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Dreaming of Mr. Right's rookie card

January 12, 2006|Shana Ting Lipton | Special to The Times

I am contemplating contacting Topps, the chewing gum/baseball card company, to suggest a line of trading cards that reflect the peculiar state of the single man in Los Angeles. What better way to differentiate the "players" than to have them properly labeled and described in an attractive, collectible format?

As they say, "Collect 'em all." Or in my case, keep the gum and toss the cards.

Heartfelt Hustler: The

emotionally loose guy

He's a good listener. He communicates well and is free-flowing with Lifetime television-worthy tales of loves lost and triumphant battles of will. You talk to him as if he's one of the girls. Suddenly you're telling him your fears and fantasies. He listens intently, smiling and lovingly patting your shoulder -- lingering just a bit too long. You feel so comforted that you reveal the pain of your last breakup and your hopes for a passionate reunion.

Suddenly he's out of there quicker than you can say "Oprah's Book Club." He's played the "good listener" role a bit too well, he realizes. He's crossed the dreaded border into Friendsville. It's over and he's on to his next victim -- unless, of course, he's an old pro. In that case he may stick around and play the friend card until one night an unexpected connection, and three Cosmopolitans, help you realize that he was always Mr. Right ... or at least Mr. Right Now.

Harry Golightly: The

intimacy-phobic party boy

Unlike his female counterpart, Holly, Harry Golightly doesn't dream of spending breakfast at Tiffany's but rather happy hour at the Viper Room. He's glad to take you with him, as long as you don't hinder him from making it past the velvet rope. Otherwise, you're on your own in social Siberia.

Yet he possesses such a sweet and alluring quality. When you kiss him you get all tingly in your stomach. Or is that just the constant vibrating of the cellphone in his jeans pocket? He's popular, after all. With him it's not "Your place or mine?" but "Your place and My Space." The last time he tried to add a new friend, the whole online network broke down and Tom got mad. Don't worry, you'll get some quality one-on-one time with him -- there's a whole hour between the rock concert and the MTV party.

Sam Pekin-Poet: The

sappy-go-lucky cowboy

Old salty dogs rarely settle down until they take their last gasp. "Women: Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em," they're known to say. But sometimes looks can be deceiving. You're attracted, at first, by Sam Pekin-Poet's gritty, masculine ways, perceiving him as a stultified loner waiting for the right prairie rose to bring him back to life.

In reality, this cowboy isn't a fighter but a lover. And he isn't a poet, but he wishes he were. As he stares dotingly into your eyes, he pauses and asks, "Have you always been this cute or did you have to work at it?" He's going to have to work at his romantic material or it's happy trails for him.

Hunka Hunka Burning

Man: The hippie stalker

You were hoping to make love, not war, but had an exit strategy. So you figured that the man whose dating philosophy was based on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" was the perfect candidate for a casual fling. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, wherever he lays his hat is his home, and the hat doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

Try as you may to politely ask him to get those Birkenstocks moving, he doesn't hear you. He calls, e-mails, even text-messages you. The more unresponsive he finds you, the more he clings rabidly to the hope of a relationship, marriage, kids, a life. Perhaps he's more of a lame duck than a free bird. You were hoping this wouldn't be such a long, strange trip. After two months, he finally leaves you alone. But he'll be back. After all, some folks followed the Grateful Dead for three decades. What's another three months?


Shana Ting Lipton may be reached at weekend

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