We all know one. The woman who collects men like other people collect salt and pepper shakers or old teapots or odd nicknames. I have a friend who is cooler than a julep and sweeter than sugar cane. She attracts men like fruit tea attracts flies. She’s had more husbands than Paris Hilton has party dresses for housepets. At a time of life when I’m shying away from getting a dog with a long life span, Raelynne’s going through suitors like a paring knife through parboiled potatoes. She’s met the perfect man. Seven times.
"I’m cutting my losers,” Raelynne fumed as she strode into my kitchen bright and early one spring afternoon. Raelynne rarely rises before noon on the weekends except in cases of extreme emergency such as news that Brad Pitt is filming nude scenes next door. She nestled into my kitchen chair like it was a vat of warm chocolate.
“You mean your losses?” I asked, pulling up a stool. If she’s up and around at lunchtime on a Saturday, there’s probably a story worth making coffee for. I popped a roast into the oven, set the timer for four o’clock, poured myself a cup of Maxwell House, and settled in to listen.
“No, when I say losers, I mean losers. I’ve reviewed my list of current relationships and found there are individuals there who no longer offer any value-added services.”
"Value-added? Sounds like romance is dead. Who's been voted off the island?”
“There's Lance,” She poured a cup of coffee from the pot and stirred in an ice cube. Raelynne says life is too short to wait for coffee to cool. “I asked him to stop by Oscar’s and bring deli sandwiches with him when he came over to do that flower bed under the living room window yesterday. Don’t you know he took so long trying to decide what kind of bread to get, he only had time to do half the flowers before dark. And to top it off, he brought pumpernickel.”
“So let Lance shop some other bakery for his hard rolls. Who else?”
“Well, there’s Sam. He’s a dear, but he's a stripper. I keep finding one dollar bills in the strangest places.”
“So much for Sam and his singles. What ever happened to Steve?”
“Oh. Steve. Well. . .” She paused and traced the ivy design on her coffee cup with one newly purchased Raspberry Rose fingernail. “I’m afraid he had a character flaw I just couldn’t deal with.”
“What was that?” I asked, spreading strawberry jam on an English muffin.
“He was in love with me. He kept asking me to marry him. I finally ran out of excuses, so he had to go.”
“But I thought you cared about him.”
“Best man for growing roses I ever met. Vacuumed my house every Tuesday, took out the garbage every weekend, and never raised the lid on the toilet that he didn’t wipe under the rim before he put it down.”
“Sounds like love to me. Why didn’t you marry him?”
“My dear girl,” Raelynne looked shocked. “What would I have told all the others?”
I thought about my own Romeo. He’s put up with a lot more than bad bread and garbage duty over the years.
Romance isn’t dead. It’s just making the rounds.