It has been years since I've answered an ad in the Women Seeking Women section of anything. It's been years since I've needed to; my partner and I celebrated a decade together in May.
But let's face it: Sometimes a woman has needs, and there are times when the partner just doesn't have that special something, that missing piece, that je ne sais quoi. Except I do sais quoi. In my case, it came down to four words: Paul McCartney concert ticket.
I love Paul McCartney. I have been deeply, madly, irrationally in love with Paul McCartney since not long after the morning of Dec. 9, 1980, when I woke up and learned that John Lennon had died the night before. ''Who's John Lennon?'' I asked my older, wiser, smugger brother, who had come out of his bedroom to deliver the news.
''Only a member of the greatest rock 'n' roll band ever,'' he told me, incredulous at my stupidity.
We were both used to him being smarter than me -- this was the guy who'd patiently explained the Civil War to me when I was having an ''I'm not ready for this!'' meltdown before entering fifth grade.
So I asked my older, wiser, smugger brother, ''What band is that?''
He was no stranger to sisterly beatings, but this time he administered punishment with his eyes and tone of voice. ''The Beatles,'' he told me. He made absolutely no effort to disguise his disgust at my complete lack of cultural savvy.
John Lennon's death triggered a wave of Beatlemania in my household, beginning with my brother, whose sudden obsession was contagious. I would look at the album covers and listen to the songs and it became clear that Paul was the Beatle for me. He was so cute. He sang lead on many of the band's best songs. He was goofy and sweet and cute. Did I mention cute? As it happened, Paul also had a prolific post-Beatles discography by that time -- fortunately, I wasn't drawn to Ringo.
In the wake of John's murder, there was no lack of information about the Beatles. I had no difficulty finding photos of the boys in their suits, smiling at me from 1964. I was able to watch them age and sprout facial hair before my eyes, as easily as I flipped the pages of a special edition, in-memoriam issue of any given magazine.
So, Paul and I fell in deep, mad, irrational, unrequited love. Naturally this leads to me answering a Women Seeking Women personal ad. Is the path not clear as day? As plain as the nose on Ringo's face?
I last beheld Paul in concert in 1990 at a football stadium in Ames, Iowa. My father was in the supercool habit of buying a couple of extra tickets for his kids when big-name rock shows passed through town. So the first time I saw Paul live, it cost me the price of gas to drive to my dad's house.
In 2002, Paul came to Washington and it crossed my mind to try to go to the show. Ticket prices were, I thought, out of control, so I let the opportunity pass. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but the fates brought him back to town at a point in my life when I had more disposable income and less sanity.
I missed the Ticketmaster frenzy to acquire face-value entry to his concert, and my conviction that he would add another date in D.C. proved na´ve. So I put the event mostly out of my mind until approximately five days before the concert, at which point I became obsessed. I scoured Craigslist, which is where I found a post in the Women Seeking Women section -- some unlucky-in-love soul who had an extra floor ticket to see McCartney and was looking for an attractive female companion for the event.
This was a step up from the ''casual encounters'' post from a man who had an extra ticket and was willing to share it in exchange for hot sex after the concert. My partner was not that supportive of my McCartney jones, not even when I explained that I could potentially get both free admission to McCartney and a free baby out of the deal.
So I e-mailed the WSW and told her I am not single and thus unavailable for anything more than a fun night at a concert. But, I said, I'd pay for the ticket.
She wrote back with a most flattering reply, simply copying the last several paragraphs of my most recent Metro Weekly column. A fan! A fan of my column was holding a spare McCartney floor ticket! I was tickled and convinced that I was a shoo-in.
She turned out to be a guy named Dave who'd just googled me off the name on my e-mail. Dave wanted a photo of me, adding, ''perhaps even a photo of you and your significant other.'' Major creepsville. I declined. After some heartache over unsuccessful eBay bids, I found a nice man who was attending the concert with his family; he had a spare ticket in section 224, and I made the best offer.
I paid more money than I've ever paid for a concert, and more than I ever will again, I imagine, but I did not risk my relationship or my dignity. Paul rocked the house and performed for nearly three hours, making him a bargain compared to what I pay my therapist. And I knew with all of my heart that when he sang ''Maybe I'm Amazed,'' he sang it just for me.
Kristina Campbell is Paul McCartney's biggest fan, but even she has limits. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.