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Dean Winters. If you’re a fan of “30 Rock” you may know him as Tina Fey’s on-screen ex-boyfriend – although I have inside information that the ‘ex-boyfriend’ will be back and may even be the cause of Tina Fay’s character Liz Lemon to have a pregnancy scare near the end of the season. Dean is also doing double-duty with a role on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and is a veteran of “Oz,” the prison drama I used to watch marathon-style when I stayed up late at home visiting my parents.

I recently met Dean when we were both asked to be judges for a karaoke night at Angels & Kings, the East Village bar owned by Crush Management bands including Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes. Dean wore his signature leather jacket and brought a bubbly blond. We all sat on stage together and they made out a lot. They kissed, held hands and seemed completely in sync with each other. A few days later Dean and his girlfriend, whose name I learned was Dara Young, who among other things designs a clothing line with Michelle Rodriguez, came along on Virgin America’s inaugural launch of their San Francisco to San Diego route and the celebratory party at The Ivy in San Diego.

We spent a lot of time together those couple of days – from the 7am bus ride to the airport to choosing a rental car to get to the hotel – having to accommodate Dara’s six pieces of leopard-print luggage and Dean’s disdain for white cars, it was a bit of a feat. Through it Dean and Dara were again very affectionate and in tune with each other. Although we all got along grandly, and Dara is actually younger than me, I flip-flopped between feeling like a friend, to the third wheel, to the kid. When Dara went out to scope cars at the rental lot with Dean looking after her wistfully I asked him how long they’ve been together. He thought about it for a minute and said, “Seven weeks.” When picking a car the one Dara wanted was white. After obvious anxiety over the decision Dean said OK, then added, “What Dara wants, Dara gets.” But Dara didn’t want what Dean didn’t want and they ended up with a black SUV. 

To the outside observer, they certainly seem in love.  I guess sometimes when you know, you just know. You don’t need seven years to fall in love, or seven months – sometimes it only takes seven weeks, or maybe there’s something to love at first sight after all and you can know in the first seven minutes. Being a hopeless romantic at heart I’d like to think so.

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