Summit County: looking for love in all the wrong places
I have a friend – I’ll call her S “Shirley,” as in “Shirley, you can’t be this desperate” – who can’t seem to find a boyfriend in Summit County.Shirley is funny, smart and attractive. She rides a bike, likes to hike, can hold up her end of the conversation, laughs easily, is “romantically adventurous” (she asked me to include that) and can cook – everything a man looks for in a woman, unless, of course, that man lives in Summit County.Here, she said, men are looking for a Mountain Woman, someone who will earn the household bacon, fry it up in a pan, chop the winter’s firewood, give him a run for his money on the slopes, make him feel like a he-man in bed and drink him under the table when all’s said and done. That’s why she’s found all her past boyfriends in a bar.”Let’s see,” she said. “My first boyfriend I met in a bar. He turned out to be a drug dealer. My second boyfriend, bar, unemployed. Third, bar, bartender. Fourth, bar, pizza delivery guy/real estate agent/school bus driver/furniture salesman. He got fired a lot,” Shirley said.Shirley also faces the infamous age hurdle. She’s only 38 – and looks 28 – but in Summit County, anyone over 29 is pretty much dog food.”They say you meet the best men in church,” I offered.”Yeah, but I’d have to pretend I believe in God.””Libraries?””Please,” she said. “That’s where the homeless go to stay warm.”She’s tried the Internet dating thing – and was abandoned in the theater by a man who said he needed to use the restroom. She’s tried joining clubs, but it being Summit County, many of those were devoted to Body Naziism, wherein members run a marathon before work, take a two-hour snowshoe at lunch and participate in a triathlon before dinner.”How about a class? You could take a pottery class …””Too many women; too much competition.””OK,” I said. “How about bike maintenance?””It’ll be filled with women. Guys know how to fix bikes.”We went through the list of classes that had the potential to be dominated by males: EMT, advanced auto shop (there are no males in beginning auto shop classes, Shirley said), avalanche control, blacksmithing, welding, lift maintenance, snowcat repair and bartending.”We’re edging back into the bar thing again,” I noted.We found problems with each class. To become an EMT, you have to be in contact with injured people – potentially those who are leaking blood. Blood-oriented things are not on the top of Shirley’s “must-do-before-she-dies” list. Advanced auto shop requires the prerequisite beginning auto shop. Shirley’s talents end at signing the charge slip for gas. Avalanche classes require students to be on the mountain – and that involves wearing a hat, which would ruin Shirley’s hair. Blacksmithing? I can’t see her pounding a horseshoe against an anvil. The leather apron alone would ruin her image. Welding? “Sexy” and “eye protection” just don’t go together. Lift maintenance? She’s afraid of heights. Snowcat repair? See auto maintenance. We’re back to bartending.”I could do that,” she said with a heavy sigh.After days of heavy thought, I’ve come up with the perfect solution: Shirley’s cell phone. Technology has expanded to the point where cell phones can be used as love zappers. This is how they work.SCENE: Man at bus stop, eyes scowling woman who’s mad because a taxi splattered her with mud. He pulls cell phone from pocket, punches in SMILE! and aims the phone at the woman, who screams and runs away. No, wait! She glances at her own cell phone, which, via text messaging, receives a garbled message: %(#&! No, that’s not right, either! She reads, “SMILE!” Woman looks up, sees man ogling her, taps message into phone: “GET AWAY FROM ME, FREAK!” He, of course, interprets this as: “LET’S HAVE SE!”And thus, love is born.My friend sighed. “I guess I’ll sign up for blacksmithing.”Shirley, I hear wedding bells.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t think Jane has to worry about “Shirley” calling her – ever again.
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