I met him about 40 years ago. He was a funny, handsome (by some/many standards), charismatic young man. He was my friend, AND I kept him at-arms-length. I was married but even if I had not been he could not have ever been more than my friend. He was involved in a serious relationship and then there were the others. Oh, how he enjoyed the others. His horrible mantra was “8 to 80 blind, crippled, or crazy…” Now I know one might read this and already think they know my friend. One might wonder how/why I would call him my friend. One might wonder why I am even bothering to write about him. Well, the first thing that must be conveyed is my friend is merely a metaphor for a particular type of man and this is the story of how we can all find ourselves involved with this guy in a fashion one would have been willing to wager, would not/could not happen.
He walked onto the workroom floor in a way that let you know he was trouble. Then he’d flash his smile or pick up a heavy package or hold the door. You’d find yourself thinking and or saying, “You are so sweet”. I laughed as I saw my co-workers fall for him one by one. He had his pick, and he was by no stretch selective. He was an opportunist’s opportunist. Due to his nature, he did try his tactics with me. He did find I was a person of my word. He did not have time to alter who/what he was. There was a plethora of opportunity around, AND they were FAR less trouble. Thus, we became friends. He and I had philosophical discussions of the ills of his behavior, treatment of women, and his disregard of relationships. In my 20’s I pegged him, I also pegged his kinder, more subtle counterpart (the classic wolf in sheep’s clothing). Yet, through-it-all the reality of the situation, was we were all friends.
Years later, miles apart I discovered my friend had passed away from a heart attack. I found out from his counterpart, who continuously denied being anything like his buddy, all the while demonstrating he was exactly the same guy. It was no surprise (to me) that I did end up being personally involved with the “wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” once I was widowed. I walked into it with my eyes wide open. I did fortunately escape. Even though I did not really want to escape. Nothing would have pleased me more than to be the one that captured the “wolf”. However, because I had been so “close ” to him, I could NOT ignore the signs.
As I fast forward, as I look at yet another archetype…I do wonder HOW I found myself involved with a new “wolf”! Too old, too smart, too sophisticated, too experienced for such nonsense to take place…yet it did. I can happily and not so happily say, I got out with minimal damage. I cannot help but send out the warning. It is as in all situations, someone doing something bad makes it hard for a righteous person or one trying to do the right thing. Somewhere out there a true gentleman, a true romantic, a truly good guy will have to be subject to scrutiny and suspicion Additionally, possible good relationships will be jeopardized and ultimately fail because of these bad actors and the need to protect our hearts, souls and purses. Be safe out there ladies, the wolves walk among us. They can appear to be sweet, chivalrous, good, kind, and yes church-going-fellows…BUT they are by no stretch GENTLEMEN.