I was sitting alone at home on a rainy Sunday night, staring blankly at my television, my thoughts racing in circles trying to understand what had happened with Krazy Girl and all the other women I had met in the previous 10 months. I was trying to make sense of it all when an unusual chill came over me, unlike any other I had felt before. It was coming from behind me.
A giant invisible hand gripped me, picked me up with ease and dropped me into the Arctic Ocean that had appeared out of nowhere. Everything became cold and dark. Natural buoyancy and the vice-like grip of the icy water propelled me to the surface. Thunder and lightning raged overhead in the pitch-black night sky as a vicious wind swept up the waves. Pieces of jagged ice sped past me, carried by a strong current as bigger, dangerous icebergs were threatening to crash into me. I started swimming towards a flatter sheet of floating ice; I knew I only had a few minutes to survive the freezing water. My clothes were becoming heavy and were betraying me, trying to take me under, into the dark, lonely depths below where nothing and nobody mattered.
Between the booms of thunder I could hear voices, chattering voices, women’s voices. I couldn’t see where they were, but their high-pitched sounds were becoming louder.
“Help me!” I shouted out, in a pathetic attempt to be heard above the roar of the storm.
“Hahaha. Hahahaha,” the women’s voices answered, laughing at me, in a cacophony of mockery and scorn.
I tried clambering up the sharp sides of the sheet of ice, pulling myself up as forcefully as I could, but I was struggling. Hypothermia was setting in, my muscles weren’t working as they should; my clothes felt like a dead weight pulling me back into the black waters that yearned to be my grave. With the last of my strength I pulled myself up over the edge, as I did so there was a strange snapping sound. It felt like a piece of me had broken free from inside my chest, morphed out of my ribs and slipped into the eager waters so quickly that I couldn’t see what it was. It was gone forever, whatever it was.
I woke up realizing that my single glass of wine had put me to sleep. Or had it?
Something inside me had indeed snapped and then died.
Months of unrewarding, demanding dating had taken its toll and I was now angry. I was angry at women, all women. I was angry at women because of their seemingly endless messing me around. I was angry at their insatiable need for silly fucking games.
I was angry about all those many pointless nights I spent swapping messages with dozens of women on dating sites that never led to a date because they just couldn’t bring themselves to meet in person. They preferred hiding behind a screen, basking themselves in male attention without having to give or do anything in return. How women had jerked my chain and wasted my time. I was sick of it.
Why couldn’t they just be happy to be with me? Why couldn’t they just accept that I’m a good guy with a lot to offer? Why must they dwell on their past to the extent that they sabotage their present and future and embroil me in that? Why do they treat me with suspicion when there is no reason for it?
Why couldn’t they just want to hold hands as we walked? Why couldn’t they be happy to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon telling each other stories that made us laugh? Why couldn’t it be simple instead of all so complicated? Why couldn’t they be happy and just be looking to add to their happiness?! Why did they have to be so messed up? Why couldn’t they just be normal?! Why couldn’t they be more like me?
Tech Titan was unbearably clingy. Baltic Babe wanted a glorified sperm-donor. Demolition Debbie was still married. The Model was deranged. Miss Indecisive was a serial dater, a female player I suspect. Potty Mouth disgusted me. The Hirsute Russian made me cringe. The German Shrink bored me. Quiet Katie nearly left me in a coma. Sweet Thing wanted me as a slave and dog-sitter in her home. Irish Eyes had her bloody games. NutSlut was an attention-seeking, approval-craving unpaid whore. Krazy Gal, well who the hell knew what she wanted?
It was that last one who really hurt me, the one who did the most damage, because I had got my hopes up.
I had always adored women. I still think that the most amazing creature on our planet is the female human. She is designed for and capable of a multitude of roles, yet still so delicate and sensitive, despite the versatility. I had always thought that women have a far harder time in life than men do. Most men embarrass me because of their weakness. Mother Nature has even decreed a cruel irony in that women tend to spend their last years alone and struggling. Was it because they could cope with it? After my father died when I was thirteen my mother was a single mother, so I know the hardship and even today my heart (what’s left of it) still goes out to the single mothers of the world. I read somewhere that, if a man treats a woman like a queen, it shows that he was raised by one. My mother had raised me to treat every woman like a queen. I revered women, so much so that I had put every single woman up on a high pedestal. They could do no wrong in my world.
I had always thought that the sweetest thing in the world was little girls between the ages of two and four. I couldn’t agree more with Charles Aznavour: ‘Thank heaven for little girls’. To me they are all just so cute, with their big eyes, abundant enthusiasm, their sense of adventure, even their wilful ways. It always made me smile to see a little girl dressed in a chequered skirt, cream cardigan and pig-tails running along, laughing, with an ice-cream in her hand.
Sadly, somewhere along in their development these little girls all seem to fall into the clutches of a Miss Haversham; they become spiteful and mean to boys, determined to play games with them. They develop the mindset and skills that reduce men into mere playthings for them. Men are there to be toyed with, to be accommodated while it suited her, to be played off against another guy (publicly or secretly, it didn’t really matter) and then to be belittled and rejected when the time was right. Little girls grow into young women devoid of respect for men, even before they have life experience of men. Women seemed to think that men don’t have feelings.
The so-called fairer sex were anything but fair to me. The more respect I gave them, the less they appreciated me. My manners and consideration were being mistaken for weakness. Is it possible that I was “too nice”? All those nights of dates where I was the consummate gentleman, pulling back restaurant chairs, opening doors, offering my jacket, making polite conversation, paying for everything. Where did it get me? Fucking nowhere.
A sense of outrage had been accumulating and it finally came out in me. My ex-wife and ex-girlfriend had both deceived me. You don’t deceive somebody you love. Therefore they didn’t really love me; I felt like a fool because of it. Nobody likes feeling like a fool and especially not me. Years of harbouring memories of their deceit seeped to the surface. That mixed with my feelings about my previous dates and an overwhelming sense of frustration bubbled over in my psyche.
I concluded that the nice guy that I am had gotten me nowhere with women. They didn’t seem to value me. Instead, they seemed to want to take advantage of me, to use me. They didn’t want to give me anything, they only wanted to take.
The thing in me that had died was respect for women.
I decided that it was time that I changed my ways and started playing women at their own game.
I harboured out-dated, unrealistic notions about the true nature of women and these ideas were hurting me. You see, I had lived life in reverse order compared to most people. I got into a serious, committed relationship at the age of twenty that lasted until my mid-thirties. I didn’t have that crazy exploration phase that most people have in their twenties. I didn’t go bed-hopping and heart-breaking when I was young. I had skipped all that and consequently I lacked experience and skills when it came to women.
I resolved to improve my skills with women to such an extent that people who knew me would start accusing me of being a player. Yes, that much-maligned male aberration would become a velvety cape that I would slip on when it suited me and I wouldn’t give a damn. No woman would ever again outsmart me, abuse me or hurt me; I was going to make sure of that.
There’s a great line from Californication (for the aficionado it’s season 1, episode 3, minute 5:55) in which Hank says, “A girl knows within seconds whether she wants to fuck, marry or kill a guy” and I think it’s true. I had to stop assuming that the woman in front of me wanted the same things as me. Some of them, perhaps most of them, just wanted to get laid. I hadn’t bothered to find out. All along I had been leaning towards the “marry” angle, a long-term relationship, not just a quick forgettable fumble in the dark to stave off loneliness. The latter was never appealing to me, but perhaps it was time to explore that side of life. Instead of trying to direct the currents of the dating ocean, going with the flow was much easier and who knows what it might lead to?
My father’s advice about there being only two types of women, “Good Girls and Good-Time Girls”, became more poignant. If my date was the latter, I would give her what she wanted and a lot more than she bargained for.
I made a conscious decision that, if I didn’t deem the woman in front of me to be a Good Girl, to be relationship material (I call that Plan A), I would revert to Plan B – to see if she just wanted to get laid, and if she did, to see how much fun I could have with her. It would become a game to see how long it took before I could have my way with her; consequences be damned.
The night of the iceberg dream was the night the idea of all women being a ‘nice girl’ died in my mind, along with the ‘nice guy’ my parents had raised me to be. My White Knight mindset had not served me well and had in fact got me into trouble in the past and it was causing me trouble now by way of unfulfilled expectations – that of finding my queen, The One, and living happily ever after. They were proving to be unrealistic expectations given the environment I found myself in, this crazy online dating scene.
It was now time for me, a whole new me: a leaner, meaner, more selfish me. No more White Knight in shining armour only offering the best of intentions, but instead a Grey Knight, much less shiny and white. A knight still capable of being a White Knight if the reason was there, but now more intent on indulging himself in the sins of the flesh.
Yes, I was going to dive headlong into a sea of pointless pussy. Would I learn to swim or would I drown? I didn’t care.
Either way, no more Mr Fucking Nice Guy…more like Mr Nice Guy Fucking…
Sinnerman by Nina Simone