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Chris DeBurgh's "Lady In Red" makes Dave Begel swoon. Whisper the words "cheek to cheek" to him with caution. (PHOTO: cdeb.com)

Milwaukee couples embody Valentine's Day


It's Valentine's Day, a celebration a lot of people think was created by the floral industry, kind of like Sweetest Day.

In truth, the day is nearly 2,000 years old and has always been associated with love and romance.

This year I'm doing my version of "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy." I have some observations about love, as well as a lot of questions. Here we go.

How come it's okay for an older man to fall in love with a younger woman but the opposite seems weird?

Most accomplished married couple in Milwaukee? Dr. Howard Fuller and Dr. Deborah McGriff, both leading voices for educational reform in this country. Each one has a distinct and visible national profile. Plus I've danced with McGriff in Baltimore. Good dancer.

Most artistically gifted couple in Milwaukee? Ray Jivoff and C. Michael Wright. The puckish Jivoff is a very talented singer, actor, dancer and Associate Artistic Director of the Skylight Music Theatre. The distinguished Wright is Producing Artistic Director of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. He can also act and is a very accomplished director. They are about to celebrate 30 years together.

When you get married you think you have given all the love you have to give to your partner. Then kids come along and you find out you have more love than you think you had. Then grandkids come along and your aura of love expands again. Maybe we all have a bottomless well of love and when we say "I give all my love to you" we are wrong.

Every couple has a song. But you can also have a favorite love song. I have four favorite love songs, all tied for first place. "Lady in Red" by Chris De Burgh (it's the whispered "cheek to cheek" that gets me); "Remember When" by Alan Jackson, "Some Enchanted Evening" by Ezio Pinza and the Louis Armstrong version of "La Vie En Rose," with the line, "When you kiss me heaven sighs."

This is either true or I dreamed it, but a friend of mine got a Valentine's present from his wife – a jar of Viagra she bought off the Internet. I will not name the couple in case it really happened.

On the day they get married, do women love their second husband as much as they loved their first on the same day?

The most heartwarming hook-up recently is the one between Milwaukee actors Jim Pickering and Tami Workentin. Two great people whose journey toward each other was a winding path. They get married next Monday, even though friends apparently wonder how he ever got such a cute bride. Hip hip hooray.

Paris is a romantic city. So is Venice and San Francisco and Montreal and Lisbon. Is Milwaukee a romantic city? And if not, what do those other places have that we don't? If it's a water thing, I mean holy cow. A great lake versus a dirty canal?

I wonder if love is overrated when it comes to picking a person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Aren't there things that are more important?

Do you think animals love their humans or love each other? I love my dog, Gordon, but does he love me? Or does he love any other dog?

In the past I've wondered if you can have great sex without love. But I also wonder if you can have great love without sex.

What's better, candy or flowers or diamonds or whisking her away to a night of dancing in a fancy hotel with dinner and breakfast in bed the next day?

Does anyone know anybody else who really fell in love online? There are lots of sites that promise you'll meet your life partner online. But does it ever really happen?

Was John Lennon right? (See if you can figure it out).

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