Noe Valley Voice April 2000

Who Wants to Marry a Noe Valley Homeowner?

By Sue Mi Herald

The Noe Valley Library was transformed into a film set Saturday, April 1, as the Fox Network taped an episode of its wildly popular new series Who Wants to Marry a Noe Valley Homeowner?

Fifty bachelors and bachelorettes, culled from the 50,000 who had answered a "class ad" in the Noe Valley Voice, kicked off the taping by parading through the book stacks in bikinis and Speedos, as the rich homeowner sat behind a two-way mirror in the children's section.

"You don't find out whether the homeowner is a man or a woman until the end of the show," said Phineas T. Barnum, the show's emcee. "That's the ingenious thing about San Francisco -- you're not stuck with a boring old man-woman marriage. Of course, the passage of Prop. 22 did drop a fly in the ointment," he noted.

Of the homeowner, Barnum would say only that he/she is in his/her 20s, has never been married, plunked down cash for her/his house (which has two bathrooms and full-length drapes) and doesn't live with his/her mother.

The homeowner was screened from a field of 50, Barnum said, who had to open their financial records to Fox to ensure they weren't standup comedians or Gulf War veterans.

The contestants, who included at least one Voice writer, a bagger from Bell Market, and a gay youth bedding down at a Church Street homeless shelter, were asked to answer a compatibility quiz. The most thought-provoking questions were:

* Are you or have you ever been a virgin?

* If you had to choose between having a child and owning an SUV, which would you choose? Why?

* Define "large cap" and "small cap" without pointing to your head.

* Do you know how to take proper care of hardwood floors?

* Would you be happy spending a quiet evening at home rolling quarters?

* Do you prefer flies in your food, or Firefly Restaurant?

* Do renters have any right to live in Noe Valley?

The Noe Valley Mercantile Club and the Old Geezer WorkGroup rated the contestants by holding up scores from 0 to 10 or making animal noises. Meanwhile, one member from each group scurried down to City Hall to make sure all the permits were in place for the filming.

Host Barnum collected the rich homeowner's preferences, which had been scribbled on a tattered copy of Little House on the Prairie, then whittled the contestants down to five. The finalists, both male and female, changed into wedding gowns and sashayed past the homeowner, who was still obscured from view.

At that point, the proceedings were interrupted by a throng of protesters who appeared on Jersey Street holding torches and yelling, "Our power's out!!!"

But the taping was not to be deterred.

The homeowner (who still remains anonymous on the advice of his/her lawyer) then walked up to one of the finalists and proposed marriage and a joint mortgage. The Rev. Jim Pitbulski of Golden Calf Community Church was on hand to perform the nuptials, and realtor Ella Sacked immediately began escrow proceedings.

Regardless of how the market performs, the happy couple will enjoy some parting gifts from Fox -- a Tuggey's Hardware Store gift certificate, a one-hour coupon from Stepford Maid Service, valet parking at Dan's Smog and Auto Repair, a $5 credit at Sea Sneeze Cleaners, and a weeklong honeymoon stay at the Pickled Hutch.