THE SEARCH FOR A MATE

Fitzgerald, wearing his blue blazer and yellow silk tie, donned a Mexican sombrero and entered Leonardo’s, a latin dance club on La Brea near Wilshire. He even took the time to paste on a tiny strip of black moustache. “I’ll blend in and won’t be noticed.” This was his first attempt to land a young south-of-the border bride. He removed a length of cord from his jacket pocket and approached a pair of latinas conversing at the bar. “Ola, me llamo Fitzgerald, soy de Mexico, la ciudad de Quesadilla. Yo tengo un rope.” The girls looked puzzled. Fitzgerald proceeded to tie a knot and cause it to vanish, a trick he had been doing since he was ten. “Who would like a drink?” he shouted as he removed his wallet, a rubber-banded packet “accidentally” falling out on to the floor. Bending over with a groan to retrieve the bundle, he snapped the bands off to reveal his passport and a half dozen dog-eared copies of his birth certificate. “Oh, lookie here. I’ve dropped my “papers” ... the papers that proclaim me to be a citizen of the United States of America - the richest, most powerful nation on Earth. Why if anyone were to marry me, the bounties of citizenship are close at hand … proximo al mano.” The girls turned their backs. Fitzgerald, in one last stab at a love connection, blurted out, “Quieren see me collection of Calvin Klein ropa interior?”

"Fitzgerald, I've accomplished my goals. Now can I look for a mate?" Many colleagues have satisfactorily attained respectable positions in their vocations, a healthy bank account, the beginning (if not completion) of childhood dreams ... and are ready to settle down. Fitzgerald’s exhaustive research has shown the proper age of stability to be 47, plus or minus five years.

Are you sure my single soldier friend that you've explored every option of your life? Have you attained the proper education? Are you physically fit? Have you attained a certain status in your community? Keep probing your mind with penetrating questions. Be the most fulfilled person you can be before succumbing to family and societal pressures. It's your life after all -- not your mother's! What's the rush? With the advent of erection enhancements, you'll more than likely be able to father children well into your 90s.

And if you do decide the time is right, look before you leap. Take your time with this life decision. Look for a female who is an entity unto herself, a self-contained unit of independence who doesn't have to depend on you for survival. Demand personality profiles, blood tests and credit status reports on the prospective candidates. Ask them to consider professional counseling if you sense something is wrong with their psyches.

How does a single gentleman find a proper candidate? For starters, consider volunteer work at the local animal shelter; dozens of lonely, sympathetic single women go there every week looking for a furry friend to keep them company. Or visit churches and synagogues where single women tend to flock (hearing a ticking clock) when they desire from God a mate. (A penitent friend recently encountered a Playboy bunny studying Baruch). And don't be embarrassed to go through dozens of mail-order bride catalogs and to fly to South Vietnam to meet your prospective mates and their families. There are many opportunities to meet the opposite gender – but make sure each is carefully screened before even considering a first date.

At one time, Fitzgerald thought he had accomplished all of his lifetime goals – and perhaps it was time to find a mate. I wondered aimlessly around the squash section at Ralph’s, my empty ring finger easily visible. (The only admirer encountered was a lonely produce manager.) I also walked the widow Jones’ chihuahua, Trixie, around the block; many conversations ensued. I even attended dreadful church functions for singles. (This author takes great offense at the rumor, spread by vicious enemies, that he used to skulk around convents.)

Like a seasoned fisherman, I found that it was often necessary to throw my catches back into the sea; either they were not properly ripened, were not the right size or were immature in thought. This may sound harsh, but in the long run it is best for both genders. You need not be cruel when it's necessary to return your "catch" to the sea. Explain what went wrong; relationships are a series of discoveries about the other person. Sometimes you both have to move on -- and that's life. Just remove the hook as gracefully and painlessly as possible.

How did I bait my hook? Quite simply, I projected confidence. Confidence is the key word to success in most matters of business or art or romance. Pretend to be successful and you're on your way even if you're not at the present moment. (In this author's case, I was about to finish this literary work, plus I could perform amazing tricks of conjuring. Both of these made me very attractive. My immaculate attire was also a lure.)

The wizened bachelor ultimately discovers that single females focus on hefty wallets and future security (and show business connections if you live in Hollywood) over good looks, sense of humor or elephantine appendages. (Consider the case of 85 year old millionaire J. Howard Marshall and his marriage to model Anna Nicole Smith. An attempt was made to hire this geriatric genius as a consultant in preparing this manuscript, but alas, he expired.)

So, the bottom line is this: don't rush to wed – wait a decade or two, work on your career and goals, and then (perhaps) take the plunge.

Observation: Fitzgerald has no intention to incite fear into the heart of the single gentleman. But I think that it's important to be aware of the possible pitfalls involved in any relationship of passion. And the fact that your life is at stake. With this in mind, let us examine the mating rituals of two creatures:

The black widow spider's shiny black exterior is not unlike the leather outfits worn by some modern women; the red hourglass on its abdomen is not unlike a cheap, lusty tattoo. The black widow spins her web of deceit -- and her puny male admirer (often 1/4 her size) -- is seduced. After the throes of passion, the black widow does not hesitate to devour her companion (perhaps she uses his billfold like a toothpick).

The praying mantis, despite its religious exterior, is a cause of grave concern for the weary male insect. During copulation, it will frequently bite the head off its companion. Be aware, gentlemen, of that simple, sweet maiden; beneath the pleasant exterior may lurk a demon.

At the beginning of the 21st century, violent and homicidal actions by females toward their mates intensified. However, the attacks may not be direct – but slow, subtle, and spun out over years of time. ("Dear, would you go to the store and get me some milk?") Is it any wonder nursing homes are predominantly occupied by the fairer sex?