Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rebound madness

Here's another tale of rebound lunacy. My friend Lynn, freshly separated after a long marriage, dived right into online dating and emerged with a successful psychiatrist. Steve lived in a beautiful home with a pool overlooking the beach. The chemistry was flirtatious and romantic right off the bat -- just what Lynn needed to feel sexy and back in the game -- and things quickly turned serious. Steve was a fantastic lover, and Lynn was smitten. But there were a few troubling signs. The first time she visited his house, she discovered a complete woman's wardrobe that filled one side of the master-bedroom closet. He explained that the dresses, pumps, sneakers and slacks belonged to a former girlfriend who never bothered to retrieve them. Another time, while skinny-dipping in his pool, she spotted a bikini top lying across a chaise lounge. Steve offhandedly explained that it belonged to his neighbor, who liked to use his pool. Lynn accepted that explanation, not questioning how the neighbor managed to walk home topless.

Another time a woman answered the phone when she called his house. Steve said it was his cleaning woman -- though Lynn distinctly felt that the voice didn't belong to a housekeeper. Then she found a hamper by his bedroom door, full of his freshly laundered, neatly folded clothing. And right on top, several pairs of women's panties. Again the cleaning woman! He explained that she sometimes mixed her laundry in with his.

Finally, when they were lying in his bed one night, she found a lavender thong between the sheets. He explained that the darned cleaning woman must have gotten her underwear caught in his sheets in the dryer and unwittingly made the bed with it stuck inside. Lynn was getting mighty suspicious. (It only took her eight months longer than it would the average idiot!) Still, she chose to believe him when he left town for a week to visit his sick sister, calling Lynn daily from "the hospital" to report on his sister's dire condition.

She later learned that his sister was quite healthy, and that he was actually on vacation with another woman in South Beach. And that the wardrobe in his closet, the bikini top, the panties, the lavender thong, and the voice that answered his phone all belonged to that steady girlfriend of four years. Lynn managed to contact her and compare notes: Sure enough, whenever Lynn visited Steve on weekends, he instructed her to arrive on Friday evening and leave promptly at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. And he told his girlfriend to arrive at exactly noon every Saturday. Steve had been screwing them back-to-back every weekend for the past year. To top it off, he had planned a two-week vacation for himself, inviting Lynn to join him for the first week and his girlfriend for the second. When Lynn asked him what he would do by himself for the second week, he said, "Oh, I'll read some magazines." But the girlfriends foiled his fantasy retreat by simultaneously dumping him. Apparently he really did read those magazines.

Sadly, a year later Lynn learned that the girlfriend had gone back to him. Moral of the story: (1) there's always a woman out there who's more desperate than you are, and (2)shrinks are fine for therapy, but avoid dating them.

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