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Burbs of Love:
The Road to 2.4 Children
or, In Fact, I Can Promise You a Rose Garden

by Joshua Allen

Young people looking for love tend to flock to cities where there's no shortage of clubs, bars, and massage parlors. But as populations swell and sprawl, more and more people are finding themselves in the outskirts of town, away from the bright lights, throbbing life, and whatever else these urban nightmares are supposed to offer.

Yes, I, too, fled the tiresome beauty and culture of San Francisco for the banal glory that is Mountain View, the dark heart of Silicon Valley. And I've never looked back.

"But Josh!" you cry. "You somehow manage to meet a wide variety of available, inoffensive women! How is this possible in the family-glutted 'burbs? Surely you make the trek to the city when you want to find someone with wit and grace, or at least someone who doesn't spend their Saturday nights clipping coupons and changing diapers!"

Friends, that is just not the case. I'm here to tell you that suburbia is not only teeming with opportunities for the single person on the prowl, but it also guarantees a happier relationship once you find that special partner. Here are just a few reasons why:

1. Single people in suburbia have jobs. There are none of these starving artists you find in the city who promise to pay you back as soon as those ingrates at the coffeehouse buy one of their paintings or whatever.

2. Single people in suburbia have cars. So say goodbye to chauffeuring your loved one to her Wiccan empowerment class every Wednesday night.

3. Single people in suburbia are desperately lonely, and thus have relatively low standards. This can only work to your benefit.

Sprawl You Need Is Love

Now, where to begin? It's true that Silicon Valley, and your local suburban center, is lacking a vibrant nightlife. Drive around town after midnight and the most happenin' place will be either the 7-Eleven or Red's Exotic Lounge & Fried Chicken Hut. So you'll need to get used to keeping your eyes open during the daylight hours.

Think about your ideal mate and what sort of demographic group he or she would fall into, then match those results with a particular store. For example, there have been reports here in the Valley of frantic women hanging out at the electronics überstore Fry's, on the hunt for geek bachelors with IPO money to burn. Personally, I'm more interested in women with green thumbs, so I spend my Saturday afternoons over at Target in the Home & Garden section, armed with several complex questions about integrated pest management.

In fact, Target, Wal-Mart, and other soulless entities offer just about every product under the sun, and every suburban dweller must pass through their hallowed halls at some point. So just pick a category that suits your needs -- Jewelry, Hardware, Camping Accessories, Young Miss -- and see if your mate is lurking there.

Another common meeting place is the laundromat. Generally speaking, the suburbs tend to be made up of families in homes and single people in apartments, so guess who's going to be washing their dirty laundry in public? A bunch of unattached folks trying to kill time for a couple of hours, maybe by making idle chitchat with your bad self. I find the old "Can you spare a dryer sheet?" to be an excellent icebreaker. You can also learn a great deal about your potential love-interest by sneaking a peek at their laundry. Those Confederate-flag-themed thong underpants might be a warning sign... or not, depending on your needs.

Stalking the Wild Suburbanite

Sometimes, however, it's not so easy to find that single needle in the haystack of married couples. That hot mama who's winking at you while refilling her Mountain Dew at the Taco Bell could very well be a soccer mom suffering from pink eye. So do a little legwork first. I'm not suggesting out-and-out stalking, per se, but always be on the lookout for little clues. Is the person in front of you at the grocery store buying single-serving mac 'n' cheese and fruit cocktail and maybe even one of those mini astrology scrolls? Does he need to spell it out for you?

But if you're tired of all this detective work and just want a straight-ahead meat market, look no further than your nearest convention hall. Here in Silicon Valley, there's always a half-dozen Internet conferences going on at any one time, each one packed with badge-wearing businesspeople, drunk with the freedom of being away from home and on their company's expense accounts. The air is thick with pheromones. Showing even the slightest interest in someone's brochure or promotional gew-gaw is usually enough to get something started. Sure, it may not be that meaningful relationship you've been dreaming of, but it makes up in convenience what it lacks in class.

And isn't that what suburbia's all about?

Joshua Allen is a puppet CEO for the elaborate tax shelter known as Fireland. He is constantly dictating memos to his large pool of personal secretaries.

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