Screen name: Renaissance Man
Favourite Quote: “If music be the food of love, play on, / Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, / The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
Self-description: Confident, hopeless romantic who will read you poetry and take walks along the moonlit beach with you.
Likes: Smart, sexy, petite women. Exotic types.
Dislikes: Smokers, drinkers, sex addicts,
Favourite movie moment: Charlton Heston parting the Dead Sea in The Ten Commandments.
Motto: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Sex is all about the love with him “neo-Platonic” love to be exact. Connected to God and to all living things. He confounds her with elevated talk, spiritual idealism, and antiquated romantic notions.
“You are like a rose,” William says enigmatically.
“Does that mean I have thorns?” she teases, sweeping back her thick brown hair.
“No, you haven’t any. You’re a red rose with a hint of black. And eyes like Countess Bathory.”
Olivia smiles serenely, as though men have been treating her this way for centuries. She wonders to herself, Is he for real?
Later she looks up Countess Bathory on the Internet and discovers she murdered her housemaids to bathe in their fresh, young blood. Countess Bathory thought she had discovered the secret to the fountain of youth. There were fifty-odd dead in the castle basement by the time they caught up with her. Most accounts describe her as a vampire—terrified of aging, remarkably seductive. Olivia wonders if William really knows the whole story or whether he just likes the name Bathory, having heard it in passing.
Olivia has been a member of half a dozen online dating sites without much luck, until now. No one ever turned out to be who they said they were. It wasn’t that they were liars, though some of them were. People were just short-sighted. They saw themselves as they wanted to be seen. Even after she had closed her accounts on most of the sites, she still saved a copy of each profile from the men she’d dated. She even created a profile for men she hadn’t met online. It turned out to be a good way to keep track of them, especially if she was dating more than one at a time. It was her own private Dewey Decimal System for relationships that she stored in a folder marked ‘Personal.”
Olivia and William are walking across the grassy quad at York where he is a TA in art history and religion classes. Several young girls with knapsacks and tight jeans—girls Olivia has long since learned not to envy—eye her boyfriend, trying to catch his attention with a smile or by tossing back their long hair.
William takes her hand as they’re walking. She looks over at his earnest profile, a face that betrays no trace of the hardship he says he has endured. It is unlined and unspoiled. At thirty-five, William is eighteen years younger than Olivia. The creases around her eyes soften in his company.
William brings her red roses. He kisses her voluptuously. He makes her believe in love again, instead of just sex.