Luke Ford Modern Love

I got a message this morning from Amy Klein, formerly of the Jewish Journal, that she has an essay on me in the New York Times’ Modern Love section. Here:

“Why don’t we write a story about Luke Ford?” my editor in chief suggested.

But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. I didn’t want to meet with him. And I especially didn’t want to give him the opportunity to engage in a meta-interview (my reporting, then his blogging about my reporting).

So the Luke Ford article was shelved until another writer came along and wrote it, a development that displeased Ford.

“I always thought this article would come at the hands of Amy Klein,” he wrote. “I pictured us over lunch and how I would whip out my tape recorder when she started the on-the-record part of our conversation and all the brilliant justifications I’d give her for my abominable behavior. … But then my time came at the hand of 25-year-old Brad Greenberg. Brad’s a good reporter, but he’s no Amy Klein. … The whole thing didn’t run anything like my fantasies.”

Brad was one of the young new additions to the newspaper. Another was Danielle Berrin, a tall, blond Floridian with a passion for this business that reminded me of … me, circa 1995. The minute I laid eyes on her, I knew she would one day replace me.

And my cyberstalker confirmed it. Under the headline, “The Jewish Journal Adds Sex Appeal,” he wrote, “I’ve had my share of fantasies about religion writer Amy Klein (who hasn’t?). … But the times are a changing. The Jewish Journal now boasts Calendar Girls — a pair of hotties (Dikla Kadosh and Danielle Berrin).”

When you are young and pretty, nothing outrages you more than unwanted, persistent attention. You want to be taken seriously. But as you get older, and people start to ignore your looks and actually do begin to take you seriously as a professional, you feel like yesterday’s news.

I suppose, according to Ford, I was still the gold standard to which all young reporters would be held up. But I was like Sophia Loren: classic, yet a thing of the past.

AND so, when I finally left The Jewish Journal after seven years, I didn’t think much about my cyberstalker. I was busy with my career, building a Web site, and cataloging my hundreds of articles, which involved a lot of looking myself up online, which soon landed me back on Ford’s blog.

I scrolled to the more-recent material, searching for the inevitable post about my departure, maybe a copy of the e-mail message I’d sent out to all of my contacts (except him). But there was nothing. I kept returning, day after day, and there was never any mention of my leaving — nothing, in fact, about me at all.

It’s not as if I had taken this whole cyberstalker relationship seriously. What had been disturbing and vaguely threatening early on became background noise as the years passed, just a part of my working life I mostly ignored.

After all, Ford’s posts weren’t really about me, the real Amy Klein, but a version of me he’d conjured up from my writing and public appearances. And I had hoped from the start that I would be a passing fad (albeit, as it turned out, a six-year fad).

Still, why had he dumped me? If someone is going to document and critique your life, shouldn’t he stick it out to the end? Write the final act? Did I not matter anymore?

And then, finally: “Amy Klein, Why Didn’t You Tell Me?”

On he went:

“She left two weeks ago. Normally I have a satellite circling Amy from about 100 miles overhead, but I’ve been distracted of late. … Amy e-mailed everybody in her life, about 100 or so persons, but that list did not include your humble correspondent, oh my brothers.”

He cataloged my departure, my new projects, and the e-mail announcement I had sent. He wondered about my future career, why I hadn’t told him, and what would happen to me.

“I miss you, baby!” he wrote.

Well, Luke, you might never guess it, but I’ll miss you, too.

Amy Klein, who lives in Los Angeles, writes the illustrated dating column, “True Confessions of an Online Dating Addict.”

 

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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