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Ryn: Our night to howl

When romance calls, just step out: Hot spots beckon Tucson lovers

Virginia may be for lovers and Paris may be for lovers with money, but that doesn’t mean Tucson doesn’t have its share of romantic hot spots.

A sultry evening saunter beneath the desert’s full moon, replete with the sweet soulful songs of the coyote howls, is just one prime example.

There are many more. Tucson is rife with great date locations, for Valentine’s or any ol’ day.

Sabino Canyon rocks, and not just because it’s filled with them.

Taking a date on the canyon trails tests the dude’s stamina, climbing abilities and if he looks dumb with a farmer’s tan.

You’ll also get to check out his reaction to unexpected circumstances, like getting confused on the way to Phoneline Trail or his reaction to crossing a 2-inch-deep stream.

My date nearly lost his balance, and his sock went floating down the waterway.

Hiking dates also let you see if your partner prepares in advance, thinking of things like wearing sunscreen or bringing along pumpkin-flavored trail mix.

Trail mix will also work for wooing a date at the drive-in. DeAnza on Alvernon Way is still open, at least for now, and makes for a spectacular place to take in a movie while chomping on the stuff.

A real good date will have also thought to bring pillows, cold pizza and, so you can prop your feet on the dash, a pair of warm fuzzy socks. Unless, of course, that was one of the socks that went floating downstream.

Drive-in dates also allow you to gauge how the guy reacts to horror – not necessarily from the movie, but from the pot-holed parking lot that feels like it’s ripping out the bottom of the car.

If riding around is your thing, a bicycle jaunt along the Rillito path may also spin your wheels.

My co-worker tells me there are lots of secluded spots with benches where you can sit around necking.

Bike rides allow you to check out your date’s considerate side, like if he slows down to let you catch up or leaves you in the dust near North Swan Road.

You’ll also know if he looks dorky in a helmet, or if he’s “too cool” to wear one and would rather have his skull crashed in.

A bike ride will also disclose if he protects you from joggers, dog walkers and roller-bladers or if he swerves to avoid them and knocks you clear into a patch of prickly pear.

Just don’t bike or walk near the Rillito at night, as vagabonds have been increasingly sleeping out there. One dude even pitched a tent.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, is another happening date place. Here, you learn lessons from all the critters on how to treat those dear to you.

Like the little loyal javelina. When they are not busy attacking Dutch tourists, javelina roam about in packs of as many as 50, looking out for each other’s razor-haired backs.

Some lizards, too, take great pains to impress their loved ones. They’ll perform elaborate romantic dances, which scientists call mating rituals, that make the tango look tame.

Bearded dragons, for instance, will huff and puff their cheeks into contorted, unnatural shapes. If that doesn’t scream of romance, then nothing ever really will.

Well, the St. Valentine’s Day Comedy Massacre just might. This hilarious show is set for 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Laffs Comedy Caffé, 2900 E. Broadway.

Here, you can gauge your date’s reaction to a trio of female comics, including emcee Lorrie Brownstone, a chick who happens to find roadkill funny.

“If I don’t have to eat it, it’s OK,” she said. Look closely to see if your date begins to cringe.

If he keeps his chin up through the Valentine’s Massacre, the dog-filled bike ride, the pot-holed drive-in and the Sabino Canyon experience of losing a sock, you know you’ve got a keeper.

So go celebrate your perfect romance with a sultry evening saunter beneath the desert’s full moon, replete with the sweet, soulful songs of the coyote howls.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist and Tucson Citizen reporter who hopes whatever her next date may be it includes pumpkin trail mix and warm, fuzzy socks. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. E-mail job leads and comments to rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

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