Ladies Beware: The Great Pretender on Union Street
He borrowed the dog, the car, and the book. He wore a fake Rolex and carried a broken Mont Blanc pen. The only thing that belonged to him was the toupee.
Mel must’ve been a prop master in the theater in another lifetime. He had accumulated enough stuff to have it appear that he was successful. He heartily acted the part and began to believe it himself.
His neighbor agreed to allow him to walk her “chick bait” chocolate Labrador Retriever, Bella. Around 11 AM each day, Mel strolls down Union Street with Bella- the world’s friendliest dog.
Although he is not a prolific reader, he knows enough about cause and effect and to always carry a New York Times bestseller with him. The library book (never read, always carried) is strategically placed, on the table, bar, or counter for all to see- next to his i-Phone and his Mont Blanc pen. His Rolex in full view.
Prey For Success
The sky blue cashmere sweater tied around his shoulders – appearing rakish – perfectly planned, as well as the deferred maintenance look of old money: tasseled loafers with no socks. On the foggiest days he has a Burberry raincoat – two sizes too small- over his arm. He does ‘forget’ his wallet – on occasion. His meager pension and Social Security coupled with the money he gets for writing fake Yelp reviews covers his tight budget. He often jokes that he forgot his wallet and “depended on the kindness of strangers.”
The con man with je ne se quois
The self-elected mayor of Union Street, he goes ‘out to dinner’ out five nights a week. Somewhere in his dating career he had set a goal of having three dates a week. At one time, he rotated between Perry’s, Brazenhead and the Blue Light. When money got very tight, he developed a penchant for any Happy Hour and grazing at the free hors’d oeuvres trough.
Ramona was the most recent innocent victim. She swooned when she saw the 1967 Jaguar XKE. She didn’t know his friend Ray, parked his car at Mel’s house whenever he traveled. Initially, she fell for the whole package. What’s not to like about a friendly guy with a Jaguar and a smiling chocolate Lab?
Mel was seated outside at Roses Café – a chick magnet if there ever was one- the bestseller book on the tabletop, Bella at his feet. Women, inevitably, lean down to pet the beautiful dog.
Chat, chat, flirt, flirt turns into “Join me for coffee” with a little bit of notice my book, my Mont Blanc pen, my iPhone. (Not my very expensive toupee.)
Ramona was a hook, line and sinker smitten until she started asking questions and looking closer. It took one coffee date and a long walk to penetrate the veneer of this very well rehearsed charlatan. She dodged a hoax.
Take away lesson – if it looks too good to be true – start asking the tough questions. Yes, it is polite – and very smart-to ask questions.
Asking few well-placed questions, “How do you like the book?” What’s it about?” Is she your dog? How long have you had the car? Are you the original owner? Where do you work? For how long?…”
Open up a real dialogue and the truth shall set you free.