Dear E. Jean:
About a month ago, I discovered that my husband has been conducting an expensive, three-month affair with a 25-year old Romanian Cam Girl. He hasn't met her in person yet (we live in Seattle), but he was making plans to leave me, and move his job to Bucharest, when I stumbled on the evidence.
I'm trim and attractive. We have a 16-year history. He's always been loyal and upfront, but he now claims that since I never wanted children, and since he's in his late 40's, this may be his last chance to father a child. He says that he "cares deeply" for both of us, but that the Romanian whore is "intensely religious" and refuses to be with him unless he divorces me first.
Not only does this stink of an Internet romance-scam, this is so out of character for him. It is also fiscally complex. We own a house, there are adored cats involved, I earn more money. Whatever to do?
Oh, and I still love him. —Witless in Seattle
Witless, My Wondrous Widgeon:
Send the abysmal chump to Romania! Hell, buy his ticket!
He'll soon discover that the last thing his "intensely religious" young businesswoman wants is some love-struck old half-wit hanging around waiting to impregnate her while she's working eight or nine suckers with the same story.
After she and her studio boss (Romanian cam models pose in fake bedrooms in high-tech studios) have fleeced your husband for every cent he has (I hope the house is in your name, Miss Witless), he'll be on the phone—shoeless, sleepless, weeping and begging to come home to you and the cats.
Or. If you don't like the idea of airmailing the pathetic dupe to Romania, hire a cyber security detective in Seattle or Bucharest and unearth the young woman's real story. She may already have two kids and a husband, or she may be putting herself through med school, one can guess a hundred things. Find out.
Now, Miss Witless, you’ve got a big career—I looked you up—you are a specialist in your field, so you can handle what I'm about to suggest: You can either fly to Bucharest, meet the young woman for tea, and tell her you'll be happy to divorce your husband when she gives you a certified check for $25,000—I'd refuse to divorce the poor nincompoop for a penny less. Or, you can simply hand your husband the detective's report over dinner.
Either way, I'm sorry you have to go through this horrible turmoil. Your husband's desire to have sex with the girl probably created his sudden desire to father a child, as it was the only way he could justify what he was doing. Alas, you and I can't possibly know if he'll be able to step aside and recognize this lust as a passing phase, or if fathering a child is now paramount in his mind. It will take months for him to recover his equilibrium. Then, whether you decide to pledge your love again, and let the bastard crawl back into your bed, or go your separate way is up to you. Good luck!
What Ever Happened To?
That question appeared in Elle in June, 2017. People still ask me “Whatever happened to the woman whose husband fell for “that Romanian strumpet?”
Reader! Cititor! (Romanian for “Reader!”)Aren’t you dying to know exactly how big a schmuck this husband was? And if he actually got on a plane to Romania? And if Ms. Witless took my advice and put him on the plane herself? And if the cats are alright? And if Cam Girl knows things about entangling men that you don’t know?
Well, so am I. So today I’m starting a new feature called “Where Are They Now?” Every so often we will find out what happened to people who wrote to Ask E. Jean—are they now happier? Sadder? Richer? Poorer? Meaner? Nicer? Prettier? Married-er? Single-er? Did my advice make things better? Or worse?
I think it is only fitting that we premier “Where Are They Now?” with a photo of the woman who started it all: Yes, this is the cam girl.
Get a good look. Are you on your phone? Tap and enlarge. Oh. You are on our desktop? Blow this sucker UP! She is entrancing! Love the shoes! Want to hear what happened next? What happened next was unexpected. I received a second letter.
Dear E. Jean:
Remember the Romanian webcam girl who bewitched my husband? Well, I wanted to bring you abreast of events that have since transpired. My poor hapless husband did, indeed, fall in love. He traveled thousands of miles to Bucharest only to be rebuffed and repulsed by the less attractive in real-life version of his “glamorous” webcam girl.
Her first demand was that he take her to the mall to buy her an expensive watch, to which he said “no thank you” and proceeded to hide in a cheap Romanian hotel room for days subsisting on convenience store food. Your predictions were 100% accurate.
So, by the time he was learning she was not a goddess, and wanted to come home and make up, I’d already sold our Seattle house for a tidy profit and set the wheels in motion for a transfer across the country to my company’s New York office. He is now living with his mother. I spent the summer ensconced in a luxury high rise in Brooklyn gazing at the love of my life—Manhattan.
I’m taking lemons and making pink lemonade---walking in lovely Prospect Park, wandering in the West Village, and watching artsy films. I’ve also been pitching an idea for a comedic television series based on this hideous (yet humorous!) nightmare to some brilliant Hollywood stars. In fact, I am starting a screenwriting course at The New School quite soon and I have a meeting with the fabulous Dita Von Teese next month to discuss the project.
So now I have a new question for you. How can I meet interesting people in this huge metropolis? —Witty in the City (formerly Witless in Seattle)
Witty! You Pattern for all Womanhood!
How glad I am to hear you’re in New York! Since I missed welcoming you personally because I fell off a bridge hiking the Appalachian Trail and broke my arm in four places, I hope you’ll do me the honor of meeting me next week for cocktails. (Warning to all Manhattan bartenders: Old E. Jean is heading to town!)
We will toast your happiness and success, and, to prevent you squandering all your love on the writers and artists that you’ll be hanging with after class at the New School, you and I will draw up a list of places to meet “interesting people”—the Chelsea Piers driving range, where a girl must don a chic golf skirt and hit her weekly bucket of balls will, no doubt, head the list. See you soon. Counting the very moments!
(Elle, November, 2017)
And then . . .
We didn’t meet for cocktails for some reason I can’t recall, but one evening when I was appearing at Soho House—a hotsy-totsy club for young bigwigs—and boring the bitcoins out of the audience by giving a little talk about “relationships,”—BLAM!—here came a small, dark-haired, lively young woman—smart little skirt and sweater, motorcycle jacket, tall lace-up boots—laughing her laugh, a young woman whose mere exuberance parted the crowd as she moved, such an overwhelming force was she.
I hauled her up on stage and Witty told her story, and everybody adored her, as they have never adored anyone before; and afterward, when we had a few minutes together, Ms. Witty told me she had jumped into the big jacuzzi of Tinder.
“What’s your profile name?” I said.
“Sexy Librarian,” said Witty.
“Apt!” I said, laughing and, by the by, here’s Witty’s photo:
That she actually is a librarian—the Director of Information Architecture and Taxonomy at Ranker—makes her handle twice as delicious.
I didn’t see her again until the spring of 2019 when I was conducting the Most Hideous Men of New York Walking Tour, and along came Witty, more full of life than ever (she had, unknown to all but a few, had cancer in 2012, and had recently lived through a second scare), ungovernable, like a one-woman street riot, ready to break into chatter and news.
She insisted on carrying the banner, but as some people on the tour objected to being “seen in public” with “that monster Weinstein,” we rolled it up and Witty carried it like a pike on her shoulder. That’s Witty on the left.
After the tour, we went—uh, “went” is not exactly the word, I may as well have been accompanying Ernest Hemingway to the Paris Ritz—for a whisky at the bar in the Modern, where the bartender hailed Witty like an old friend and ministered to us like Catherine Barkley pouring elixirs down the parched throats of the wounded. As we sank the first glass, Witty turned in her chair, gave me a smile of inhuman happiness, and said:
“I’m in love.”
That was two years ago. Yesterday we Zoomed and Witty invited me to her wedding on September 18th. She and Thomas, a software engineer, are being married in Central Park. As for Cam Girl? Her name is Sonia Crystall. Google her, Reader, but don’t worry about old Sonia.
“When she invited my ex-husband to come to Romania,” said Witty, “she told him it was for her ‘birthday.’ When he arrived, he found that she had invited many suitors to come to Romania for her birthday, and she was pitting them against each other to see who would buy her the most expensive gifts!”
So, farewell, Sonia! May you entwine more suitors than Penelope! And the cats? Spike and Dot left Seattle with Witty. They were happily chasing one another in the Witty’s new Park Slope digs before her bonehead of husband had even left for Romania.
Because I know that I don’t know everything, and because readers rule around here, and cuz commenters gotta comment, here’s the Conflab:
Witless Protection Program
The Conflab is where we hash over the questions sent to Ask E. Jean—and where our boisterous community saves mankind. Today we are not solving the problem of Ms. Witty. No. We are sussing out how she pulled it off!
Her husband had fallen deeply in love with another woman. Ms. Witty’s heart was ripped out of her chest. She moved to New York. She was struck down with cancer. And yet, here she is: buoyant, healthy, getting married to a man twenty years younger, and sending me photos of her wedding dress over Zoom.
Me? I believe she is happy because she took action. (Action creates emotion. Emotion does not create action). I always advise action over words. Words don’t seem to solve many problems.
OK. OK. Ok. If words sometimes do solve problems, please tell Auntie Eeee what those words would be when facing a cam girl whose business is the oldest action in the world.
Are you a word person? Or an action person? (And don’t cop out and say “both.” You must choose!)
Has a someone you love ever fallen for a scammer? What did you do?
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Photos courtesy of Ms. Witty.