67. Louisa Tillbaugh, Food Technologist

Louisa’s fascination with food started when she was a child. She was a chubby six-year-old and very mindful of her physique. It didn’t help that her mother kept asking her how she could expect to attract a man if she was “such a fatso.” Now, Louisa understands just how hurtful and insensitive her mother was. And she also knows that while she was never nor will be as “attractive” as her mother thinks is so important to attracting a man, she has had no problem attracting men or finding a husband who thinks she is “hot” and who most of her colleagues think is “gorgeous.” That he admires her educational attainment or her senior position in a major food company’s technical team, that he helps out with the children and household chores, and that he is a respected orthodontist only adds to his luster in their eyes. Louisa loves all this and also takes some satisfaction in knowing that her mother is now on her third divorce. But deep down, her mother’s words still drives her nuts: do I look like a truck driver? Are my breasts too small? Why is my rear end so square? And then there is Louisa’s secret sex life. She needs to travel on business once or twice a month and when she does, she invariably picks up some guy, often in the hotel bar and has a few hours of what she calls her “mental health.” Usually, it’s just some flirting at the bar, maybe a late dinner. But sometimes it’s more than that. She takes all the right precautions. Makes it clear that this is a one-time thing. An escape from reality for a brief while. And the next morning, it is back to business: Dr. Tillbaugh shows up and does food science for her company and her family as if nothing happened. So why was the last time things ended up in her hotel room so different? She’s looking forward to seeing the guy again. And she is also thinking that maybe she needs some counseling before her old ghosts take her to places she does not want to go.