To love and date in a small town |

To love and date in a small town

April in Glenwood
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April E. Clark

There’s a saying in the Roaring Fork Valley that when a couple breaks up, a guy doesn’t lose his girlfriend. He loses his turn.

That creates a lovely mental image for my mother.

I’ve given this highly insensitive saying some thought. Maybe it’s time for the women of the valley to create their own mantra. Something like, “I am woman, hear me roar.” Without the bra burning.

Those little, or big, suckers – especially of the Victoria’s Secret variety – are way too pricey to be set on fire.

Just think, next time a girlfriend goes through a break-up, I can spout clever sayings like, “Don’t worry, you didn’t lose a boyfriend. You lost a Dutch dinner date.”

How about, “You didn’t lose a boyfriend. You lost a beer pong partner.”

Or, “You didn’t lose a boyfriend. You lost a sick iPod play list.”

But any sensitive woman knows love and loss is not that easy. Unless the boyfriend was actually considered a turn.

Then she probably doesn’t mind that it’s up.

The difficult thing about living in this valley is that after, and sometimes during, a break-up, the perpetual running-into-the-ex will happen. There’s no if it’s going to happen.

It’s when it’s going to happen.

Take that awkwardness to the next level when an ex – who surely would never get over you that quickly – is on a date with someone new. Oh, the humanity. Oh the thank God I’m not having a bad hair day. Oh the can I just crawl in a hole and die?

With a similar experience recently occurring in my life, I’ve made a decision. Keep in mind this conclusion did not come without a group of funny and supportive friends who are masters at boosting my self-confidence.

And a few shots of Patron.

I decided that in a situation that’s otherwise awkward or embarrassing, I’ll just come right out and introduce myself. Like my favorite saying from one of my favorite movies, “Animal House.”

“Hi, Eric Stratton, rush chairman, damn glad to meet you.”

Except I could be like, “Hi, April Clark, social chair, damn glad to meet you.”

This way I’ll designate who lost their turn in the whole breaking-up-in-small-town thing. With nearly 9,000 people in Glenwood Springs, the scenario of bumping into exes seems unlikely. But it’s a small valley – another famous saying around here – and it’s not if it’s going to happen.

It’s when.

I believe it was Rodney King who suggested, way back in 1991, that we all just get along. Sound advice, Rodney King. Hey, that’s about the only choice the dating set in this valley have if they want to cohabitate in this place where two rivers converge. Whether it’s Summer of Jazz, Mountain Fair, Sunlight or a random house party, there will be a physical reminder of love lost. We all just have to grin and bear it. And remember, at one point there was a lot of love between you and that ex. Or maybe there wasn’t much love at all, hence the dissolution.

My parents have been married for well over three decades, but that doesn’t mean I’ve figured it out.

Also remember that at one point in time there was a connection strong enough to bring the two of you together in passionate French-kissing sessions and late-night dance-offs. Pretending he or she isn’t sitting 10 feet away, sharing a Bloomin’ Onion with a replacement, won’t help the hurt feelings. I say life is too short, and money’s too tight, for awkward dining experiences in 2010. Just be nice, and the rest will all work itself out in the end. I speak from experience.

And I didn’t even have to burn my bra to realize it.

April E. Clark is damn glad to meet you. She can be reached at

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