Q: I went out briefly (three months) with an unbelievably charming and confident man who treated me horribly and turned out to be a major player. He canceled dates at the last minute, constantly flirted with other girls when we were out, and had a pattern of ignoring me for weeks, then texting "What’s up?" at 2 a.m. to see if he could come over. I finally stopped seeing him. Two years later, out of nowhere, he nonchalantly sent me a birthday message on Facebook: "Happy birthday, lady." I was enraged. My impulse was to write back asking why he thinks he can treat me so badly, then casually saunter back into my life with such a generic message. Should I? A friend thinks so, as this guy has gotten away with treating women terribly for too long, and somebody needs to take a stand! — Not having it
A: Come on, do you really think this guy is only a player because he has yet to get written notification of the error of his ways? I guess it’s like hitting a pedestrian while driving. Sometimes you simply have no idea until you stop at the light, and somebody frantically motions you to roll down your window, then breaks the bad news. "Gee, thanks!" you tell him. "I thought I was just in serious need of a car wash until you pointed out the bleeding victim spread-eagled across my windshield." You were seeing this guy of your own free will; you don’t mention him arriving at your house, pulling a gun, and snarling, "Dinner and a movie or your life!" Yet, two years later, you must have one tired finger because you’re still pointing it at him. The leopard showed you his spots. In fact, he repeatedly rubbed your nose in his spots, then texted you at 2 a.m. to see if he could pop by for an hour or two to do it again. While it’s easier on the ego to blame him, let’s be honest — the guy doesn’t treat women badly; he treats women who put up with it badly: "Hi, my name is Welcome, need a good place to wipe your feet?"
As for why he thinks he can "casually saunter" into your life after treating you like his backup booty call; frankly, his thinking probably isn’t that complex. Either he was cruising around Facebook and saw your birthday alert — "Oh, yeah ... her" — or, like a used car salesman in a slow period, he went back through his customer list to see who might be in the market for the same old crap. Go ahead and write back — if your goal is giving him and his buddies a good laugh about how, after all this time, you’re still emotionally rooted in his shallow soil. But, you protest, "Somebody needs to take a stand!" Sure they do — against genocide, world hunger, and people who pull out of parallel parking, scrape your back bumper, and drive off. You, on the other hand, need to take a seat and figure out why you stuck around as he constantly canceled dates, macked on other girls right in your face, and ignored you until he needed a little something at 2 a.m. Sadly, self-reflection doesn’t offer the weight-loss opportunity of a hunger strike or the media coverage you’d get by taking up residence in one of his trees. But, reform is reform: Give peace a chance! Speak truth to power! When the phone rings, and it’s him, let it go to voicemail! ("Hey, hey, ho, ho! ’Hey, ho!’ has got to go!") © 2008 Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.
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