There's a certain kind of man that prowls our city streets in abundance. He's confident, charming and always has a twinge of a smile plastered around the corners of his face, just like the Cheshire cat who tormented poor Alice as she fell down that wretched rabbit-hole. He's self-assured, cocky and satisfied by the dirty thoughts running through his mind as he scans any given location for his latest conquest. Casanova, gigolo, eligible bachelor. There are a number of words used to describe a man of this calibre. He's a skillful slut loaded with swagger, armed with a one-track mind and a black belt in seduction. The guy that makes you feel like you're the only girl in the world when you're actually one in many, whose biggest fear is commitment itself and who probably spends most of his adult life perfecting the art of manipulation.
It's amazing to see how the word "play" has changed over the past couple of decades. What was once an innocent term associated with the folly of youth has now become a dangerous liaison in which so many of us seem destined to lose. The games we played when we were young are quite different in comparison to the vicious blood-sport known as dating, a ferocious duel between man and woman to see whose heart carries the most resilience. The games may have changed but players remain the same, each intention crueler than the next, and with years of unprecedented practice behind them, how is a girl ever supposed to win?
Glamourised by idiotic franchise series such as American Pie and Van Wilder, the gigolo lifestyle is the ultimate status any heterosexual man can ever hope to achieve. The woman he scores at the end of the night is just another toy, a collector's item gleaming up on his mantlepiece of traumatised trophies, and even though the signs of a player are as clear as day, so many of us still allow ourselves to fall hard for these malicious idiots. Surely after years of dating the wrong kind of guy, we would've wised up to know when we are being played. Are we so desperate for love and attention that we'll believe anything these boys have to say or has the player simply upped his game?
Fortunately for Charlotte, she was no stranger to this particular kind of man. Although she fancied the occasional fiddle from time to time, a fool she was not. She had the gift of seeing right through their crystal charm and witty banter, and even managed to toy with them herself. She's the kind of heroine that lets them believe they have the upper hand and that they stand a chance of making her notch number 87 on their already overlapping belt. Did Charlotte possess some kind of super-power that most women wish they had or had she simply had enough and decided that it was time to play the player at his own game?
"There's something about you and I simply can't put my finger on it," Jon smugly boasted as he flirted his way into the conversation. If Charlotte had a dollar for every time she heard that before then she wouldn't be working night shifts as a nurse cleaning bed pans and changing IV drips. Let me think...could it be Charlotte's massive breasts which she aptly named Coco and Chanel or was it the fact that she was young, sexy and the only other single girl at a 50th birthday party? Here was a guy who only minutes ago had introduced us to his girlfriend of 13 months, a fragile woman called Alice who had just been through a messy divorce only to find false hope in this schmoozy schmuck.
Poor Alice would probably have to endure a relationship full of lies for the rest of her life. Behind that precarious smile and devil eyes lived a man who probably had more than one trick on the side, each one more oblivious to his actions than the next. You've got to hand it to them, these players certainly know how to multi-task, what with all the secrets and cover-ups, deception and lies, the simultaneous sexting and long conversations with their "buddies". Guys don't have long conversations with their buddies and if you believe that for one second then maybe you enjoy being played! It's an urban myth, a ruse to make you think he cares and has some sort of depth. True to form, Charlotte received the typical "I have to see you again" text only minutes after they had left the party. We all had a good laugh at his pathetic attempt to woo Charlotte who willingly scrolled down to hit "delete."
If only we could delete these players from our existence entirely, what a wonderful world it would be. Think of all the time we could save on real relationships worthy of our love and affection. Unfortunately, players exist and just like a cheetah rarely change their spots. With so many predatory men disguised as smooth talkers and slick sales execs, how are we ever supposed to tell the difference? As we pawn our way from one asshole to the next I couldn't help but wonder when we'd ever truly find the strength to protect the queen that lives inside us all.
When it comes to the game of hearts, isn't it about time that the players got played?