BOSTON. There are a number of women in the Greater Boston Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area who would like to have a word with Todd Price–if only they could find him.
“He seemed so sweet,” says Melinda Alderman, a receptionist at a freight-forwarding company. “After a night of wild passionate love-making that included the Mongolian Cartwheel, he fixed me a gourmet breakfast of a Froot Loops omelet with Canadian bacon, then said he was sorry because he had to go into work on Sunday. But I never heard from him again. Since we ended up at my apartment, I couldn’t hunt him down and give him a piece of my mind.”
Price is a “serial ghoster”–a man who meets and becomes romantically involved with a woman, then drops her like a greased bowling ball once he’s gotten what he wants. “I know I’m a jerk,” he says to this reporter, who tracked him down at a Quincy Market watering hole where he was enjoying brunch and a Bloody Mary as he surveyed the room for romantic opportunities. “But I’m still in my twenties, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me to develop moral qualms.”
But the trail of broken hearts that Price has left behind makes him a marked man, as becomes apparent when he spots a woman who he dated then dumped across the crowded sidewalk restaurant. “Oh Jeez,” he says, turning his face so his forgotten flame won’t see him. “I can’t go anywhere without running into some girl from my checkered past–and present.”
So Price keeps a low profile, but in an age when courtship has moved from the physical world to social media, untangling himself from an aborted relationship isn’t as easy as it once was. “They stalk me,” he says, shaking his head at the unfairness of it all. “I got tired of having to say it was me, not you, so thank God for the coronavirus.”
A few heads turn at this apparently insensitive remark, but Price is quick to explain. “Before, say, last week, I’d have to say I was sorry, I wasn’t good enough for her–bullshit like that,” he says as he flags down the bartender for a refill. “Now I just say I’m self-quarantined because of some guy I played pick-up basketball with, and they don’t get all pissy the way women did when you jerked them around before.”
Still, he is sometimes confronted by prior amours when he lets his guard down, and as he takes a call from a phone number he doesn’t recognize he winces when he hears the voice of Jennie Black, a perfume spritzer girl he chatted up in a department store, then bedded and abandoned.
“Hey, great to hear from you!” he says with deceptive enthusiasm. “How have you been?”
A tinny voice at the other end of the call is audible to those seated at the bar, many of whom look askance at the blue streak the young woman who’s calling spews out on a Sunday morning.
“Hey, hey, calm down,” Price says as he cradles his phone between shoulder and ear. “I woulda called you, but I been stuck on a cruise ship for two weeks and . . .”
Price shrugs his shoulders as his phone goes dead, then puts it back in his pocket. “Lousy cell service around here,” he says. “I’m always getting dropped calls.”