1 Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free?
The truth is simple, but it may not sound so good. The fact of the matter is that a man doesn't have to get married to have the comforts of being married. He can have sex. He can have companionship. He can have loyalty. He can have financial sharing or support. He can have children. Truth be told, he can have anything that a married man can get without making the commitment. This is especially true if he's a highly desirable man who knows how to play a good Don Juan act. What's happening is that men are realizing they can have everything without making a commitment, and that's exactly what some of them are doing. Marriage has become mainly an issue of responsibility and accountability, or lack thereof, for the man.
Limited Responsibility and Accountability
I really enjoyed the film Love and Basketball, and it perfectly illustrates a point about men not learning to be accountable for their own feelings and actions in a relationship. There was a climactic scene (no, not the strippoker-style one-on-one game!) in which Monica challenged Q to a game of one-on-one for his heart. This challenge was her attempt to win Q's heart two weeks before his scheduled marriage to another woman. Excuse me? This is after he absolutely dissed her in college, selfishly put his needs above hers, and then cheated on her and flaunted this fact right in her face in an attempt to hurt her feelings.
Yet Monica had enough love left in her heart for Q to challenge him to this game. In the film, the challenge worked and Monica won Q back. But in real life, it's not so simple. In real life, a man has to make some serious and significant changes after the type of rift Monica and Q had before he can be a man capable of making a real commitment and sticking to it. In reality, if this man didn't make a significant change in character and attitude, the marriage would be doomed to drama and divorce. In real life, one would have to ask, "Did he really change? How and why?" Unfortunately, men who don't learn to be accountable for their actions in relationships don't just magically get it by the next scene in time for the happy ending.
Yet relationships like Monica and Q's play out daily in the real world as well. Every day women are allowing men to do things they should be held accountable for in relationships but aren't. What's most alarming is hearing some of the excuses women make for these guys in their attempt to rationalize why they are remaining in a relationship with them. For example, Melody was living with Brian, whom she was going to marry. When she discovered she was pregnant, at the same time she discovered that Brian was cheating on her. To make matters worse, she learned that he had been cheating for quite a while and that the other woman was also pregnant. Their children were born only a few months apart. All this time Brian continued living with Melody. Eventually he decided he didn't want the relationship and left her, only to return months later wanting to move back in. Now Melody's wondering if he has changed and if she should give him another chance.
Melody and Brian's story is a perfect example of limited male responsibility and accountability. Melody is delusional to think Brian is in love with her. Moreover, he's not even acting responsibly toward her or their child. However, since Melody's got it fixed in her mind that he's the one for her, she's not reading the obvious facts in this terrible situation and is still asking for more.
Another example is Tonya and Darrell's so-called relationship, which occurred mainly within the four walls of her bedroom during the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. She knew he was seeing another woman in a nearby city because he had told her. But he complained to Tonya that his current girlfriend was too demanding and he was going to stop seeing her. Tonya wrote to ask me if I thought he would eventually stop seeing the other woman or if she was a fool for believing him. She even went on to say that she knew she was being foolish but she really loved this man and wanted to get him for her own.
Here's the real deal. If Tonya "gets" Darrell from the other woman, she won't have him anyway. Darrell has two women in two cities (that we know of) and he is getting all the sex, love, and attention he could ever want without being accountable or taking responsibility. This type of man isn't going to change. He doesn't have to because he's a single man with no accountability to the woman or the relationship. When given such an opportunity, it takes a man of high character not to take advantage of the situation. Some men won't take advantage, but if you keep wearing a sign that says "I'm available on your terms," even a good man may start to use you.
Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil
Why do women let men get away with limited to no responsibility and accountability? In a word, denial. Many women fall into this category when it comes to the way they respond to improperly behaving men. They simply live in denial of the obvious fact that they are in a relationship that's headed for a crash. He can be caught lying over and over, but she fixes the lies in her mind. He can be caught with evidence that he's cheating, but she pretends she doesn't see it. He can even be caught with another woman and explain his way out of that too. Eddie Murphy once joked about a man who's girlfriend caught him cheating. I'll paraphrase what the man said to his girlfriend: "You didn't see me. That wasn't me. It wasn't me . . . okay it was me. But we weren't making love. We were just having sex. I was only having sex with her." His humor pointed out the very real fact that men actually can pull off some really unbelievable stunts in relationships because some women want to be in denial for what they think is the sake of peace and stability, but it's a shaky peace and a costly stability at best.
How Bachelors Play Women
How do men get away with all this playing? Playing women doesn't require diabolical schemes or plots. These men just use some proven methods that work. More of this will be revealed later in the book, but for now, here's a primer on how bachelors play women.
Unavailability is a simple technique where the man is never available unless its convenient to him. Typically this means a man will be available only when he wants sex. It sounds like too obvious of a pattern but it works, particuarly if the man is a good conversationalist and can convince a woman that he really is that busy at work, or whatever his excuse for disappearing is.
Dangling the Carrot
In the dangling-the-carrot technique, the man always keeps the possibility of a relationship alive as a means of getting what he wants. In this method, a man intentionally gives the impression that he's always just on the verge of making a commitment. That way he can keep a woman focusing her attention on him and meeting his needs in a relationship without ever having to actually commit.
Lies, Lies, and More Lies
Some men don't use subtle techniques. Instead, they just lie. I once knew a guy who said that he just outright lied to women, literally telling them whatever they wanted to hear. He was a chameleon and it was working; I'd seen him with lots of different women and each seemed to be crazy about him. This is a dangerous situation because the relationship is built on deception. It's bound to come crashing down, and when it does, it often involves many innocent bystanders.
Provoking fear is the most sinister of the techniques, but some players use it. In this method, a man identifies a strong need a woman has and fills that need. For some women, it may be the need for companionship to fight loneliness, the need for the attention, the need for emotional security, or even the need for financial support. After becoming the woman's source for this need, the man then gains control over her simply by the implicit threat of removing his support. For more on this issue, refer to Chapter 6, "How to Read a Bachelor."
King Solomon Syndrome
Bachelor players are pros at manipulating women. As a result, they usually have a harem. This is what is often referred to as a little black book. But I don't think that term does it full justice. It's more like a harem of beautiful women dancing for the king, each vying for his attention and hoping to be his wife.
The harem illustrates a major principle that bachelor players operate by: the idea that there is always a woman available. If one woman isn't available, another one will be. That's how they can bounce from woman to woman like a honey bee pollinating flowers.
One of the rules given in the book The Rules tells women not to accept last-minute dates. While I don't really endorse that book, because it teaches women to try to deceive men into marriage, I do understand the principle behind that rule. The idea is that a man who can just call up a woman and get a date with her anytime won't appreciate and respect her as much as a woman he has to plan for. I must agree with that in principle. However, I think women shouldn't make a hard-and-fast rule about not being available for last-minute dates. Life today isn't so simple that one can't be open to spur-of-the-moment dates.
Harems are an egocentric idea. They provide the bachelor player with a variety of different women to interact with, depending on his mood and tastes at the time. Some of the types of women commonly found in a bachelor's harem are described in the next sections.
The hotty's job in the harem is to be an ego booster. The bachelor takes the hotty out to be seen with her when he wants people to admire him for whom he has on his arm. Her appearance makes him feel strong and powerful, for surely, he feels, if she's with me, I must be "the man." She has the look and she knows it. Because of her looks, she's been spoiled by many men, and she doesn't mind letting a man know that he'd better pull out his credit card and rolls of cash on dates with her.
The Nice Girl
The nice girl is the one he takes home to mom. He calls up the nice girl when he wants to go to church or have a wholesome picnic in the park. Her role is to be sweet, uncomplicated, and easy to please. She's also a retreat when he wants to get away from the hotty and her game-playing. Or when he desires a contrast from the carnal role of the bedroom buddy.
The Bedroom Buddy
This woman is always available for sex, no questions asked. She's the woman at the other end of those late-night phone calls. She knows the guy she's dealing with is a player and doesn't care because she's playing the same game too. Like him, she just wants easy, no-hassles sex.
The Gal Pal
She's a good friend. He confides in her. More than the other women, she hears his most intimate thoughts. She in essence provides the intimacy he desires, but doesn't place the demands on him that he would have in a relationship. His relationship with the gal pal allows him to have a safe, intimate connection with a woman while pursuing exclusively sexual relationships with the others. This allows him to have the security of always having a female ally who will be there after his flavor-of-the-month flings are over.
For more about the gal pal, refer to Chapter 5, "What Does It Take for a Bachelor to Become a Groom?"
This is a mainstay of the more accomplished bachelor players. The out-of-town girlfriend, using the term "girlfriend" very loosely, is the one he can fly in to see for a hot weekend. Or when she's in town, he can have some fun with her and then she's back out again. Women, beware; while you're in town, he may act as if he's in love. That's easy to do. Don't confuse a weekend of wine and roses with what this man may be like in day-to-day reality. A relationship takes more reality testing than that.
I'm not talking about underage. I mean a youngster in terms of being younger and more naive than the man. Lots of men enjoy the ego stroking that comes from the feeling of being the older, more experienced man in the eyes of an admiring younger woman. It makes them feel important. What's more it makes them feel as if they haven't lost their touch. This scenario doesn't require a sixty-year-old man and a twenty-five-year-old woman. It could also be a thirty-five-year-old man and a twenty-seven-year-old woman. Or even a twenty-seven-year-old man and a twenty-one-year-old woman. The relationship still might have the same dynamics.
The Older Woman
No bachelor's harem is complete without a so-called older woman. It's every young man's fantasy to have an older, more experienced lover, and today this isn't a problem. Women these days don't have to be ashamed of having younger men in their lives. Some actively pursue men many years their junior. Some of these women want a romantic tryst and others are looking for love. This makes it easy for the bachelor player to fill this position in his harem.
The Single Mom
Single moms are favorite targets of seasoned bachelor players. I know that comes as a surprise to many women. But it won't after I explain why. The single mother is busy--so busy that she doesn't have a lot of spare social time. Therefore, if she's dating, she is likely to want to squeeze as much into her free social time as possible. Enter King Solomon. He will use her limited time as a way to get sex without too much face time involved. He also knows that because she's busy, she can't place as many time demands on him as a single woman without kids.
Some guys go a step further. Perhaps having a harem isn't enough. So they move in with a woman who has the qualities they would want in a wife, but they just don't marry her--instead, they play house. They live with her. They may even be committed. But they won't make the big m commitment. I find it an interesting phenomena in our society that people feel so comfortable mimicking marriage but not doing it when, in all practical realities, a couple playing house for any length of time is really acting basically as a married couple. In fact, in some states, such as Texas, where I live, so-called common law marriage is recognized as a marriage under some fairly easy-to-meet conditions. In other words, common sense tells us that a common law marriage is a marriage. Yet the fact that they haven't been required to actually make an official commitment allows many men in this situation to feel that they are free to break away when they desire. Once again, they avoid the responsibility and accountability that is natural and requisite to a relationship.
Excerpted from Confessions of an Ex-Bachelor by William July. Copyright © 2003 by William July. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.