Today, inspired by a recent discussion thread on female players at BlogCatalog as well as by the vehement responses to "How Single Men Make Women Settle," Singletude acknowledges that turnabout is fair play and takes the single ladies to task.
Admit it, girls, sometimes you have your own commitment issues, and by the time you're ready for Mr. Right, he may be so used to being everyone else's Mr. Wrong that he's afraid to take your heart in case you want it back. In their early and even mid-twenties, a lot of women identify more with the stars of Girls Gone Wild than with June Lockhart or Florence Henderson. They bounce from one boy toy to the next, drunkenly giggling Cyndi Lauper's mantra, "girls just wanna have fun." Marriage and children are the furthest thoughts from a single girl's mind, ranking slightly above the gynecologist but well below that promotion to management, a shabby chic loft of her own in Soho, and a closet full of Steve Madden shoes.
For years, many of these young women are content to date "good for now guys," confessing to their friends that they don't see themselves with Mr. Right Now in 10 years, but he's cute and nice and will do for the time being. Needless to say, Mr. Right Now continues giving his beloved earrings on her birthday, fillet mignon on Valentine's, and roses for no reason at all, never guessing that the guillotine is poised above his head. When it finally falls close enough to shave the hairs off his neck, he vows he'll beware of the next girl who offers him the double-edged sword of love.
Other women (or perhaps the same ones in different circumstances) have a fallback guy, that hapless single friend who gets to buy her drinks and movie tickets for the pleasure of listening to her bitch and moan about the last schmuck who dumped her. Every so often, after Fallback Guy has volunteered the use of his shoulder for a long evening's cry, he will hear that she wishes she could find a guy like him or that she never noticed how cute he is when he's frowning, and his heart will zigzag with the possibility that maybe, just maybe she's realizing what a good boyfriend he would be. But inevitably, she apologizes the next day for "being silly" and calls her ex to make amends.
By the time women reach their twenties or early thirties, it hits them that all the men are gun-shy, dreading the C-word as if it were Cancer, not Commitment. They go on Oprah and write to Dr. Phil and sit down with their therapists to ask why men are so immature, oblivious to the fact that many of these same men were ready and willing to embrace the wife and the house and the minivan years ago but were ruthlessly tossed aside so they wouldn't interfere with her barhopping or her second PhD.
Lest you misread it, this isn't a criticism of ambitious, career-driven women. Female professionals are an integral part of our workforce. They can and should pursue any career path they desire and be rewarded for their achievements accordingly. Neither is this a condemnation of male-female friendships. Plenty such friendships are happily platonic, and if they are not, no one, male or female, should be obligated to date someone just because he or she is a good friend. No, this is a censure of the female player.
Most of us are familiar with the male player. He’s that guy who uses girls for sex. There are, of course, females who use men for sex, but the female player is more likely to be the girl who uses guys for attention, affection, or admiration. Although her objective is different than that of her male counterpart, just like him, the female player wants what she wants without paying the price of commitment. So she lingers in a relationship with someone she doesn't love or makes empty promises to her best guy friend until she drains him of her quota of the three A's, then leaves him high and dry. Not all women are guilty of this kind of vampirism, but many have been players at least once or twice in their lives, and it only takes one deadly blow to permanently wound a victim's heart.Ladies, you know if you're among the guilty. Please remember that it's not right to lead someone on or string him along so you can reap the benefits of love without giving it. If you don't want to settle down, fine. If you don't have feelings for a friend, that's okay, too. But don't pretend that you do, in word or in action. That's when the damage is done. In a culture that insists males keep a tight rein on their feelings, it can be easy for a woman to dismiss men as too emotionally stunted or shallow to care what she does when, in fact, men feel as deeply as women do but may have a harder time articulating it. Just as women are hurt and offended when used by men, they hurt and offend the men they use.
Bottom line: If you don't want to be used, don't be a user. Be honest and direct about how you feel and don't let your actions contradict your words. When you're young, the page you write in someone's romantic history may not seem important to you. But one day you may meet someone you'd give up your single life for, someone you truly love. Wouldn't it be wonderful if he could love you back with an undamaged heart?
If you're a woman, are you or have you ever been a player? If you're a man (or a woman who's had a female partner), have you ever been played by a woman? If you answered yes to either of these questions, what happened, and what did you learn from the experience? What do you think are the differences between male and female players? Do you think that single women make men suffer in the way this post suggests? If so, how do you think this impacts long-term commitments from men?
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