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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, June 20, 2003

Summertime romance

By Tanya Bricking
Advertiser Staff Writer

Sometimes finding summer love requires more than just a day at the beach. Franklyn "Frankie" Donahue III, right, known to his friends as "Kaleo," has been single for three years but is looking for Ms. Right. Here, he's relaxing at Makaha Beach with Wayne Gueco, an avid surfer who likes to take his dates out on the water.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Maybe it's the social conditioning of summers off from school as kids that makes this time of year so appealing.

Even in the land of endless summers, there's a certain something about the summertime that makes us long for easy living and a little bit of lovin'.

So maybe hanging out at the beach all day every day isn't an option if you're still going to cover the rent this month, but that doesn't make the notion of making room in your life for a budding summer romance any less enticing — for the romantics among us, anyway.

"Certainly, we're a busier generation," said Lisa Daily, author of "Stop Getting Dumped!" (Plume, $11), who holds seminars to teach women how to become "dream girls." "But there's something about summer that feels like a fresh start. Busy or not, most people will make time for a summer romance."

Other seasons are all right for dating, but summer definitely is when it feels right, said Franklyn "Frankie" Donahue III, of Wai'anae, known to his friends as "Kaleo."

"The summer just makes it easier to go out on dates, without any deadlines with school," said Donahue, who likes to use these months to catch up with friends who are home from Mainland schools for the summer. "Summertime is just the time to go to the beach, have fun and just relax."

Of course, Donahue, who's about to turn 22, has to fit the socializing in between looking for a job so he can afford to pay for a night out. He has been single for three years and says the hardest part is finding the right person to ask on a date.

But the beginning of summer is a time for optimism.

Add Kelina Isaacs to the list of hopefuls who fit the bill of "single but looking."

The 31-year-old downtowner who works as a community relations coordinator is trying to coordinate her personal life.

But it's a squeeze, with a full-time job, graduate school and training for the Honolulu Marathon.

"I think if I found the right person, I would definitely make time for him," she said. "I feel the right person would also give me the energy even after a busy and hectic day at work."

She has tried the bar scene, but found no luck there meeting quality men. So she tries a church networking group, cultural events, a running club, the gym and places she hopes are healthier environments than a bar to meet that magic man.

"I have now concluded it takes that extra effort to get yourself out there if you plan to meet someone," she said. "'Cause you'll be one lucky lady if he comes a knockin' at your door while you are sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself."

Hurry up and date

Let's face it, looking for love can be a major hassle.

Businesses know this. That's why so many dating services have cropped up lately for people who are crunched for time but have an empty space in their love lives.

In addition to a plethora of online matchmaking sites, Hono-lulu is now home to the Mainland-flavor franchise "It's Just Lunch," which markets itself as "dating for busy professionals" and operates in 40 cities nationwide, as well as "Party of Six," a business that coordinates matchmaking dinner parties.

Austin England, 52, of Waikiki, has put himself out there on the Internet, with mixed results.

He has been divorced since 1980, has engaged twice since but is still single. Lately, when he registers on a dating site, he responds only to women who e-mail him first. "I find it works best to let them seek me out."

He travels a lot, and his relationships often don't have time to develop. So, his attitude has been to "let it happen" instead of deciding right away whether he's in it for the long haul.

"Most of the women I date I find at church," he said. "I quit drinking 19 years ago, no smoking for 17 years, so don't do the bar scene."

Even for grown-ups, the longing to make time for summer lovin' doesn't fade easily.

"If I had a significant other, I definitely would make time for love," said Rachelle "Rochie" Yamamoto, 34, a single mother of three.

Yamamoto lives on a tight schedule. She works two jobs and goes to night classes to finish a degree in human services. She's also on the board of directors for the Kalihi-Palama Community Council, which equates to many meetings.

Her only real day off is Sunday. She tries to go out on Saturday nights with friends and family, but she says she would refine her schedule even more for the right person.

While she likes being independent and self-sufficient, Yamamoto longs to be in a long-term, stable, loving relationship.

"My kids add so much to my life — love, companionship, fun, laughter, challenges and of course stress," she said. "But there is still a void in my personal life, which I have neglected. I don't feel the need to be in love, however, it would be a bonus."

Her ideal man would be willing to appreciate and accept her kids, be loving and affectionate, be patient and kind, be able to make her laugh. And, she laughs, he would find the time to wine and dine her.

'Pair and the spare'

You could say the good news of this story is that it's June, and singles out there still have time to heat things up. But the bad news is that relationship experts agree most people end relationships at the three-month mark. Come September, you know what that means.

"The key to success in summer romances is keeping things light," said Daily, (the easy-for-her-to-say-since-she's-married author). "Don't go into your first date in June thinking everyone you meet could be 'The One.' "

Daily is a supporter of date juggling, which means dating more than one person at a time. She calls it "the pair and the spare."

For singles who are not in a committed, monogamous relationship, having a rotation of dates is a way to keep things from getting too serious too fast, she said, and it makes it easier to enjoy a summer romance as it arises rather than trying to force one.

Plus, she says, you won't have a free Saturday night unless you want one.

Alyssa Murphy already has grown weary of all of these dating rules. She says she moved here two years ago and has had back-to-back relationships lasting, you guessed it, three months.

"I'm 24, and I am pretty tired of looking for love," said Murphy, creative director for a Honolulu computer company. "I'm thinking about following the overused advice: 'Don't go looking for love, let love look for you.' "

She jokes that she has had enough and is willing to swear off men altogether.

The thing with love, Murphy says, is that it just isn't enough to keep a relationship alive. Things like money, lifestyle, outlook on life, standard of living, cultural differences, life goals all play such significant factors in maintaining a successful relationship.

As for dating?

"I only want to date someone I can see myself marrying now," she said. "It all seems like such a waste of time and energy otherwise. I have a busy schedule and I want someone worthwhile in the long run to spend my time with."

Time's a tickin'

Like so many 20-somethings these days, she's thinking about her time investment and her return on her investment. If there's no return, she says, don't invest.

It's not only women who feel time ticking away when it comes to love.

Another summer for lifelong bachelor Colin Kau means another season of being hopeful that things change.

"I just turned 40, and I feel the pressure more than ever to find that last piece of the puzzle to my life," he said. "It has been a difficult journey to reach this age. I've achieved most of my goals except finding that best friend, lover and companion. It is the most challenging goal of my life that I don't see myself really achieving."

He pictures himself as an average-looking, "short" (he's 5-feet-8) Asian man who is at a disadvantage when it comes to making a match.

"I don't fit into the 'dream-guy' mold that every woman is looking for," he said. "I find it to my disadvantage not being tall and Caucasian or black. There are even Asian women that won't date or marry an Asian guy."

Kau, a photographer who works in the Japanese tourism business, says he hasn't found women to date at work. And because he has never been into the bar or dance scene, he has been trying online dating. He questions his odds.

"But I'm a pretty persistent person, so I keep trying," he said. "I always believe that it is better to try than to always wonder, 'What if?' "

"The key to success in summer romances is keeping things light. Don't go into your first date in June thinking everyone you meet could be 'The One.' "

Lisa Daily, author of "Stop Getting Dumped"

Relax, savor the moment

Daily admires such bravery, but she warns daters not to try too hard.

Part of the appeal of a summer relationship is the relaxed attitude, she said.

Once you find someone to date, she says, turning up the heat is not the best strategy. It's better to think of a summer romance like a vacation, she said. Relax and savor the moment.

Tanya Bricking writes about relationships for The Advertiser. Reach her at tbricking@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8026.