I’ve recently made friends with a womanizer. Don’t worry, the friendship didn’t begin with any shenanigans, so I don’t need a phone call, Mom.
This friendship has become the source of some pretty valuable insight into the male mind. Maybe into the dating mind in general, I don’t know yet. Anyways, we had a conversation about jealousy. Apparently this guy likes to take his girlfriends around his ex-girlfriends to make them jealous. When they get jealous, he says, then he knows they care. I realized that I had seen this same scenario many times, I just hadn’t realized that was the aim. To reveal the other party’s emotional attachment. It makes sense. If someone gets jealous, then yes, it means they want to keep you. But it also means they think they can lose you. They don’t trust you, in fact.
So I present to him a theory. Perhaps jealousy is a step down from courtesy. This guy believes that, with social equality and all that, women should open their own doors and pay for their own shit. Maybe they should. But if you want someone to know you care, you should do small things like that to show them you care. I saw a stooped, white-haired man open the car door for his equally stooped, equally white-haired wife, and help her into the car before circling and getting in himself. My dad does the same for my mom. My sister’s boyfriend buys her-and himself-mementos from their outings, to remember the day. The difference between these two approaches is that one leaves you vulnerable, making you the first to show you care, while the other forces someone to let you know.
This is all theoretical. I myself have only been jealous once, in high school. It didn’t feel nice, though. I remember it still, like an illness. It ruined my day, that spurt of jealousy. I haven’t felt it since, even though there has been occasion for it to be reasonable. I guess I just don’t feel threatened most of the time. If people can glean some happiness, even if it costs me a few sad moments, then go for it. Having learned of that tactic, though, I now wonder if maybe that isn’t part of the problem with society today. It’s okay to this guy that he intentionally hurts these girls, just so he knows something he should have already known. And the part of him that does this is something equally hurt from some other painful thing, brought on by another broken person.
What I’m saying is, Try a Little Tenderness…