I'VE STARTED calling La-

Veta "Cupid," primarily because she's always looking to help someone make a love connection.

Last week, she sat down with two people over 80 years old, trying to get them to exchange numbers. They didn't, but they agreed that they would go out on a date - if we went with them.

I'll go, of course, because I know and like them both, and I think it'll be fun to be a chaperone. But this is an aberration for me, because like most men, I prefer to stay out of other peoples' love lives. The reason is simple. If I hook a friend up with a woman I thought was Perky Patty, and she turns out to be Crazy Chrissy, I don't want him blaming me when she sets his house on fire.

It's not that I don't believe in the power of love. It's just that when I think of introducing people, I always imagine getting a phone call like this one:

"Yo, Sol, I'm gonna need you to come over here and get this chick you introduced to me. She's in the back yard howling at the moon."

"But, but - "

"Hurry up, man! She just bit my dog, and now she's coming after me!"

"But, but - "

"She's got matches!"

I don't want to put my friends through that, and I don't want to have to testify when the whole thing goes to court. That's why I tend to let people find their own relationships. Well, that and the fact that my prior experiences with matchmaking have been awful.

The last time someone introduced me to a woman, she was professional and successful and seemed really normal. Then she snatched off her mask and there was a crazy woman underneath. I managed to get away before the howling began, and when I met and married LaVeta, I thought my matchmaking experience was over.

I was wrong.

A few years into our marriage, LaVeta was working as an associate producer on a nationally televised dating show. She asked me to be a matchmaker for a female friend and a guy we knew. They both went to our church, and their televised date seemed to turn out nicely. After the show aired, we learned that the guy was secretly dating someone else at church. The other chick later confronted my friend between the sermon and the offering, and the incident went down in Jones family lore as "the meeting in the ladies room."

Those experiences, along with my own warped imagination, have forever soured me on matchmaking. But LaVeta -

incurable romantic that she is - has not given up, primarily because she was once successful at matchmaking . . . during the Reagan years.

Back in the '80s, she was volunteering on a political campaign, and she met a young lady whom she thought would be a good match for her cousin. She brought the two of them together at the young woman's house, sat down with them while they talked, then told them to exchange numbers. The couple has been married for 19 years. They have a kid and a dog. They're happy. That one success has convinced LaVeta that she can do it again, despite the fact that her personal experiences with being matched have failed.

Perhaps LaVeta has forgotten about the guy her friend introduced her to whose butt was bigger than her own, and the one who came with the disclaimer that he was "not attractive." But I remember every single story she's told me, and I remind her every once in a while when she starts complaining about me.

As much as I hate to admit it, it's good to see that my wife wants other couples to be as happy as we are. In my own way, I do too. I just don't want to be there when one of them starts howling at the moon.

Solomon Jones' column appears every Saturday. He can be reached at