It’s not like I didn’t know who he was when we met. He had on the cape, the tights, the giant letter “S” across his chest. He looked like a very handsome caricature of himself.
“Hello, I’m Superman,” he said confidently, as he extended his hand.
“MOV,” I replied. I felt my cheeks turn red. It’s not every day you meet a superhero.
His grip was tight, but not too tight. He could probably bend steel with those hands if he wanted to.
Once we started talking, I confirmed that he was single. I know what you’re thinking: Lois Lane. That’s what everyone says now when I tell the story. But we actually met way before he and Lois were an item.
Superman and I had a lot in common. We both liked long walks on the beach, saving puppies, and listening to rain while enjoying a good book and a cup of hot cocoa. Oh, didn’t I tell you? We met through a dating service.
This was back in the days before the Internet and Match Dot Com. You had to fill out a questionnaire with, like, 50 questions, and poof! They would set you up with your perfect guy.
I don’t remember all the questions, but I do remember my answers: Super! As in, “If you unexpectedly found yourself with a day off, what would your first thought be?” Or, “Tell us about your relationship with your next-door neighbor,” and, “What is the one word your best friend would use to describe you?”
It just seemed natural that they would set me up with him. I liked Super and he was Super.
The beginning was great. He called when he said he would, showed up with flowers, always paid for dinner—that kind of thing. He was courteous and thoughtful. I even started to think about introducing him to my family.
But then something changed. He was very show-offy. Say a giant metal safe was falling out a window of a high-rise building just as we happened to be walking under it? He would reach out and catch it and prevent us from being killed. Okay, maybe that’s a bad example because I am glad that I didn’t get crushed by a safe. Oh, here’s one: if a baby was playing on railroad tracks FIVE STREETS OVER then he would woosh away and save the baby or stop the train or whatever.
The whole saving people thing got to be annoying. It interrupted a lot of romantic moments, if you know what I mean.
He was always “on”—always paying attention to something else, somewhere else, some element of danger lurking that I had no idea about. And everywhere we went, people had to come up and shake his hand and thank him.
“Oh, Superman,” they would swoon, “you are the greatest! Thank you so much for saving my dad from being eaten by that shark,” blah-blah-blah.
Of course I would stand to the side, smiling and nodding politely (what else was I going to do?) and then the people would turn to me and say how lucky I was to be dating Superman.
Lucky. Yeah, right.
Then, totally out of the blue, he proposed. Literally out of the blue: he scooped me up, flew me in his arms to a mountain top, and pulled a diamond ring out of a secret pocket in his cape.
I said yes. Not because I wanted to say yes, but because I felt pressured. And the fact that I was on a random mountain top and not sure how I’d get home if I said no.
He wanted to elope, and I wanted to break up. He told me to meet him down at City Hall but I was a no-show. I felt bad, but I couldn’t go through with it. It’s not like I have to be in the spotlight all the time, but with Superman I knew I would never be in the spotlight. Ever.
He knocked on my apartment door with a big bouquet of roses in his hand.
“MOV, can we start over?”
My roommate glanced up from watching TV and rolled her eyes.
“Look, S,” I began, “I love the idea of you. But the you in the flesh, well … it’s a little hard to take.”
He set the flowers on the table and left. I never heard from him again. Well, until last week, that is. He sent me a friend request on Facebook. I immediately checked his relationship status: Single.
And according to his profile, he still likes saving puppies.