One Woman, Two Men, And Salon's Version Of "Modern Love"

Not to be outdone by the Times, Salon has started its very own series of true-love stories. This week: "Louise," who left her husband of 29 years for her high school sweetheart.

Unlike Modern Love, Salon's "Americans Talk About Love" stories are told orally to editor John Bowe, so Louise's tale arrives on your screen in a conversational style. Of her first husband, "Gary," she says,

I mean, I would rather be with my friends anytime than be with my husband. The few times that he would go out with me it was like, it kinda put a real damper on things. You know? Like, if he wasn't my husband I wouldn't have hung out with him.

Enter "Brian," Louise's first love, whom she dated when she was 15. Louise contacted Brian after she found out he was divorced on Classmates.com. She was still married to Gary, but she and Brian began seeing each other. They didn't have sex, but Louise decided to divorce Gary and move in with Brian. Now this is the point in "Modern Love" where everything would go to shit. But behold:

I've been with Brian now for five years. [...] How do you describe the person that you have found — he's my best friend. Which was a new concept for me. Not just loving the person you're with but liking them. You know, you've probably heard people say, "You should be friends first." It's so true. He's the love of my life. It doesn't depend on whether he has been nice to me that day or did he buy me some nice Lindt chocolate or jewelry. Or did we have good sex last night. It's because — just because I want to be with him. I'm like a little puppy. I just want to be with him all the time.

There's nothing groundbreaking about Louise's story, perhaps nothing as unusual as, say, flipping out over your 8-year-old son's name on a bathroom wall. But its sheer commonness — we all know someone whose marriage didn't work out, and someone who reconnected with an old flame — combined with its matter-of-fact tone make it rather pleasant to read. And while some "Modern Love" columns make us feel, in Sadie's words, "disturbed, vaguely dirty, desperate to talk to a therapist and maybe call social services," Louise's story made us feel kind of... nice. Even though Louise has made some mistakes and done some bad things, we kind of feel like we get her, which is more than we can say for her or her or her.

Louise, 52 [Salon]