WELL? How did it go? Are you in, or are you out?
If you’re in the doghouse as we speak, you probably didn’t rise to the challenge of Valentine’s Day.
Unsure? Need an interpreter? If your love is currently sloping around the house in too-short sweat pants and a stained T-shirt, every so often heaving a gigantic sigh, you either forgot Valentine’s Day entirely or you came up with something lame, like half a bag of movie theatre popcorn retrieved from the back seat of the car. Perhaps you even presented it with an ill-advised flourish and a jaunty “See how much I care?”
Worse yet, you may have posed the disingenuous, if commonplace, question, “Why should Hallmark determine when or how I express my love for you?”
Ah, well. What’s done is done. There are plenty of fish on plentyoffish.com.
Still, you’d best get packing before your ex-sweetie does it for you in that slapdash way where she sandwiches your iPod between your unwashed jockstraps.
You’re right -- I have jumped to the conclusion that you are male. That’s only because it’s hard to picture any guy who’d pout because he failed to receive a pink card rhyming off his numerous virtues and promising him a spa day. Such gals, however, are a dime a doz.
The male-female dynamic remains static in that regard, but in other ways it has changed. Nowadays, sir, if you are guilty of ignoring your significant other while Cupid visits all her friends, you may find yourself internationally vilified. If you are in most other ways exemplary, you might get away without such punishment. But if you are smelly, lazy, tactless, dishonest, unfaithful and failed to give so much as a solitary cinnamon heart to your ladylove, watch your back, Jack. On such websites as DontDateHimGirl.com, Sorry-Mom.com, WomanSavers.com (“Research & Rate B4U Date”) and TheBadBoyfriendClub.com, you may find yourself strung up alongside numerous out-and-out jerks whose charmless peccadilloes are now in the public domain. There might also be an unflattering photo of your face, with or without black bars over your eyes.
These websites are intended as stranger-to-stranger warnings. On WomanSavers.com, which calls itself “The world’s largest database rating men,” members can type in a name and search to find out whether a particular hombre has been assessed.
How much do you want to bet that you won’t stumble on many rave reviews? This actual comment from a man-rater on DontDateHimGirl is as close as you’re likely to get to an endorsement: “He makes cute babies … and is a decent guy if he’s on his meds and stops drinking. Beyond that, RUN! RUN FAST AND DON’T LOOK BACK!”
Alas, the dominant types on these websites tend to be crackpots, criminals and cheaters. But there’s little differentiation made between the undesirability of a guy who is supposedly on a sex crimes registry, and another whose offense is embarrassing his girlfriend in front of wait-staff. And then there’s the allegedly heinous Nathan, about whom we read: “Unfortunately, he is a dentist. Please do not be taken in by his charm.”
My personal favourite entry concerns somebody called TJ, whose face, apparently, “sometimes looks like a dying turtle.” I gather that’s one of his more attractive features.
As you can tell, no holds are barred by the writers on these sites, who not only note hygiene and mommy issues but frankly enumerate all sexual shortcomings. Failing to deliver on Valentine’s Day may be the least of these men’s flaws, but I’d wager it’s often the coup de grace. (Of course, buying Valentine cards in bulk is not a good sign, either.)
Righteous indignation reigns supreme in this particular corner of the worldwide web. While the “bad boyfriends” all seem pretty unappetizing, the girlfriends reporting on them tend to sound semi-illiterate on top of their outrage. There’s little wit here; none of the sites’ editors appears to insist on even a modicum of style.
Naturally, there’s also no admission anywhere that the female contributors may not be prizes themselves. As a matter of fact, one of them claims to have had two children with a solitary miscreant. I think the polite term for her might be “slow learner.”
I’m not sure what the term would be for the lady who advises readers never to get involved with a man who is bipolar: “I met one five years ago who told me he heard a voice in his head telling him I was supposed to be his wife.” Well, I can certainly understand why that didn’t send her screaming for the exit.
You can see the appeal of all this broadcasted bitterness for the wronged or affronted. But isn’t this the modern equivalent of dissing a classmate on a bathroom cubicle wall -- the province of the puerile, the pathetic and the pubescent? Last time I looked, being a “player” or a jackass wasn’t illegal. Why can’t we just chalk up our failed romances to poor taste on our parts, send the offender a subscription to Maclean’s as punishment, and leave it at that?
Who put that detour sign on the high road?
More importantly, who’s to say if any of this vicious drivel is even remotely true? How does a man, innocent or not, defend himself against such a public slagging?
Try to find a similar website about bad girlfriends and you’ll have little luck. There are probably some racy interpretations online regarding what makes a “nasty” gal-pal, and suggestions that such a partner might be ideal in certain contexts. I did find one entry about a woman, posted by a sad cuckolded soldier on DontDateHimGirl.com. But few men seem to waste their time avenging themselves on their former squeezes by griping about their brutal PMS or their trashy hair extensions on the Internet.
That’s a relief. Think about it, ladies. How would any of us like it if we Googled ourselves and discovered that an old flame on a “grotesque girlfriends” site had made hay out of the fact that we like to lick the inside of the gravy boat and can’t do long division? I shudder at the thought of the stinging critiques my long-ago dates could truthfully make, assuming they could remember me at all.
So, do unto others, etc. Reconsider putting your most recent paramour on the modern equivalent of a pillory. Those remaindered bulk bin chocolates you received on Feb. 14th, 2009 were surely mere oversight. Next year he’s bound to do better.
As for you, gentlemen, don’t say you weren’t warned.