Sunday, August 11, 2013

How to Spot a Fake... or That's Not Love

(Note from Vita: Listen to “That's Not Love” by Keb Mo: when you read this blog.)

Several years ago, I was taken in by a tall, handsome young man, a “BMC” (big man on campus), a charming, freshman Lothario.

Already, at the tender age of 19, he had his romantic routine down.

He started by playing me his favorite love songs by the Beatles: “Love Me Do,” “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You,” “If I Fell In Love with You.”

Then, late one night, he lured me into one of the softly lit parlors in the old brick 19th century building where we were housed. He lit a couple of candles and gave me a private Tarot card reading.

Hidden in the deck but easily accessible with a sleight of hand, he pulled out the Knight of Cups card. Magically, the knight in shining armor card appeared in my reading.

Surely, this was a prophesy of what was to come! Here, in the flesh, was my knight in shining armor!

Certainly, he was the one who was destined to sweep me off my feet to a life filled with magical and wondrous surprises at every turn!

Well, there were surprises at every turn, but they weren’t wondrous.

I learned he had pulled this exact same routine on my college roommate just weeks earlier. Of course, having a healthy ego, I thought that I was different. I was prettier, I was smarter. She was just a practice round. I was the real thing.

Weeks later, he was doing a late-night Tarot card reading with another dewy-eyed, unsuspecting undergrad.

It was then that the vamp in me was born. Never again, I promised myself. Never again.

When my friend Julia told me she had met “Mr. Wonderful,” I was happy for her – but a little suspicious. How long have you known him? I asked. Have you met his friends, his family, seen where he lives, verified he has a job? Does he have a criminal record? You know – the sort of basic questions a friend would ask before giving her the thumbs up.

No, she answered, but he’s met many of my friends! And he’s so talented, plays guitar, is articulate and sensitive and he’s already invited me a concert in September! This must be love!

Slow down, I said. Tell me more. And then I get the full story. The one that reminds me of my Tarot card reading long ago.

He lures her in singing and playing guitar – a wonderful rendition of Jackson Browne’s “My Stunning Mystery Companion.”

He writes her texts only days after meeting her, calling her “sweetheart,” “darling” and “mi amor.” “I can only think of you, hearing your sweet voice and envisioning your beautiful smile! I know it’s real! XOXOXO,” he texted.

But after she was taken in, the surprises begin. First there was the night they had planned to get together, but oh, he had to work late. My poor extroverted friend who lives for going out is left in the lurch, sitting. Waiting. No calls, no texts, no “mi amor.”

The following night – a repeat scenario! And then, the following week – after promising her that last week was highly unusual, there she is again, sitting. Waiting. He finally shows up – at 11:45 p.m. I can think of no other name for that except booty call.

But the next night – Friday night! Tonight will be different! She’s all excited, gets all dolled up and is anticipating a fun evening out. At the 9th hour, she gets another text. He has to work late. Again. The following day, she tries to call him. No answer. No call back. No "darling" or "sweetheart."

That night, she went to the concert they had bought tickets for alone.

Stood up. Times five. She finally got the message. And it didn’t have “XOXOXO” at the end of it.

He’s now playing “My Stunning Mystery Companion” to another woman. I can hear it now, off in the distance.

And my college Lothario is probably doing a Tarot card reading for another woman somewhere.

So how do you spot a fake?

By the fact that he has a romantic routine. And he's got it down pat.

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