively wiped her tootsie’s with her white socks. She bit her lip and asked, “What do I wear?” Just slip on the shoes and forget the socks. “But doesn’t the restaurant have a dress code?” Yes, but jeans are permitted. “No, I mean, the socks Can I get in without socks on?”


Eventually, I resorted to the age old method for finding true love --- walking my pretty red dog. The 100 pound‘ puppy’ strolled past a soccer match and clasped a pair of tied sneakers in his mouth. Their owner came running. I was embarrassed. Another woman patted his head and forgot about her ice cream cone. He ate it. During finals, several women asked to pet him. They told me they felt better and went on to their test.

Guess single-hood has its advantages: The new theatre has one seat waiting just for me --- beside the wheelchair accessible section. It’s normally available, sell out or not. But, I will NOT attend on V-Day. Period.



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