Unbelievable but True #1: The Merry Widow

I have had my fair share of story book worthy adventures since starting my business in 2005. Jaws drop when I share some of my anecdotes so I thought it would be fun to share a few before I forget them in my old age.

I was naive at first to assume that when men approaching me for a liaison, they wouldn't, unless they were single. Dead wrong. Before I caught on enough to ask if they were married or in a relationship when they asked me out, I was shocked to discover in the course of conversation that they were, and after me as well. I was constantly outraged.Then I began to get a bit cynical.I almost granted those respectful enough of their commitments with friendship on no other grounds than that they had earned it of their loyalty to their partners. Almost. Friendship has a few more qualifiers than that a sense of loyalty...but still. They got extra 'boy scout' points.

Any way. At the trade shows it's open hunting season, and there was this very 'boyish' guy with his glasses and clean cut, prep school demeanor,a kind of geeky Brit who owned a very high profile jewelry store in London that would always come around and ask me out after standing around for hours of chit chat .He seemed harmless, in a non-threatening kind of way. Though I could see through his game plan I actually felt sort of sorry for the guy. And he was charmingly witty and amusing. Sometimes we would hang out with common friends, but he always got around some of his guilt by playing at 'business' and suggesting scenarios where I could show my jewelry at his prestigious London shop.He kept bringing up the fact that I wouldn't need a hotel while I was in London...that I could stay in the extra suite he and his wife- and young son- had attached to their Mayfair flat. That was oddly comforting but weird; that he would want me around his wife. But I was curious enough and unthreatened enough to keep it in mind. Sure enough in 2007, I had to go to europe and thought of stopping over in London to check out his establishment. I was going with another girl and he insisted that we could stay over at his place and also come over and check out the store.
We got in and went over to drop our things off, and his wife came to meet us and give us our key. She was lovely; very elegant , conservative, blonde, chic and Swiss. That night they had us for dinner and their little boy was quite precocious and fun-adorable and smart. It was fun to sit down with 'natives.' and we had a lovely evening. My friend had a friend that she wanted to catch up with that evening... and since it was an old crush.of hers..I wasn't going to rain on her parade. I decided to stay put since I was a bit jet-lagged and we were catching the early train to Paris. For the same reasons she said she would be back no later than midnight.
I settled in to pour over this guy's amazing collection of jewelry books( that's the thing with the European jewelers...their businesses are almost always generational and they have such an incredible sense of historic design persecutive compared to Americans) Before I knew it, it was midnight, and she wasn't there. Then it was 12:30, then 1 - and I started to worry. My hosts had long gone to bed, and I was on my own with this problem; which was my friend was MIA and her phone wasn't on, I had no idea how to reach her, or her friend, or where they were. I realized that I didn't know if she even had the address of where we were with her- since all the arrangements had been mine.. and in the rush to get to her date on time, I didn't remember if I had given it to her.Stories were rampant about slave trade kidnappings... and she was too pretty not to be noticeable if she had been slipped something into her drink. Her family was going to kill me...I was starting to panic. I finally felt I had no choice and went and knocked on my friends bedroom door. He came to the door , hair tousled in a plaid nightgown. Very Scrooge like nightwear the likes of which I has never seen in real life. Boxers, shorts, pants, underwear...but never a nightgown on a guy.I was beyond tired, I was jet lagged, I was worried, I didn't know him well enough to be waking him up in the middle of the night... and it all just felt awful and exhausting.

I told him what was going on, and he said not to worry...that she was probably just having too much fun and to come with him to the kitchen and have some tea to wait it out.I wasn't very convinced...she wasn't like that, but I didn't have really any other choice but to see if she would show up in time to make our train. Hopefully alive.We sat down at the kitchen table, and started talking about different things when all of a sudden, his wife startled us. She appeared out of the darkness of the hallway in the doorway of the kitchen to ask what was going on. She posed, leaning against the doorway frame, raised her arm above her head to lean into the frame and position herself better with her perfectly, tousled blonde hair, dressed in a pale pink satin, merry widow, with her bare, perfect legs shod in matching pale mink maribou feathered mules perfectly angled in a 'sexy' hips out, calves dipped , femme fatale "lean". Her 'chest' was molded by the form fitting corset to within an inch of her life. I felt like I was in a bad dream, even as I thought, "Do people really sleep in those things?! How can she breathe?! And...." She is SUCH A STRANGE WOMAN"! And as she shared in the conversation she chose to behave as though this was what she wore every night to hang out at home and share midnight conversations with their house guests. The stress level was rising and even my 'friend' was obviously starting to feel the strain as well. He said that he had to get some sleep; that he was going to have along day tomorrow, and that I should get some sleep as well. We called it a night at 3 am... and I lay down as my friend rolled in at 4. We had to leave Mayfair to catch the train at 5. I could have killed her. Happily.

I never did do business with him. I think that was pretty much the end of that. His wife would have given my jewelry to the homeless of London if any of my things had ended up in their store.Happily. And she had such a grip on him- it made his efforts to cheat on her the more pathetic and sad.

But I will never be able to forget the memory of her, posing, posturing in the midnight darkness of the hallway, lit up by the kitchen lights in her pink satin bustier and feather mules. Claiming her stake. I never wanted anything she had anyway, and it was as foreign to me as familiar to them...that something like that would even happen.

Not stranger than fiction; not unbelievable...but a pretty good story.
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