Love Machine

For the first time in my 33 1/3 years, my feet walked through the doors of Spaghetti Warehouse. Shocker, right? Especially since my first word, as the legend goes, was meatball. A sit-down dinner did not ensue, but instead enjoyed a local brew and hung out with familiar and new faces.

The small group was hanging out in the other room, which I didn’t realize until minutes after. The time waiting and being somewhat oblivious was well spent.

The lobby of the place revealed itself larger than anticipated. There is a prominence of wood, which is always unique and warming. There are knickknacks and old signs. Old gas pumps stand tall Arcade games new and old wait for their turns. Gas pumps stood as distinguished maître d’ figures — one tall and slender, one short and stocky with a Laurel and Hardy appeal.

“I’m just a love machine…”

The hostess was not present, but two couples milled about, entering from the dining room. They, in their late 60s or early 70s, were wandering as well. While the gentleman went to the restroom, the wife took initiative and walked over to the love tester machine.

The early model of the psychic libido explainer asked for coins, because nothing in life is free. The bulbs lit up one-by-one, and the last lit next to “MILD.”

She gave the machine the finger (in her mind).

This tell-all game is the benign cousin of the Ouija Board and the one of the first mediums of electronic device dating. I may be too young, but I’m sure people lined up, took turns and paired up through tries via love tester.

If you were passionate, why would you settle for anything less? Oh, you’re sexy? That’s so one notch below me.

Her husband came out, still wiping his hands — he clearly and thankfully washed them. He saw his better half meandering from the machine towards the now present hostess. He walked over to the tester, put the money in. The bulb lit one level up: “WILD.”

Spinning around on the ball of his foot, he did his best James Brown (in his mind). A hearty chuckle bounced out from the diaphragm.

How’d you do? She asked her husband. He answered. Oh, she said with a smidgen of reluctance. Yet, her laugh acknowledged this being a game. I got MILD.

The guy smiled. The grin told her it was OK as much as it gloated the minor win. Status in the relationship was already known, and he didn’t need black magic to tell him what was what.

No, he didn’t think he was better than his wife. The way the man walked over to his wife and how they walked together — his place was still being in love.


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