Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002, 12:36 AM

Love for sale

Love is a commodity. It is sold on street corners. It places ads in the newspaper. It is available by phone from the girl on TV who is always waiting breathlessly for your call. It resides in the servers of a hundred on-line dating services, usually accompanied by pictures. It's too frequently traded in for a newer or racier model.

It seems that love doesn't have the staying power that it once had. It seems that it is all confused in the minds of people (I refer specifically to Americans, but I believe it can be generalized) today. It seems that love now cares about how much money you make, how upwardly mobile you are, how cut your abs look and how fashionable the clothes that hang from you necessarily muscular frame. It all seems so yuppie again.

It seems that religion is less and less likely to hold sway over the younger generations; a force coupled with societal view that kept people in relationships in past generations. Maybe it was a force stronger than love.

Well, perhaps we are not progressing, but regressing back to a more animalistic Darwinian state. Why not choose the mate with the best and brightest plumage, or the thickest and darkest mane, or the rosiest baboon ass? It just means that we will continue to propagate the same style of creature, slowly losing our sense of individuality. But, hey, it's not all bad, right? I mean who doesn't want to live in a society of prom queens and star quarterbacks?