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Monitor readers share their dating sagas

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There are few pursuits in life like the pursuit of romance. In honor of Valentine's Day, we asked Monitor readers to share some of their best - and worst - dates. Due to the volume of letters, we are able to publish only an edited sampling. But clearly, Cupid's arrow strikes - or goes astray - when we least expect it.

Key ring to my heart One day, I returned from lunch to my job at a nursery and met a man who stood out to me as the most handsome customer I'd ever assisted. We chatted briefly as I helped him load compost into his truck, quickly discovering many common interests. Uncharacteristically for both of us, we agreed to get to know each other better over dinner the next evening.

When I got off work the next day, I hadn't had enough time to change out of my dirty work clothes before he came to pick me up. Normally I'd have felt embarrassed by my appearance for a first date, but I just chuckled to myself that I felt so comfortable with this man.

We went to a nearby beach to take in the last rays of light before going to dinner and could not have planned more romantic surroundings. We strolled along the water's edge while a stunning sunset painted enormous brush strokes of pinks and orange across the sky.

That night at the restaurant, they were giving out little plastic heart-shaped key rings to commemorate Valentine's Day, an observance that had previously held little significance for either of us.

We both still have those little heart key rings; my husband's is still on the dashboard of his truck, where he put his that night, four years ago. - Jennifer Iams-McGuire

Got the ex-boyfriend blues I was a senior in high school, on a first date with a girl I really liked. No need to identify her. Let's just call her Medusa.

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