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February 13, 1987|ELIZABETH MEHREN

From true love to stabbed-in-the-back love, from quick love to love that just won't die, View writers have chronicled looks at love in the '80s for Valentine's Day eve. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent, and the guilty, but all are true . . . even if love sometimes isn't.

She is in her 40s: beautiful, blue-eyed and, as we join her five short months ago, very burned out. Marriage No. 1 had taken 15 years to tumble, and next there was a long, choppy rebound with a prince who turned out to be a frog. Shell-shocked, she retreated to the comfort of the Great Books. Evenings were spent in front of the fire, in the company of her new best friend, Jane Austen.

In this frame of mind she made it quite clear that she had elected to join her own personal convent. "No, I do not want to go out with anybody. Ever. Again." The iron firmness in her voice left little room for discussion.

Her friend, a woman in her 30s--call her Cupid--however, knew better.

"Yes, you do," she said. "Don't be a cow."

As we zero in on Part Two of the tale, we find a fellow in his 40s, footloose but hardly fancy free. Years of two-month stands were wearing him thin. Tall and indisputably heterosexual, he was a hot commodity, an eligible bachelor sought by hostesses throughout the L.A. Basin. But his fancy car phone and busy social calendar were scant cover-up for the man who longed to be Robert Young.

"I must be doing something wrong," he confided to Cupid one gray L.A. day. "Am I looking for love in all the wrong places?"

Timing is everything, she had once read in a love-and-relationship book.

"Have I got a girl for you," Cupid said, thinking that even though her friend said she wasn't interested in love, she would be the perfect nurturing mate for our bachelor.

Back at the fireplace, our heroine was halfway through her third rereading of "Sense and Sensibility" when Cupid stopped by to talk about love and romance. "He'll break my heart," our heroine moaned. "He'll never call back. He'll love me and leave me. He'll take drugs on our second date. He'll have a wife on the side. He'll make unthinkable demands. . . . "

But then there was slight movement.

"Oh, all right," the iceberg said, melting. "All right, I'll go out with him. But only once. Only for coffee."

And so there was coffee, and soon a cocktail, and later a picnic and in six amazing weeks, talk of a wedding. Their friend tried not to look smug when they telephoned.

They married last Saturday, under a tent in the backyard of their new house with the (believe it) white picket fence.

Cupid, in the meantime, has acquired a wonderful set of the Great Books.

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