- Harry was kicked off the wrestling team for achieving straight D’s. He loved me to the exclusion of everyone, including his mother, whom he referred to as "The Witch." Harry gave me a bracelet engraved HOLLAND, for Hope Our Love Lasts And Never Dies. It died.
- Larry the first sang like Frank Sinatra. Warning sign: He forced me to bow out of a clam-eating contest. I would have won, and that embarrassed him. Never love a man who feels embarrassed by you.
- Larry II was a coup de foudre. I’d never seen a more beautiful man in my life. On our second date, we declared our eternal love. I broke up with him, but I still dream about him.
- Arthur looked like Robert Mitchum. Robert Mitchum is the best-looking man who ever lived, except for Larry II. Looking like Robert Mitchum, alas, is hardly enough to sustain a relationship. Eventually, I would outgrow falling in love with beauty. Proof: My first husband had a head like a praying mantis.
- Larry III was sweet. Too sweet. He proposed to me at Pete’s Tavern on Irving Place. I was taken aback. He was a between-boyfriends boyfriend. I’m not happy about breaking his heart. Rarely have I been so misunderstood.
- Larry IV and I were engaged for 12 hours. The next morning I opened my eyes, looked at a perfect sky and thought, oh, no! I’m engaged to Larry? He became a salesman, like his father, and never had children. After reading a story I wrote for Playboy, he called me, wickedly sarcastic as ever.
- Jonathan was an editor. I thought I loved him. When I told him I was going to visit my parents in the country, he got red in the face and spat: "Great Neck is not the country. Great Neck is the suburbs." The man was a human minefield.
- Jerry helped me put Con-Tact paper on the slanty walls of my first apartment. He was a lawyer and five-foot-two. Despite our five-inch gap, we were insane about each other. Short men grab your elbow and steer you across the street. He made me feel like Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita.
- Sam. Sam, darling. Sam, sweetheart and best friend. Why did you have to be an accountant after hours? Why did you have to ask the waiter, "How many shrimp in the shrimp cocktail?" and "Is the salad extra, or does it come with the meal?" Yet you took me to Florida when I got a cold. Sam, if you’re reading this, call me.
- And last of all, Jon. Oh. My. God. Bald, poor, self-victimizing, a drama king, and none of it mattered. Do not trust pure animal lust. Go with it if you must (there’s a choice?), feel lucky you’ve had it — but know it has the shelf life of arugula.
Patricia Volk’s most recent book is the novel To My Dearest Friends. She is currently dating up a storm.
Originally published in MORE magazine, April 2008.
Single? Check out MORE Dating here.