A Lesson For The Ladies

It's funny how life has a tendency to come full circle regardless of how many rivers and canyons you've crossed to distance yourself from its origins. Almost three years ago to the day, I found myself lecturing to a small group of single girlfriends about how to be happily single. I was good at it and anyone who knows me knows that I love to brag about how awesome I am at the 275207543498305 things I'm awesome at. 

Well, here we are three years later. While my accomplishments during that time were many (naturally), the ones I'm most proud of are three: 1. I survived single life; 2. I batted 1.000 in my current relationship; 3. I am deep in the throes of planning my wedding to a man equal to my level of awesome. I know what you're thinking (well, if you know what "full circle" actually means): "Danielle, that sounds infinitely different from your life, then." I can explain. Now that I'm getting married, I have been elevated to the height of a Relationship Icon. My fans are still the same, but my words, which were weighted as gold before, are now as priceless as platinum. 

You see, I played the games, made the playoffs and won the championship...now these ladies want a peek at my playbook. Rather than yell out plays during :30 happy hour time-outs, I promised my girlfriends written rules. The best offense is a good defense; the next 1,551 words are as good as any.

"Wrong, So Many Ways" by Danielle Ciappa

Recently, a very close girlfriend asked me to be her preceptor over a budding relationship. Although honored by the commission, I must admit that I was bewildered by the esteem in which she held my dating skills. "What do I know about relationships," I asked. "For all intents and purposes, I've been single for almost a year!" My self-doubt soon dissipated when she reminded me about an infamous text message that read, "So, I've decided I'm giving you up for Lent." That was probably the funniest thing that I ever came up with on my own, but I digress. Bitchy break-up tactics do not a guy guru make; however, my previous profession did afford me tremendous experience in dealing with all walks of men. Not to mention, my affable personality and genuine affect tend to attract several male suitors, both deserving and not. And that's what got me thinking…what have I learned about men and relationships from being single? 

The answer is: whom not to date.

Before I divulge my pearls of wisdom, let me confess that I, myself, do occasionally (okay, more often than I care to admit) ignore the red flags that I am about to discuss. What sets my dealings apart from those of my cohort is that my actions are conscious, deliberate and calculated, all while being concealed by a demure shroud of feigned naivety, imperceptible introspection and quiet skepticism. In layman's terms, I play like a man, but win like a woman. The dichotomy of my dating disposition, as well as my incredible indifference, makes it possible for me to ignite a good boy's interest and keep from getting burned by a bad one. Admittedly, my fire dance is near impossible choreography for the faint of heart and devoid of rhythm to learn. So for you, my left-footed girlfriends, I have compiled a list, in no particular order, of nine moves to avoid having put on you.

1. He always makes plans at the last minute. He may have several rods on the fire and unfortunately, you might not be his favorite rod. When no one else comes along, only then do you pop into his head. Frankly, some men just like to keep their options open. Those who have several choices available don't want to make the wrong decision or commit to a date too soon in the event that something better might come along. You have to decide if this is something you can tolerate. If you are not that into him either, it may work out perfectly for you; however, if you are waiting by the phone, this may be a sign to move on.

2. He's not taking an active role in becoming part of your world. If a man is serious about you, he will typically make the effort to get to know the people who are important to you. He will want it to be known that he is your man and will usually try hard to make a good impression in front of your friends and family. If he doesn't care about that, he simply might not care about you. If he does care about you, but doesn't want to be involved in your world…well, that's a whole other story.

3. He hasn't introduced you to any of his friends. Okay ladies, this is simple. If a man has not introduced you to anybody he knows, then you are probably not very important to him or his life. Why do I say that? What's one of the first things you do when you meet someone (whom you really like)? Introduce him to your friends or invite him to different functions. Men are not so different from us...if they love having you around, they will invite you to be where they are. And, in the normal course of those invitations, you will meet people who are in his life. If you haven't, beware. Chances are, you haven't met his friends because they will tell his wife or girlfriend about the new company (namely, you) he's keeping.

4. He seldom dates you in public. The answer to this one is in the last sentence of the preceding paragraph.

5. He doesn't call when he says he's going to call. I'm trying to remain objective during this rant, but this may be my BIGGEST pet peeve! Anyway, we all get busy and may occasionally forget to return/make a phone call; however, repeat offenders either can't make a phone call (due to bullets 3 and 4) or simply don't have you on their radar. Ladies, don't take anything less than what you give back. Meaning: if you are good to him and respect him, expect the same treatment back. He should be conscientious of what he says and promises to you and follow through with his pledge to dial your number. Don't be one of these young women whom hang off one guy and lets him walk all over you. The less you make yourself available to some types of men, the more they want you.

6. He doesn't go to events that are important to you. Something that is important to you should be equally important to him. Barring previous commitments or illness, an interested man would want to show his support. If not, then it might be a sign that either he is not that into you, he prefers his friends to you, or he is simply too self-centered to please someone other than himself. If you've really hit the jackpot, he may be a combination of all three. Not cool. 

7. He seldom sees you more than twice a week, and only for a few hours. Is he super busy or are you Play Toy number 7? He might have one for every day of the week, and you only get to see him twice if numbers 1 though 6 are busy. Hey, it happens, but mostly because he has been allowed to get away with it. Just don't be na├»ve and think he is sitting home 6 nights alone (I'm addressing that one too). If this is acceptable to you, then by all means, enjoy your time together when it happens. You will certainly never get sick of each other and who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and "Wednesday" through "Monday" will fall victim to Ebola, leaving him all to yourself.

8. He tries to convince you he's un-datable. This conversation is funny to me, and it always makes me laugh inside when I entertain it. Nevertheless, so many women gush at hearing straight from the horse's mouth that a man is too weird, quirky, eccentric, and insert similar adjectives here, to possibly date anyone. This is his angle, my dears. The most charismatic and manipulative men will try to convince you that they are home 6 nights a week, doing goofy boy stuff that most women would find detestable. The notion is nice and sometimes true, but if he tries too hard to paint himself in a geeky glow, be weary.

9. You only have his cell number after you have been dating each other for a more than a month. If it's been months and you haven't asked him about that, allow me: he's either living with someone else or he doesn't want you calling his house in case he has another woman over. The cell phone he can turn off or set to vibrate, duh. When you are into someone (and not dating other women too) you want her to feel totally comfortable calling you anytime. It shows commitment and openness. If he is not showing these signs outwardly, it might be an indication that you are dating a very "busy" man. If it feels like a duck and quacks like a duck...yup, it's a duck.

Before posting this manifesto, I discussed my revelations with my very forthright man-friend, Michael D'Ulisse who added the following reflection: "[Players] represent all that I think is wrong with the world. People like them have left a legion of women scorned by their antics and in turn, they have learned to expect [indiscretions] from men and emulate those actions themselves. They have ruined numerous women for those who come after them. However 'great' [players] might promise 'it could be' won't change [infidelity] as being part of their past and their [flavor of the month's] future. God, I long for the simpler time of my parents', when love was simple and people were true." Well said, compadre.

We also drew the conclusion that I am successful with men because "I think like a dude." That being said, I have a propensity to hunt and kill with male machismo (albeit, small caliber). I like a challenge just as much as the next man and will pass on an easy shot for the thrill of the chase. This very seldom works out for me, which is probably why I am still single despite my infinite wisdom about matters of the heart; however, those who can't do teach. Ladies, let this be a lesson: do as I say, not as I do. Unless you're up for the challenge, frustration and drama caused by a savage beast, stay away from the big cats and stick to the man cubs.


  said... March 29, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Danielle you are a genius! I agree 100% if I had read this years ago I would have been wiser in my dating times, and then I could have had much more fun messing with Mr. Wrong ;-)

Linnette said... March 30, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Wow! I'm going to pass this along to all my fellow single lady friends. They need to read this LoL! Good job! :-)

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