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Feb-08-2011 00:10printcomments

Evaluating Valentines Expectations: Beware of Passion-Prone Predator

When we cue in on Cupid, we need to observe the many clues lurking in the background.

1920's Valentine lovers card
1920's Valentine lovers card. Courtesy: isntitjustdarling.blogspot.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - Despite our best intentions, that cute sprite called Cupid does sometimes manage to fire arrows astray. His unwitting victims quiver after they wake up from Love's magic potion. Alas, it has missed the mark. In the ideal world, every solitary single would acquire the perfect "soulmate", but reality intervenes.

Valentine's Day supplies us that occasion to wake up or fall down. We soon learn that not every aspiring lover out there will encounter honesty and decency. As they warn us in the consumer world, caveat emptor. Would-be consumers of romance must also remain vigilant.

Back in the 70's I ran a singles organization called The Brunch Lovers League. We would rotate having Sunday brunches among various restaurants in a large city back east. In addition, we'd chip in to pay for brunch for our invited guest speaker. Our motto: "Let the social and cultural intertwine". From that group experience I soon found a bevvy of broken hearts, people who had been pawns of deceit. This happened to both genders, although male perpetrators seemed to have the edge. Exaggeration and outright lies were the order of the day. Making an impression based on false claims appeared the modus operandi. In several cases, I was told that some guys got married without being upfront about having a violent criminal history. Once led to the altar, it was difficult to alter the apparent trap. The case of my late father, while quite different, reflects a rather sneaky technique. He told us in due course that he was determined to court and capture my mother's hand. Thus he's travel every Saturday afternoon out to her apartment house and perch himself seated on the front steps. When a rival date would show up, he pretended to be her brother and told them she had suddenly taken ill. After making a long subway and bus ride to her house, they felt hurt and angry, never calling her again. Since all the "opposition" withdrew due to this dirty trick, my father became the winner--strictly by default. For every kind of phony lover's lure we can think of, there are dozens of others. Unfortunately the laws that govern truth-in-advertising do not apply to classified date ads or profiles on Facebook or MySpace. Once we bite the bait, we get entangled and hooked. That predator swiftly reels us in, albeit recklessly. Awhile back someone I know suggested a unique idea: Providing polygraph testing by experts to anyone who is filing for a marriage license. Let the truth come to the surface--not just the superficial. Will it in some way change the dating scene for the better? The jury is still out on this one. The elixir of Love is potent indeed. A few of us still have that gumption to resist. When we cue in on Cupid, we need to observe the many clues lurking in the background. When we where blinders (as in "Love is Blind), our fate becomes Shabbily Ever After.

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Salem-News.com Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address: luckycoyne@yahoo.com




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