The night before El Wimpo broke up with me by e-mail, we were steaming up the bedroom windows with our passion.

By Salon Staff

Published September 17, 2003 8:00AM (EDT)

No naked lunch

I had just moved to a new city for a reporting job. "C" approached me at a political event and introduced herself as a campaign official for one of the front-runners in an upcoming race. We exchanged cards, and she suggested we get together sometime to talk news and politics. She was attractive, and I hadn't met many people outside of the newsroom, so I said, "Yeah, that would be nice."

She called me a couple of days later and invited me to lunch. When I picked her up, she asked, in this low, sultry voice, "So, is this business or pleasure?" I said, "Well, you invited me, so..." She didn't respond to my shrug.

At the restaurant, before the food even arrived she told me about a serious health scare she had just survived; about a savage murder that had taken place in her family; about one of her sibling's legal troubles (unrelated to the murder).

All of this on a first date. Lunch, even!

While we ate, she took a card out of her purse, wrote something on it, and slid it across the table to me. It was a man's name and a phone number. "That's the name of a barber that I know," she said.

I took it she didn't like my haircut?

When I dropped her back off at work, she put her hand on my thigh and held it there. "We're going to have to take you shopping and get you some decent pants," she said.

Several weeks later, she called me from the road to say that she had just talked to her male roommate, who told her that their phone bill was past due and their service was about to be cut off. She wanted to know if I would drive to their apartment, pick up the bill from him, and go to the office to pay it. I told her I wasn't comfortable doing that. I never heard from her again.

-- Cam Anders

Live by the sword, die by the sword

It was so apt: I got dumped via e-mail. Our relationship had started out through an online dating service, after all, so it was appropriate to end it electronically as well. Never mind that we'd gone on countless face-to-face dates over a period of two months, including four dinners, two lunches, two breakfasts, seven movies, four steamy sleepovers, and even one Episcopalian church Communion service. Why muddy the waters by explaining feelings in person or on the phone, when a simple blunt e-mail will do the trick? I could almost hear him saying, after he clicked Send, "There, that's done. Now I can go on my afternoon-routine bike ride without guilt."

I had no inkling this was coming. Things had been on an upswing, actually. We'd been spending more and more time together, planning future dates, even a weekend romantic getaway to Cape May in early October and, later in the month, a visit to his alma mater for a college reunion. I'd accepted both invitations gladly. I'd rearranged plans for one of my daughters' birthday parties for the Cape May trip, sweeping aside mild feelings of guilt.

The "Dear So-and-So" e-mail -- at least the one I got, in which the person doing the breaking up deprecates himself, puts the other person on a pedestal, and then effectively states that the dumpee deserves better -- is frustrating and demoralizing. "I won't be calling on you anymore," my dumpster wrote. "Much respect and love, Dodohead." OK, he didn't really sign it "Dodohead," but that's the name I'll forever remember him by because he ended our relationship in this cowardly way. The night before the breakup e-mail arrived, old Dodohead and I had been steaming up the bedroom windows with our passion. I probably read too much into things like that. Well, I won't be making that mistake again real soon. But I will make it again <insert "LOL" and a smiley face here>. And to think I'd made my Hotmail password his last name so I would remember it always. I quickly changed it to "anuther1biteS" and felt a little bit better.

-- Ann Houska

The drive-by

Too many times we catch the eye of a stranger and for one perfect moment the rest of the world ceases to exist. Often we keep walking down the sidewalk, boarding the bus or train, or driving down the road, never to know what might have been.

Not this time, babe.

I am a 6-foot-tall blonde; unless I'm walking down the street in Amsterdam I rarely blend into a crowd. On an average night out in a small Southern town, when I look like hell, people notice, but when I look good, people notice that too. This night, I was looking good: a sexy strapless black top, sparkly skirt and sleek strappy black heels. A sparkling choker around my neck, and dangling earrings. The works.

As I was driving down the highway toward downtown, I saw a white BMW merging into traffic, so I shifted lanes and let the driver onto the road. I passed the vehicle and slipped back into the right lane without a glance in his direction; but I was totally unprepared for how strikingly handsome the other driver would be when he passed me on my side. Our eyes connected and we smiled at each other and I felt myself flush bright-Merlot red.

With the flow of traffic we passed each other several more times, smiling, then laughing flirtatiously. As downtown grew near and the speed limit slowed to 35 mph, I realized that we would likely be heading in different directions soon.

At the first stoplight I ended up behind the BMW. I contemplated following the handsome driver, but that could end in disappointment too. I didn't want to miss this opportunity so instead I pulled into the empty left-hand turning lane beside him and rolled down my window.

"I thought you were going straight," he said, and I shrugged.

"No, left," I replied. "I'm going to the Friday night jazz session on Main Street."

He said he'd follow me a few blocks to a stopping place and I agreed. I tried to park, but realized I was in a no-parking zone, and proceeded a couple more blocks to a parking garage, where I pulled into the wrong entrance and stopped in front of a barricade marked "Reserved." So much for looking suave.

We exchanged numbers. Sure enough, he called me the next day and invited me to breakfast -- at his home. I said yes, which was, let's face it, stupid.

But sometimes it pays to be stupid. Breakfast was beautiful: He cooked eggs with ham and tomatoes and served it with Brie and French bread, fresh coffee and orange juice, and strawberries and grapes. We ate on his back porch with flowers growing all around us and birds singing in the trees.

Since then he's taken me dancing, he's taken me swimming, he's taken me out, and I'm not sure where he --- or this relationship -- is going to take me next, but at least when I think about the handsome man from the highway, I won't have to wonder, "What if?"

-- Amber

Salon Staff

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