- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Canned goods, oil lamps, bottled water and a date top the list of essentials to ring in the most hyped New Year in recorded history.

With only two days until the clock strikes midnight on the 1900s, many single Washingtonians say they are searching for adventure and hoping romance follows.

"It's going to be a date that everybody's going to remember who they're with for better or for worse," says Nancy Kirsch, senior vice president of the Washington, D.C., area's It's Just Lunch, a nationwide dating service.

Many people are making plans for New Year's earlier than ever. Expensive parties and trips require deposits and decisions, exacerbating the usual "What am I going to do on New Year's Eve?" anxiety.

Which is why Valerio Costa, 25, is trying to get to the coastal resort of Goa, India, for a 10-day dance party.

Mr. Costa, a musician, is single and not hopeful about finding someone special to fly with him for the big night.

"I'm looking for the perfect girl which is hard to find," he explains over a beer in Adams Morgan.

Whether he finds her or not, Mr. Costa plans to ring in the new millennium with a smooch.

"I'm sure I'll hook up with somebody. I don't know if it will be long term or anything, but I'm pretty confident about that," he says.

Area dating services say their numbers are up, customary for the holiday season, but they don't have hard numbers on whether the once-in-a-lifetime celebration has contributed to the increase.

"It's tough to tell," says Renee Kostick, president of Dinner at Eight. "Have people been calling me saying, 'Oh my God, I need a date'? No."

Print ads for her dinner party dating service, however, know exactly whom to target: "The millennium is just around the corner. Don't wait to get a New Year's Eve date."

"It is on everyone's mind, even though they don't want to admit it," she says.

A search through America Online's personal ads, Love@AOL, offers a look at those casting their nets in the hopes of making a catch.

A 39-year-old Hampton Roads, Va., man asks: "Where do you want to be when it hits Y2K?"

"Can't find someone in D.C.? A 31-year-old Atlanta man is available as a Y2K date," another offers.

Many have reconciled themselves to being dateless in the District.

Artist Juslaine Costanza, 28, gave up the search back in October.

"I don't have a date, and I'm sure I won't have a date by then," the Adams Morgan resident says.

She bought a round-trip ticket to Disney World, where her parents and siblings will be celebrating. She didn't want to risk being on her own because a lot of her friends are doing "the boyfriend thing."

"They don't have plans, but at least they know they are not going to be alone," she says.

And then there's always Times Square in New York City.

That's where Zander Scott, 19, an Americorps volunteer in Anacostia, will be hanging with his closest friends sans girlfriend. His main concern is keeping his buddies nearby.

As for midnight, romance could be in the air.

"Be cool if I found someone," he says. "If not, I'll just turn around and kiss someone."

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