The Boyfriend Thieves (#194)

Being an Amazonian brunette sandwiched between prettier, blonder, more petite sisters sucks. More than one guy ditched me after meeting my sisters.

Take the Boy Next Door. I pined after him for the entirety of seventh grade. He finally asked me to the last dance before school ended. Then Older Sister, who lived with Dad (I lived with our Mom) came for the summer. The Boy Next Door told me we were done, because he was in love with Older Sister.

Older Sister did her best to comfort me, declaring, “I would never, ever, go out with that loser. He’s ugly and disgusting!”

I bawled, “That’s even worse! You’re scorning the love of my life!”

That scenario repeated itself for years. With no effort whatsoever — which stung worse than a determined boyfriend-stealing campaign probably would have — my sisters entranced the guys that were meant to be mine. (If only because I saw them first).

This dynamic lasted until our last years of high school. By then, guys were either less flighty or I was better at picking them. Or maybe it was because Older Sister finally had a serious boyfriend named Mikey. (He’d lasted more than two weeks!)

Enter the Youngest Sister. Youngest Sister, a product of Dad’s second marriage, was an adorable five-year-old. I came home from school one day and found Older Sister in the kitchen, morosely staring out the window.

“What happened? I thought you and Mikey were gonna be hanging out after school?”

“I thought so, too,” she answered, then nodded at the deck outside.

Youngest Sister emerged from her plastic gingerbread playhouse with a tea set. She offered tea to Mikey, warned him not to slurp, and introduced him to her dolls. Mikey was enthralled.

Tea and Disney Princesses. What man can resist?!

Older Sister tried to pry Mikey away repeatedly. Each time, Youngest Sister put on a sad, sad face. Mikey would shoo Older Sister back inside, whispering, “But I’ll hurt her feelings! Just five more minutes.”

Youngest Sister hijacked Mikey daily. Older Sister stopped bringing him home. Their relationship soon died.

I’m slow on the uptake. I brought home my favorite high school boyfriend, Kevin. While I got us snacks, Youngest Sister invited him out to see her playhouse.

When I told her playtime was over, Youngest Sister’s eyes brimmed with tears. Kevin gave me a horrified look and told her, “Don’t cry! Pour me another cup of tea!”

Kevin and I never did get any alone time at my house. Same as me and John. Or me and Sean. Or me and anyone. Youngest Sister – now officially known as Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister — was relentless. She conscripted boyfriends for dress up games, tea parties, and Chutes & Ladders. There was no way for me to extricate them without looking like an ogre, either. Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister could – and would — cry on command (a handy trick that would one day get her out of 3 speeding tickets).

In self-defense, her older sisters all went to college out of state.

Nearly two decades later, Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister had a special boyfriend of her own. They’d met at college back east, but he was from Los Angeles. He’d moved home for graduate school. Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister missed him terribly. So even though she ostensibly came to Los Angeles to visit her big sister, I knew Andy and I weren’t the real attraction. We invited The Boyfriend over for the day. Andy cooked a feast, I cleaned the house and our dogs, and we waited to meet The Boyfriend.

The Boyfriend was appreciative of our efforts. He clearly loved my sister. Sadly, he was allergic to cats, and we had two. We moved the food outside to the patio, where our dogs were waiting.

Woofie, our rescue lab mix, never met anyone he didn’t like. He immediately pranced over to the Boyfriend…

…only to be shouldered aside by our other rescue dog, Fey. Fey was normally very standoffish; she wasn’t above warning certain people away with growls. She was also very protective of our yard, once driving off would-be burglars. For a moment, I feared Fey mistook The Boyfriend for foe instead of friend.

Fey hurtled herself against The Boyfriend’s legs, yipping, whining, and moaning — with happiness. She even rolled on his feet, begging for tummy rubs. Andy and I stared, stupefied. Unlike Woofie, Fey hated showing belly. Teaching her to roll over had taken a year.

“That’s new,” I muttered.

Andy made outraged noises. “Wha…but…she…she likes him more than ME!”

“What a good girl! Oh, yes, such a good girl,” The Boyfriend cooed. Fey’s happy yipping crescendoed as she licked The Boyfriend’s face.

Woofie gave up trying to get in on the action. He went to my sister for petting instead. She obliged, asking, “Is Fey always like this?”

“Never,” we told her. As Fey soaked up The Boyfriend’s attention, Andy and I spent five minutes speculating that The Boyfriend reminded Fey of one of the dog rescuers who got her off the streets. Or maybe he just smelled fabulous, after catching up on In-n-Out burgers.

Whatever the reason, Fey’s adoration never ceased. She followed The Boyfriend wherever he walked. When he sat, she sat on his feet. When The Boyfriend tried to hug his girlfriend, Fey wedged herself between them.

I finally called Fey into the house, letting my sister and The Boyfriend canoodle on our backyard swing, dog-free.

Fey stared at the door with big, sad eyes.

Every time she heard The Boyfriend’s laugh – which was an infectious, high-pitched giggle – Fey’s ears perked. Her tail thumped. She looked at me expectantly. When I didn’t open the door, she laid her head on her paws with a sigh.

After an hour, she pawed at the door, whining. The Boyfriend called, “Aw, you can let her out!”

My sister said, “Oh, sweetie, I’m sure she’s fine.”

The Boyfriend said, “But she’s crying!”

I opened the door. Fey flew across the yard and jumped into the swing, squirming her seventy-pound self between the couple. The Boyfriend was all giggles and coos.

My sister, shoved to the edge of the swing, glared at me. I grinned and waved as I retreated inside.

Because, sometimes?

Karma truly is a bitch.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

22 thoughts on “The Boyfriend Thieves (#194)”

  1. It looks like the boyfriend has passed the dog / cat test! At least they are not biting his head off or scratch his face into bits on the first day. Many of my friends say to each other when they started dating someone else, “why don’t you bring your new boyfriend/girlfriend for a day out on the mountain with us? If we don’t like him/her, we’ll just shove the person off the cliff!” XD

          1. Yes, all animals live in the moment. At this moment Gracie wants me to play with the feather toy. She’s yelling loudly. Listen and you can probably hear her all the way in CA.

  2. That reminds me on the Cocker Spaniel a “friend” had in Finland. That certain friend my wife got to know at work and she was a very special Chinese person, let’s just say she is nearly as bad as MIL. Always bragging, making fun of other people and and and, the list just goes on and on.
    Well, after we were at her place the first time we/ I played a lot with the dog, thing is that the dog appearently like me a bit more than her owner. Each time we visited the dog would come running outside to the street just to greed us and would even follow us back into our car to come with us 😛

  3. Such perfect karma. A special kind just made for a writer to gloat about on her blog. Dogs and cats and their special people are such a mystery.

    My sister is four years younger, too much difference in age to result in boyfriend stealing. My daughters, though, are very close in age. Although they didn’t steal boyfriends, when they were grade school age, they had friend problems. One would bring a friend home, and one or other of her sisters would “steal” the friend.

  4. It’s so funny how pets take to certain people. It’s always, “they never do that” kind of thing. I suppose it’s hard not to be jealous. Hahahaha. Too cute.

    1. There was another tall, kinda goofy white guy that grew up in California that Fey also really liked. Most people, though, she just tolerated. And she was kind of a racist when we got her, but that’s another story. 🙂

  5. Karma indeed after about two decades later as you said. Well, Little Sister as to learn how to share. Then again, it seems that for your family it’s more like a case of too bad, too sad, put up with it. Maybe Fey was nursing a crush with The Boyfriend. Just a crush 😀

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