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Europe. Had I known before birth that I would be born in these islands, I would have feigned maturity at the time of my conception and waited till my mother was in Paris or Rome before I finally let myself be yanked from her. Not that I would have preferred being European – I just wish I’d been born in that region where beauty is prevalent and romance incessantly abundant. The old world charm is infectious, lashing out mercilessly at unsuspecting tourists and romantic daydreamers like yours truly. It’s a place where you suddenly imagine being in love – a state you naturally fall into owing to the atmosphere and its utter suggestiveness. A cornucopia of things to see and do, each visit becomes a lasting part of my spirit and soul, constantly molding me to be a passionate lover of life.

On a visit to Italy, I met Giuseppe, a light-hearted Venetian waiter who served us Perrier and the most mouthwatering slices of Bruschetta with Prosciutto that I’ve ever tasted – right off St. Mark’s Square, at this charming side street café. An interesting character, his presence evoked an aura of sensuality and amore at the mere sight of his smile and the feel of his genuine warmth. He passed tables in an almost rhythmic motion as he sang operatic verses, drawing attention to his dark hair and tall, muscular frame. Like an old friend, he told me about Venice’s history and how its canals and cobbled walkways have been part of myriad love stories – a tradition that continues to pervade this fairytale city.

Suddenly, a feeling of melancholy swept over me after I said grazie to him. My heavy-set aunt who was seated next to me, asked for a snapshot of her standing by a passing gondola with a young couple in it, engaged in a tight lip lock. Sighing, I didn’t lose hope that sooner than soon I would meet someone in this magical place and fall truly, madly, and deeply. The hunt was on.

Hanging around Rome’s piazzas and fountains didn’t help nor sitting on the Bateau Mouche as it circled the Seine in the City of Light. Having witnessed every conceivable image of love and romance got me nowhere except feeling frustrated and dazed at the pace I took to make the most out of the trip. Hell bent on having a good time, I took revenge by slapping my plastics silly on designer ateliers and clubbing like my days were numbered. What a place to be! Too bad there was only one thing obviously missing. . .

After weeks of seemingly endless rounds of tourist activity, I found myself back home – worn out, broke, and excited. In me was an impelling need to go out and hug someone – anyone who was willing to be the recipient of my affections, something that I was unable to do in places where it was most appropriate. Riding on an emotional high, I was downtown that evening and somehow imagined I was still in Trastevere, strolling and checking out the hip, trendy Romans who strutted the runway in front of the ogling masses. Slowly however, I eased into my normal daily routine and went about life the way it was before my whirlwind European jaunt.

Being haplessly single, I was naturally invited to be a member of a singles club. Perhaps they intended for me an honorary and urgently necessary membership. Hesitant and skeptical, I thought I’d give it a try anyway. This probably wouldn’t take as long nor cost as much as that vacation, I thought to myself. So, off I went to the inaugural launch that was a gathering of several dozen friendly faces and restless bodies. After the usual preambles, witticisms, and contrived stories, I prepared to leave as I finished the last few portions of my unappetizing dinner. Then, the woman next to me got up to make a phone call and came back to tell me her son would pick her up at the restaurant and take her home. With a shrug, I decided to go down near the entrance to check up on my driver. A few minutes later, I noticed someone entering the swinging doors, coming up to me in a slight hurry, and looking mighty harassed. “I’m looking for somebody,” he said. “Can you help me …?