This post originally appeared on RoleReboot and has been republished here with full permission.
One guy told her she needed to lose 40 pounds. Another said he just wanted to ‘give an older woman a try.’ And another said she had too much baggage.
He told her he loved the way they could talk for hours about everything under the sun: Obama’s second-term trials, whether gluten-free diets were a food-company ruse, Robin Williams’ tragic end. Her four kids and his three. Her one long marriage; his two fairly short ones. What had gone right, and what had gone terribly wrong in their previous lives. Nothing was off-limits.
He took her hand in the movie theater, shared his popcorn, and let her bury her face against his shoulder during the violent parts. He cooked her exquisite dinners in his large, open kitchen and poured the perfect Chardonnay or Pinot Noir to go with them. He held her close in bed after they made love, in that space where people feel safest and most vulnerable at the same time. He stroked her hair and whispered that she was beautiful.
Then one morning when they were getting dressed, he sat down beside her, looked into her eyes, and said this: “You and I have something really special together. If you lost 40 pounds, I think we might have a shot at going the distance.” His words landed on her ears like a needle skittering across a vinyl record on an old turntable. There was shock, then dissonance, then pain.
We’ll call him Boorish Bob. But there were others—Ill-Mannered Al, Fetish Frank, Critical Ken, Asshole Art—all gleaned from promising profiles on an Internet dating site Sue started visiting after her divorce from Cheating Chet became final.