I thought I was dating the Prince. But he was the Scoundrel

I thought I was dating the Prince. But he was the Scoundrel
(Louisa Bertman / For The Times)

While mother's telling you to hold out for the Prince on a white stallion, there are plenty of chances for the Scoundrel to make his moves.

The Scoundrel knows the lines. He knows how to kiss your mother's hand and might even bring her flowers. The Scoundrel can't be caught in a lie, because his stories are filled with enough adventure to take doubt out of the question.


The more he talks, the more you listen. Your eyes, larger than saucers, hang on every morsel of his entertaining vibe while your lips respond with giggling "OhmyGods." He's neat as a pin and man enough to wear an apron while drying dishes. Manscaped with hints of cologne, which lingers long after he's gone, so that you'll miss him.

The Scoundrel drives the coolest car you've ever seen and though you're not particularly "into" cars, his passion for wheels, engines and all things fast will transmute your soul, making you worship the design and fabrication or slight touch of retro styling he adores. Faster than his pedals can reach the floor, you suddenly feel you've always thought cars are wonderful and can't imagine life without leather bucket seats and tinted windows. It's only natural to have heated discussions analyzing fuel injection versus carburetors over lunch, isn't it?

The Scoundrel talks about everything but steers it back to cars when accidentally oversharing.

Never one to be stuck in a corner, the Scoundrel simply veers back into carspeak.

You've been listening intently and noticed there are stories of overlapping women. "What happened to her?" you ask, wondering about his marriage proposal on the cliffs of Mazatlán.

"The fit and finish make all the difference in the world," he answers, pointing at the trunk of his vehicle. "Of course," you say with a smile.

He takes your chin in his hand and stares into your eyes.

He's one of the greatest Scoundrels this side of the Mississippi.

But at this time in your life, you don't know that. In your heart, you want to believe he is THE Prince and his car is the stallion. It's all about your gullibility, not his finesse. It's not his fault that he's hugely talented in wooing women and has a certain swagger or je ne sais quoi, making him lovable. This is the man you don't ask about where your relationship is going, or not going. You can't set limitations, certainly not ultimatums because he might dash all your expectations and disappear. You listened and shared some of the stories with your mother, who wanted to know why you're spending so much time with this debonair lad. (Deep in her heart, she knew the answer, sadly wondering if she'd ever have grandkids.)

You fondly recall the trip to the desert.

He packed light and you hid your fears regarding his speed on the 10 Freeway and the dust storms on Highway 111. It was all part of a mysterious journey. The heat rose like the bear who owned fire in ancient Native American folklore. Warm red circles swirled around on your cheekbones as you gazed at the windmills along the side of the highway. Defenseless, you melted into the weekend, intrigued and yet sad, knowing that by Monday morning the stories would be over.

He had brought up exciting trips that he undoubtedly spent with other women, but you admit you enjoyed traveling vicariously to Alaska, the Caribbean, Paris. You might also remember that "Hotel California" by the Eagles was playing on the radio during a long lull in the conversation heading home.


"What was your favorite trip?" you asked, watching him avoid a tanker truck about to change lanes. His eyes lighted up and he floored it around the truck. "Definitely Trinidad," he replied somewhat quickly. Suddenly you felt captive right there in Detroit luxury and air-conditioning. You look at your desert tan and feel like an island girl unable to form appropriate words for another question. Meanwhile the radio seemed to be blasting. "Last thing I remember, I was running for the door, I had to find the passage back to the place I was before …"

The last time you saw the Scoundrel, he grinned and said you were the love of his life. He bounced into the house with a bottle of expensive perfume for mother and even a small bouquet of fancy wrapped, dolled-up wildflowers. As you zoomed off for drinks at a posh restaurant, the subject of tomorrow loomed dangerously on the horizon. The Scoundrel knew expensive brandy intimately but he also knew his limitations. His hands had traveled during dinner — he was ready to go — it was his way or the highway.

You sensed his excitement and decided on taking a chance: "Wouldn't it be nice being married?"

Though you had an idea something like this could happen, it still felt painful. It was like sitting down in a library seconds before a magnitude 8 earthquake. In your heart, you always knew you were on shaky ground and in hindsight, the risk was worth it and so were the stories. Still, maybe you should take mom's advice and hold out for that Prince.

"No dear, I already am. Did I tell you about that Audi Quattro I saw in Reno?"

Gaal is now a happily married freelance writer in the Inland Empire.

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