Cupid's been operating under a dark cloud since a major national magazine announced the dreary prospects for a single woman who wants to find a guy and get married. Still, the Los Angeles Marriage Bureau issued more than 5,000 licenses last year in February alone, leaving little doubt that couples are still getting together and tying the knot in spite of all the dire predictions.
Maybe things have changed since Fred Astaire danced his way into Ginger's heart, but in real life, just as in the cinema, romances bloom in ordinary as well as unusual settings. Of course, there are many, many people who aren't looking for mates and prefer to be alone. So be it! But for the others, here's how a few Southern Californians discovered their true loves. Perhaps it will inspire others who desire a mate to get tracking.
Tee for Two: Helen Manheimer of Tarzana met her husband, Lawrence, while she was playing golf with her father. Her shot from the second tee hooked to a lie under a distant tree. When she reached the tree, there was her ball and a second one. "Mine was right next to Larry's drive from the seventh tee; his fairway paralleled mine. Dad yelled an introduction, and we all continued the game. Later I ran into Larry at the pro shop where he was buying a pair of Size 5 shoes. They certainly weren't for him--he was well over six feet. I wondered if he had a small wife in the background.
"We had a drink and talked. I was relieved to discover the shoes were for his diminutive father. Our date for golf the next weekend was the first of many. A year later we married, threw our clubs into the trunk of the car and spent our honeymoon golfing on courses across the country." Still golfing together after 36 years of marriage, the Manheimers tee up on golf courses around the world.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match: Donald Bankhardt of Northridge obtained his divorce with the help of a sympathetic lawyer. His future wife, Beverly, hired the same lawyer for her divorce. "I've never tried to fix up a client before," the attorney wrote to Beverly "but, would you be interested in meeting one of my other clients, a very nice guy also recently divorced?" Available men were scarce, so she agreed. Don called and they started dating.
The legal go-between agonized through their entire courtship and swore he would never do it again. His only try was a success. The Bankhardts have been married since 1970.
My Kind of Gal: Dick Staton of Simi met his wife, Pamela, at that breeding ground for many marriages--college. "I was sitting next to her on the grass in the quadrangle at Pierce College. Pam mistakenly thought I was in her health science class. She started discussing that day's assignment, an essay on Masters and Johnson. Soon we were in a deep discussion."
Not one to discourage a pretty girl who spoke freely about sexual matters, Dick let the discussion go on for almost 20 minutes before he told her that he wasn't in her class. Then he decided a young woman willing to discuss sex for that length of time was "his kind of gal" and asked her out. That was 10 years and two children ago.
Taking a Chance on Love: Carol Sapin Gold of Marina del Rey was in the market for a new car. She and her son pulled into a parking lot in Westwood, where Carol spotted a shiny, red and white Cadillac Seville a few spaces away. She raced over to admire it, explaining to the driver, "I love this car."
Owner Joseph Weinstein laughingly replied, "I'll give it to you."
Surprised, Carol suggested to him that his wife wouldn't approve. "I'm not married," Joseph countered, "but then your husband probably wouldn't like your taking it."
"No problem; I'm not married."
With no spouses hovering, Joseph suggested a dinner date that night to discuss the car. Carol, not one to pick up strangers, surprised herself by agreeing to meet the first night she was free. They hit it off, even though Joseph locked himself out of his car and arrived an hour late. Ten months later they were married, and their wedding cake was decorated with a red Cadillac Seville and the words: I Love Your Car. The car is gone, but the marriage has lasted 10 years.
It Pays to Advertise: Looking for a relationship, Jerry Herz of Los Angeles placed a personal ad in a magazine. He received 40 responses, many of them from "weirdos." But there were also a few nice women. He dated some, but no one clicked with him. A friend decided the ad was at fault and rewrote it. This one pulled only 15.
Still looking for a companion a year later, Jerry resubmitted his original ad to a local ethnic paper. Among the replies was Candice Collins'. There was something special about her, for their first phone conversation lasted two hours. She agreed to meet him for coffee at a shop in Beverly Glen. One look at her hazel-eyed, Irish beauty and it was a match. She became Jerry's best friend and companion backpacker. After 2 1/2 years, they were married in December last year.