Some of us are fools for love, and I guess I'm one of them. I've been around the block (more like around the world, and then some), so stuff happens.
In honor of the silly spring day which gives us welcome pause to reflect on the absurdities of life, and maybe smile a bit, I've composed a foolish quiz. Some of these next seven statements about my relationships are true. Can you guess which?
1. A man I dated was a popular, much-respected expert on kindness and empathy, and had none at all.
2. I was married to a man 20 minutes after meeting him.
3. I was invited to sleep over at a man's house on a second date, by his secretary.
4. The most romantic relationship I had in years was with a man I never met.
5. I was put on trial by a significant other's former wife for living with him and for no other reason, and she drowned after the trial, in a riptide.
6. The last person I connected with is 25 years younger.
7. Some of the above statements are false.
1. His book was published by a prestigious press, but the brilliant man was totally involved with his own needs and feelings. When I wouldn't acquiesce to all of his extreme wishes, including sleeping in a certain position all night, wearing his choice of clothes, telling him I loved him from the second date, and doing things I had no interest in, he threw fits, and had no idea why I wouldn't conform to his demands or why he was a turn-off. This went on until I wised up, closed the door, and threw his book on empathy after him.
2. I was chosen from the audience to join a group of folk dancers performing in Malawi, Africa. One of the dancers sat me down and danced around me. He made gestures, I made them back. He smiled, I smiled back. He swung me around and wiggled his hands and I wiggled my hands. People started to laugh and clap. When the dance was over, I asked a local woman what happened. "Your name is now Ngunda," she said. "You two are now married." I never saw him again. He never calls, he never writes. Men.
3. A publisher of racy magazines was a perfect gentleman on our one date. I was curious, but never interested. He got the best seats in a hard-to-get-into restaurant, last minute, and had well-dressed men come by the table thanking him for their pleasure. Okay. The next day his secretary called and asked if I'd like to come to his house in another state for a second date. He would arrive later in the week. I said "no thank you." And then he got on the line, and I said "no thank you," again. Men.
4. See my previous post, My Funny Valentine. We gave incredibly romantic email and phone.
5. My Significant Other's ex found an old state law about cohabiting with a non-married person, and sat me before a judge, even though I had nothing to do with the breakup. I had to defend myself for simply living with this proper businessman for several years. There were lawyers, cross-examinations, the works. I pretended I was Joan Crawford in an old movie about a maligned woman and did fine. This was the last exercise in futility for this woman, who had wasted years seeking revenge. Soon after the trial she drowned in a freak riptide. That awful incident reminded me to get on with things and not dwell with past hurts. My relationship with the businessman ended. He married a manicurist.
6. If I were a guy with a 25-year-younger partner, no one would doubt it. But yes, (see Up from Antarctica...) it's true. And he's extremely legal, which gives you some idea of how old I am. The situation was unusual, and a fling, not a relationship. But it was a real connection, and we both gained from it, and still communicate. When I was younger I'd seek out older, powerful men, and I felt safe. Now, I tend to date younger men, and feel stronger. Who knew?
7. That's the only false statement. Yes, things happen when you're single for many years, and some of them are fascinating. And foolish.
Lea is founder/editor of the lifestyle Website www.sololady.com and author of Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips (Fodor's).