There are good old boyfriends whom you remember fondly and who are still friends (Harpo) and there are old boyfriends who really make you appreciate your husband.
Gomez falls into the second category. I met him the first time I went to Morocco to visit Steve and Megan, which was in August of 2005. We went out a few times and there were red flags all over the place and I ignored them because he was super rich, had a PhD in economics, was smart, interesting and sophisticated and moderately good looking. But I was an eediot.
We carried on an email and phone romance for a few months, then met in Paris for a week in October. He drank a bottle of wine at lunch every day, changed into his Frette (some fancy brand I had never heard of) pajamas, and took a four-hour nap, even though I kept saying, "Let's go to Chartres! Let's go to Versailles! Let's go to a cafe on the Champs and sip chocolate chaud! Let's go to anywhere!" His answer was always Oh, I've been there. Except for The Gap. We went there three times.
We also went to the Rue Honore. (I think that's it -- the ridiculously expensive shopping place.) He bought a sports coat for $1200. Cash. That is as much as I paid for my first car. Then we went to the Ferrari dealer.
If you're reading this again, yeah, I'm posting more stuff. I do that sometimes. One of his big missions was to prove that his ex-wife was Jewish. Why, I don't know, but it bugged the heck out of me. That was the beginning of the end. We spent an entire afternoon walking to the Maronite Catholic Church (I think that was it -- I don't really keep up with these things -- the Roman one is enough for me) in the Latin Quarter so he could find out if his ex's last name was really one typical of a Maronite. No, he couldn't look it up on the internet. Why? Oh, because even though he was only one of 16 people to get his PhD out of 300 who started in his program, he didn't get the internet.
So we have to walk three miles, which in Paris means two hours, because I am wearing shoes that look good, to get to this church and also because he's not sure where we are going and even though he's a gajillionaire, he won't pay for a cab. But he has to know if the ex (with whom I am starting to sympathize) is Jewish. I mean, really. Obsess much? And this from a guy who kept telling me that the Israeli ambassador lived next door to him.
When I returned to the States, he kept asking me to get his ex's birth certificate (she was American) to find out if she was Jewish. I asked why the heck he cared. He wanted to be sure his son wasn't Jewish. I asked why that mattered. I am having nothing to do with this, I told him, thinking good grief, what a jerk -- anti-semite, alcoholic, cheap, rude, inconsiderate. Does he kick puppies, too?
The next weekend, I met SH and it was really all over with Gomez, which is not his real name. His real name is Anouar, and he is a lousy kisser. I mean, really, really bad. SH, on the other hand. All's I can say about that is remember Revenge of the Nerds?
When he went to college, his mother sent him away from Rabat to Paris with a Mercedes and a servant. He has never had to work for a living. He has always worked as a hobby. He is absolutely clueless about what life is like for ordinary people, like me. It never would have worked.
In the evening, he wanted to stay in, eat romaine lettuce (wait! no! it was endive!) with light dressing, and watch racing on TV. He did not want to go out to eat.
We were in Paris, people. The one time we went out to supper, it was with two friends of his. We went to a smoky (duh) restaurant and I'm all vive le France and if you don't like cigarette smoke, don't go where there is smoke, but I was gagging. The couple at the table next to us -- as in, 12" away, or 0.3048 meters -- smoked an entire pack of cigarettes before dessert. None of this would have been so bad if I had had some kind of distraction, like, you know, participating in the conversation, but although Gomez and his friends all spoke English, they decided they would prefer to speak French because it was easier for them. Perhaps in France, this is not considered rude. I speak OK French, but I am not fluent and certainly not fluent enough to keep up with three native speakers in a loud restaurant.
These are the famous red shoes. Not made for walking for sure. But they turned out to be my lucky shoes because I was wearing them when I met SH for the first time.
Then they drove us back to where we were staying. They offered to take us all the way, but Gomez insisted they drop us at the big circle two blocks from the apartment. "I'm wearing very high heels [the Red Shoes]," I whispered to Gomez. "Tell them yes!" But he told them no, no, here was fine, even though they kept saying they would take us the two blocks further. The two cobbled, uphill blocks.
By the time the trip was over, it was pretty clear that Gomez had never had to work to win the affections of a woman. His wealth and position had done the work for him. He was no competition for the fabulous SH.