Hate The Game And The Player: Dating Dishonesty And Taking Revenge

I think we can all agree that being cheated on isn't fun. But you know what else sucks? Revenge.

Lisa Hennessy and Sarah Velecky didn't know each other until they had the misfortune of dating - and falling in love with - the same man. Paul Marshall told both women that he was exclusively theirs, but when they met up to compare notes (The Sun doesn't make it clear exactly how they found out - something on Facebook?) they realized that Marshall had been doing a lot more than just cheating. He spoke with Hennessy about marriage, and dated Velecky for over a year. He also received stuffed animals from both women, which, in a particularly tacky display of cheapness, he switched and regifted.

How did Hennessy and Velecky react? By plastering his neighborhood with fliers that read: "To all you single ladies out there: Beware of this man." Although I thought it was funny when Samantha did the same thing on an episode of SATC, their "revenge" plan really kind of sucks. Yes, Marshall did a crappy and dishonest thing, but they are taking a private matter and making it very public. No one deserves to be shamed about their sex life, and that is, in essence, what they are doing. Furthermore, the scorned woman motif has got to die (are you listening, YaVaughnie Wilkins?). It grants women a certain sort of power, but one that is predicated on the actions of men, and exists only as a response to their mistreatment. Anger is justified, but we need a better way of expressing this than scheming and plotting revenge.

But Hennessy and Velecky have learned a valuable lesson, one that is brought home by another piece on online dating in the NY Post. The Post profiles Matt Prager, a 42-year-old therapist and dating-ghostwriter who manages the profiles of his "clients" and provides them with cheat-sheets before their dates (before we forget, the aforementioned lesson is this: Dating sucks). What Prager and his customers are doing is no where near as bad as what Marshall did, but it underscores the fact that dating has been made into an elaborate game, one with no clear winners. Prager, Mystery, et al. are just symptoms of a larger, much older sickness, which views the process of finding a mate with an archaic sense of all's fair, and a weird obsession with blind conquests. Prager doesn't just help his male clients lie their way into love, he represents them entirely - he deals with all the boring talking and getting to know you shit so that these dudes don't have to. He makes a career out of faking his way into relationships, which he then exits, so the real catch, who is too busy or too nervous to even email a prospective lover, can step up to the plate and reap the rewards. And if you're not already convinced that this guy is a prick, here's what he has to say about women:

"I think women need more help than men do," he admits. "Women know how to market themselves in person, but they don't know how to put it into words."

And:

I think that the women of the world should be praying it's me on the other end and thankful that I'm here doing this for them.

He seems to forget that he might be the guy on the "other end," but that's just temporary. Soon the real-life romeo will take over, the woman will (eventually) discover she's been lied to, and possibly go on to plaster the city with fliers. Good thing Prager preempted this move by going public - we need no other warning to beware.


Girls' Poster Warning On Romeo Cheat
[The Sun]
Cyber Cyrano [NY Post]

Image via Wikipedia Commons