MAD DOG: Love in the 90's

It's good to know that love is still alive in the 90's. At least I think it is. Sure the divorce rate's higher than Robert Downey, Jr. on a bad week. And the Internet's taken over as the number one place to meet eligible married 60 year-olds masquerading as teenage girls. But that doesn't mean you can't still find a match, does it?It wasn't long ago that people touted the supermarket as the place to meet singles, giving new meaning to the concept of a meat market. But judging by the looks I got last week when I stopped women in the produce section and asked, “What's your favorite lettuce recipe and, by the way, do you want to go home with me?” I'd say it's time for a new approach.I thought about trying the personal ads, but I just don't know enough about them. It's scary to think that a SWM like me couldn't accidentally end up with an AWOL-USMC just because I don't have a Personals-English Dictionary to tell me that DWFLMS&FBS means Divorced White Female Loves Maple Syrup and Fuzzy Bunny Slippers. I could go to a dating service, but the idea of spending hours filling out a 20-page questionnaire that won't result in a mailbox filled with free cereal coupons, admission to law school, or a government grant is depressing. Besides, do I really want to go out with anyone desperate enough to go to a dating service?Nowadays there's a more personalized version of the dating service—matchmakers. They're very similar except that, taking a tip from the television industry, they narrowcast. Narrowcasting is the concept that we as humans have limited interests and are only able to process small bits of information at a time, a notion that could only come from the same people who not only put Urkel on television, but kept him there until he went from being an incredibly obnoxious squeaky-voiced teen to an incredibly obnoxious squeaky-voiced adult.Narrowcasting is de-evolution in action. Network television, with a broad range of shows, begat UHF channels, which were designed to appeal to those few individuals who could remember that channel 64 really existed. Then UHF begat cable, with channels devoted exclusively to topics like food or news. Now this is about to spawn into a thousand channels, each devoted to subject matter like French Fries or Seafaring Disasters We Wish Yanni Was On. And to think, people accuse TV of having sunk to the lowest common denominator.But back to the matchmakers. These are basically newsletters that help specific groups of people find mates, like Orthodox Jews, non-smokers, or professionals who don't have time to find their own date because they're too busy cruising the online chatrooms when they're supposed to be working. Think about it. If you were a single right-wing extremist looking to settle down, what are you supposed to do, hang around the January white sales looking for women?Luckily the Patriot Matchmaker has come to their rescue. This newsletter is put out by a woman in Colorado who tries to match up backwoodsmen with survivalists, and militiamen with tax resisters. Sort of an anti-social social club. One woman describes herself as having “politics to the right of Attila the Hun”. Kind of makes you sorry that Patrick Buchanan is already married.But I'm starting to think meeting someone is the easy part. Deciding where to get married, now there's a challenge. Chapels are fine, but it's been done. Backyards, mountaintops, beaches—all old news. Heck, people have gotten married jumping out of airplanes, swimming underwater, and recently at a 7-11 in Richmond, Virginia. Talk about a big gulp!You could always take the route of Lucero Hogaza and Manuel Mijares, two of Mexico's biggest pop stars. They exchanged vows in a church in Mexico City while millions of people watched it live on TV, all without commercial interruption. There's been no official Neilsen ratings released, but I suspect most of the viewers changed the channel to watch the end of Baywatch when they realized Lucero and Manuel weren't actually recreating Tiny Tim's marriage to Miss Vicki and the priest wasn't Johnny Carson.Lucky for them they didn't try to get married at Disney World, for being Roman Catholic it wouldn't have been allowed. That's right, just like birth control, it's been banned by the church. Each year more than 1,700 couples get married at Disney World. Even though this may sound a little goofy it's anything but a Mickey Mouse business. Weddings at Disney World run from a $2,500 intimate wedding for two in the Wedding Pavilion (yes, there is such a place) to a $20,000 bash for 100 guests in front of Cinderella's Castle complete with royal trumpets, a banquet, Cinderella's horse-drawn coach, Tinkerbell and fireworks. Supplying Prince Charming is your responsibility.But this won't happen if you're Catholic. The chancellor of the Diocese of Orlando has vetoed it. She says Roman Catholic weddings must be performed in a temple or church, and even ceremonies in Disney's Tower of Terror—where people are known to pray for their lives—are verboten.Perhaps she's worried about wedding remorse. This is something Margaret Anne Hunter of Alexandria, Virginia can attest to. After she met Thorne Groves online they fell in love and quickly married because he said he had AIDS and wanted to be happily married before he died. Suspicious that none of his relatives came to the wedding—and that he wouldn't remove the bandages from his chest—Margaret Anne did what any normal woman would do, she went shopping. Actually she pulled off the bandages and discovered that her husband was really a 26 year-old Texas woman named Holly. Then she sued him for $575,000. Then she went shopping.I guess all this proves that love really does still exist in the 90's. The problem is it's sometimes kind of hard to recognize.

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