>What was it like to be romanced by the future President? In Pulitzer-winner David Maraniss’s buzzed-about new book (out in June), two exes dish.

HE WAS A MAN OF LETTERS

In correspondence with girlfriend Alex McNear in 1982, Obama, then 21 and a poli-sci student at Columbia, discussed T.S. Eliot. It was “a dance of closeness through language,” McNear said.

HE WAS ELUSIVE

“The sexual warmth is definitely there,” wrote Genevieve Cook, an Australian graduate student who met him at a 1983 party. But he could also be aloof. He “still intrigues me,” she wrote, “but so much going on beneath the surface.”

HE LIKED LAZY SUNDAYS

According to Cook, he would spend Sundays in his Manhattan apartment lounging around shirtless in a sarong, drinking coffee and doing crossword puzzles.

HE HAD A PLAN

Obama told Cook he was looking for the “ideal woman … at the expense of hooking up with available girls.” Cook realized she wasn’t Ms. Right when she told him she loved him and he replied, “Thank you.” “What he would really want,” she decided, was a woman who was “very strong, very upright, a fighter, a laugher, well-experienced—a black woman….” Sounds like someone we know.

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