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Countdown to Romance 2007: What's Love Got to Do With It?
By now, most of those New Year's resolutions are fading fast. Getting to the gym religiously is starting to lose its luster. The regimented diet's getting a little bland. Those other vices squeezed out by the resolution list are creeping back.
Perhaps as a way to jar you back into those resolutions -- or at least remind you of the past year -- here's my "Singles Year in Review: 2007."
Even as I fell egregiously short of my relationship goals in 2007, there were plenty of singles-related news events that should remind us all of what it's like to be single.
For 2007, I was at least hoping to get past a third date with a nice girl, maybe even have a nice date for my brother's wedding. As the expression goes, I failed miserably.
Nevertheless, last year I nearly got two people together via the singles group I run. The two met at the Singles Shabbat I organized, but after a couple of dates, they went their separate ways. Also, I know of at least one reader with whom I've corresponded over the past year who wrote me that she recently found love after years of post-divorce singledom. But that hit the rocks, too, she recently reported, when the guy turned out to be a bona fide sleazebag.
Nevertheless, last year was a big year for singles-related news -- some of it out of this world.
Let's start with the so-called "Astro-nut" Lisa Nowak -- the NASA astronaut who drove across the country wearing diapers so she could confront or, according to prosecutors, abduct and assault a rival astronaut who was dating her former boyfriend, who was also an astronaut.
It takes a rare kind to make such a bold and dramatic move in the name of love. Most of us will never encounter a potential mate with that level of intense interest. Most of us cannot even get people to call back or return an e-mail.
As Entertainment Goes ...
In entertainment, HBO's provocative series, "Tell Me You Love Me," painted such a bleak picture of marriage and relationships that it left me almost relishing my singledom. There were a handful of new relationship-themed television shows, though I never wound up watching any.
On occasion, I caught a Monday-night episode of the CBS sitcom, "How I Met Your Mother." It is sometimes slightly amusing, but it lost credibility when Neil ("Doogie Howser") Patrick Harris came out of the closet. I didn't buy him as a kid doctor, and now I can't buy him as a suave, womanizing stud knowing he prefers dudes in his real life.
As for the movies, well, as a single guy, I didn't really go to too many. There's something a little off about guys who go to movies alone. I did, however, get to see many on DVD. Of particular interest for singles and relationships was the totally implausible "Knocked Up," in which a slovenly, deadbeat Jewish stoner knocks up a hot blonde on a one-night-stand -- and leads to real love.
However, there were some other interesting and relevant singles and relationship movies now in stock in the indie section of video stores, such as "Flannel Pajamas." This is the story of a 20- to 30-something couple, from their budding romance to their heartbreaking divorce. The Jewish/Catholic couple played by Justin Kirk and Julianne Nicholson hit home for its realism.
Another great movie for singles from last year stars "Indie Movie Queen" Parker Posey as a metropolitan single woman in "Broken English." Posey nailed the angst and desperation that many singles feel. The ending in Paris may draw tears from even the hardest-hearted viewers.
Speaking of Paris, "Paris, Je T'Aime" (translated, "Paris, I Love You" and subtitled "Stories of Love, From the City of Love") is an interesting series of interwoven romantic vignettes by 20 world-renowned filmmakers.
Each of the star-studded stories is set in a different Parisian neighborhood. Some are better than others, but overall, the film is a treat, even if you watch it alone.
In Other News ...
Other singles-related stories from the past year include some singers, too, ranging from the vitriolic divorce of Paul McCartney and what's her name to the divorce and meltdown of Britney Spears and what's his name.
Sports fans had theirs, too. If you follow baseball, the New York Yankees' Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez got caught with a dancer on the side, and the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys choked every time his girlfriend, recently divorced Jessica Simpson, attended games.
If we singles learned anything in 2007, it might be that we're all better off being alone than with the wrong person and miserable. But the more poignant lesson emerged from the now-famous Miss South Carolina beauty-pageant contestant, who stumbled through the question-and-answer portion of the contest with a series of inarticulate, grammatically questionable, nonsensical non sequiturs. Her speech, also gratuitously replayed on morning shows and cable news, could make someone with even half a brain cringe.
But Miss South Carolina reinforced one important lesson many of us have learned: It may be more important to look good than think too much, so get back to the gym and start putting an end to those other bad habits.
Roy S. Gutterman is a Syracuse, N.Y.-based writer. To contact him, visit: www.Lrev.com.