The internet is replete with articles purporting to offer sage advice as to whether that chap you’ve been eyeing is into you. The giveaways typically consist of such compelling no-brainers as, “he looks at you with puppy dog eyes”, “he holds your hand in public”, or “he introduces you to his family and friends as his girlfriend.”
While all that saccharine jazz may indeed ring true for the well-adjusted sort who eats five servings of vegetables a day and calls his mom every Monday at 6:00 P.M., it doesn’t necessarily apply to the enigma that is the damaged and dysfunctional man. This class of homo sapient is a breed unto itself. He is a wounded soul, a broken arrow, and most likely suffering from a gnarly yet undiagnosed “Cluster B” personality disorder.
Why would anyone want to date such a man, you may ask? While that issue is perhaps best reserved for another whole article, there is one of two possibilities. Either you, like me, have been sitting on the therapist’s couch so long that your ass has left sweat marks on it, or you have a sick, self-destructive desire to eventually take a seat next to me on said couch. But hey, dysfunctional people need love too.
So, how exactly do you know that you have drilled your way into the dysfunctional man’s scarred and black heart? You’re fairly close compadres, you see him many times a week, and you consistently bump uglies. Notwithstanding, the man vehemently insists that he has no feelings for you. Yet, your intuition tells you that, much like Justin Bieber in a rented Lamborghini, he’s riding dirty.
1. He’s a Social Networking Troll
The macho dysfunctional type is allergic to Facebook, or, more accurately, your friend request. He doesn’t want to give you any rose-colored fantasies of future coupledom, nor does he wish to tip you off to the existence of any other sad contenders for his calloused hand. However, he still burns like venereal disease to see your full, unadulterated profile, complete with up to the minute check-ins and “taggings”.
The damaged man will handle this conundrum by “cat-fishing” you. One Saturday at 3:37 a.m., you will receive a friend request from a Roy Watson. Mr. Watson lives in A Random Town in the Midwest about three Jet Blue stopovers away from you. His Facebook “friends” consist of a Sylvester Stallone tribute page, and your three closest male friends, two of whose pages he has creepily “subscribed” to. The lazy dysfunctional man, who can’t be bothered with creating Roy Watsons, will simply suggest that you friend request his best wingman, because his friend “likes to be friends with a lot of hot girls”. Yep, okay.
2. He’s Mr. Passive Aggressive
Sure, he urges you to date other people. But no, you’re not really supposed to. In his twisted cognition, your purpose is to sit there and wait until he is damn good and ready to present you with his 4×4 Star Wars themed Valentine’s Day Card. He feels entitled to his secret little hurt. He holds it next to his chest like a tattered teddy bear. As a means of punishing you for the malicious wrongdoing of actually taking his advice, he will act out his aggression passively.
For instance, after you tell him you shared a soda at the hop with the Fonze, he promises to fix your sliding closet doors. A few days later, you gently and lovingly remind him of the task. “But you said you would help me fix this closet?” One week later, he forgets his tools. Two weeks later, his back hurts. Three weeks later, he straight up doesn’t feel like it. Four weeks later, he wholesale denies ever promising to fix your closet, leaving you irritated and speed dialing the handyman.
3. He Plants Seeds of Hope for the Future
The repressed, non-committal masochist is often quite adept at the art of conversation. He appears congenial and concerned. However, beneath the thin veneer of diplomacy lies a calculated intention – to keep you hopelessly ensnared in his energy field.
To that end, he will casually and inconspicuously drop tiny seeds of hope in your already confused mind, which seeds he knows will germinate into oak trees of rumination and analysis. He will mention having visited a trendy area of Brooklyn, and how he could see himself living there one day and raising children. He will then proceed to inquire if you have ever visited that area of Brooklyn, and, if so, would you ever buy property there? Do you want children? How many? Do you believe private schools are a sound investment? You get the picture. This is all done with absolute premeditation towards keeping you dangling on a tampon string while he sows his royal oats all over the tri-state area.
4. He Kills an Inordinate Amount of Time with You
He professes to have zero interest in you beyond your sexual prowess, yet he follows you around like a forlorn service dog. If you work with him, he will arrive early and spend his pre-clock coffee time longingly gazing outside his office window, eagerly anticipating your arrival. The blinds on said window are broken and bent from his coffee laden hands ripping them apart in desperate search of your Hyundai Sonata.
When you finally do arrive, he grabs the mail key and runs outside to the mailbox, full well knowing that it is only 9:23 AM, and the mail never arrives before 11:30 AM. He accosts you in the parking lot, where he laments the postman’s tardiness and follows you into the building while inhaling your perfume. He then invites you to his office for a quick cup of instant. The ten-minute java break becomes a virtual five course meal overlooking the Italian countryside, during which time he probes you for your opinion on everything from euthanasia to his facial hair until the search party your boss organized finally finds you.
5. He Throws “Mantrums” at Any Slight Odor of Rejection
The emotionally handicapped man is hypersensitive to any form of rejection, whether perceived or real. To him, a missed call isn’t just a missed call. It’s a travesty, a betrayal. Again, he will either seethe in passive aggressive silence by deliberately ignoring your return call less than four minutes later, or will answer the same on the fifth ring with the hostility of a self absorbed premenstrual teen girl.
You: “Hey, you called?”
Him: “Yep. What you doing? It must be something real important”.
You: “I was at the Christmas Tree Shops”.
Him: “The what?”
You: “The Christmas Tree Shops. I needed some candles”.
Him: “It’s friggin’ August, why are you shopping for Christmas candles?”
You: “It’s not actually a Christmas store, that’s just the name of -“
Him: “Ok, you know what? I’m going to go do me, you go do you”.
Click. Okay there, buddy. Breathe deeply and count to three.
6. He Interrogates You About Your Dating Life
The dysfunctional sort will attempt to extract specific information about your dating life beyond the macabre little dance that is your relationship. This information will typically be sought out within the first three minutes of seeing him, and with the subtlety of a Mac truck going 100 miles per hour. “So, how’s Darius doing?”, he casually asks. “He is well”, you report. “Good, good, good for you”, he nods. “You deserve to be happy”. A long, awkward silence ensues as he eagerly waits for you to extrapolate on your dalliances with Darius. You refuse to take the bait, and he begins rattling off questions like an un-medicated kid with ADHD and a paintball gun. What is the Zagat rating of the last restaurant Darius took you to? Did he order for you? Did he order house wine or wine from the wine list? Better call a lawyer unless you plan on being interrogated for the duration of the evening.
7. He’s Lax on Birth Control
Call me crass, or more pointedly, totally irresponsible. I won’t argue the point. But if he knows that you aren’t on any method of birth control, yet has no qualms about taking orgasmic liberties with your vaginal canal, this backwards bachelor foresees a future not just with you, but your potential demon seeds. He wants to create a picturesque suburban house of cards based on a mind altering, infinite dose of L.S.D. – lies, secrets and denial. Just think of all the possibilities in terms of the Karpmann Drama Triangle alone! “Okay, Joey. Today I will play enabler, you play the victim, and Joey Jr. will play the Rescuer. Then, next week, when your mother comes, you and Joey Jr. can switch roles”. Throughout the course of your union, you will never need a vacuum, much less a $700.00 Dyson, because all of your dirty laundry will be either swept promptly under the faux fur living room carpet or dumped on to you for “trapping” him to begin with.
8. He has More Projection Going on Than a Movie Theater
Your quasi-boyfriend likely knows that you think he’s the cat’s meow. However, instead of gracefully and appropriately acknowledging your admiration, he insists ad nauseam that you are obsessively pining for him. In his grandiose mind, you have an altar erected in your basement in his honor, complete with fragrant incense and foodstuffs as offerings to the gods. He sounds like a skipping CD of that annoying yet infectious “Pit Bull” song “I Know You Want Me”. “You’re like, totally obsessed with me”‘, he scoffs. “I know you are. I bet you think about me every night before you go to bed”. Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. But it doesn’t take a degree in abnormal psychology to figure out that your on pretty heavy rotation in his romantic fantasy file.
9. He Scans Your Stuff Like an Airport Security Guard
Males of this variety are covert control freaks. Unlike the stereotypical “bad man” in a Lifetime movie, the damaged man will slyly keep tabs on you. He is suave, and, to the untrained eye, entirely inconspicuous, much like an off duty police officer in a seedy club. He would never be so bold as to demand information from you, as he does not wish to appear as psychotic as he really is. To that end, he will casually glance at the notifications on your Android, albeit under the guise of looking at your nifty and useful apps, one of which he may potentially download. He will scan the return labels of mail left on the table in your foyer, the contents of unlocked bathroom cabinets and drawers, and any online account for which you made the costly mistake of checking the box “remember this computer”.
10. He Announces That he Owns “IT”
This one is the clincher, the Big Kahuna. I’m not talking about that terrifying clown from that Stephen King book/movie, I’m talking about the other IT. One snowy evening while you’re having sexy time, particularly of the less tender sort, he grabs your hair and pulls your head close to his. He breathes heavily in your ear for a few moments. You sense that something epic is about to happen, but you’re not sure exactly what. Will he finally tell me he loves me? Is today the day he will he ask me to be his woman? Your fantasies of the two of you honeymooning on Bora Bora are rudely interrupted by his most surprising proclamation. You’re not sure whether to slap him on his red, sweaty face, or to continue fantasizing about the private hut on Bora Bora. You decide on the latter. You’re the Jane to his Tarzan, and woe to the poor soul that dares tries to disturb this primitive pair bonding.
This article is intended to be humorous and slightly facetious. When I refer to the “damaged man”, I am referring to a guy with a good heart who is a bit damaged and perhaps dysfunctional on account of his upbringing and/or a failed past relationship. I am not referring to someone that is intentionally hurtful, cruel, abusive, and/or sadistic. This article is in no way intended to condone or endorse any emotional, physical, financial, or other type of abuse by any person against another.