Monday, February 14, 2011

Dialled the Moscow area code followed by the serial number on his gun...

Cupid and Psyche (Jacques Louis David, 1748-1825)

It's Valentine's Day.

The following unusual tale of love comes from a television guy, who once helped produce a TV show out of the Moscow Airport terminal that was destroyed by a suicide bomber in January. The ad hoc show was called Hello Goodbye. Every week, the producers pulled on viewers' heart strings by pulling stories out of the throng of real people meeting and greeting and parting and weeping at the terminal. This producer told the following story:
One young couple we interviewed were parting for at least six months.
‘Why so long?’
‘There’s war on where I work. I’m a soldier. I serve in Chechnya. She can’t go there.’
This is how they met. He was alone and bored at his post, a little brick hut high in the Caucasus. It was night and he was drunk. He wanted to find a girl away from the front. He looked down at the serial number on his gun. Just for the hell of it he took out his phone and dialed the Moscow area code followed by the serial number. A sleepy girl answered.
‘Who is this?’
He told her. She slammed down the phone.
‘I just liked her voice,’ he said. ‘So I kept on phoning.’
He called every day. Slowly she caved in. They sent each other photos of themselves on their mobiles. Two weeks before our shoot he had some leave and came to visit her. She was from a traditional family from the Caucasus, and he asked her father’s permission to marry her. He agreed. Now they both wore rings. The wedding was planned for when he returned from the Chechen front in six months time.
‘This is my last tour of duty. I’m done with the army. In six months I come back and that’s it, no more war.’
‘Do you still have the gun with her number?’
‘The gun? I’ll always keep that gun.’
He blew kisses and she cried as he went through passport control. After that, I’ve no idea what happened to them.
Awww. How... slightly crazy, yet touchingly romantic. People will do the weirdest things when they are really keen, or desperate, to reach out and contact complete strangers. (Remind me to tell you my story from three years ago, of the late winter night in Hackensack, New Jersey, a crisp, cold winter night, when, all alone, I strode up Main Street, minding my own business, enjoying the stroll, when I passed a pay phone, which started ringing...)

One hopes for the sake of the young woman with her soldier boy, that he is never issued with a new gun! She should also try to keep him away from bar codes, the financial pages of newspapers, mathematicians with Tourette syndrome.

If it's fidelity you're after on today, Valentine's Day, then you might actually want to let your eyes wander, right in front of your beloved. This, according to the Boston Globe:
People in romantic relationships are often tempted to block their partners from seeing attractive alternatives, but a new study suggests that this strategy may backfire. Psychologists at the University of Kentucky and Florida State University conducted several experiments with students who reported being in a relationship. The students were given a computer task that simultaneously presented them with photos of attractive and average-looking individuals of the opposite sex. Some of the students were prompted to focus their attention almost exclusively on the average-looking individual. 
After this task, the students whose attention had been directed towards the average-looking individual reported being less satisfied and committed — and more accepting of infidelity — with regard to their relationships. They were also subsequently more likely to remember the attractive faces from the task and pay attention to new attractive faces.
To those in love around the great, wide world... kisses.