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Life Arts    H4'ed 2/3/10

Flirting with Disaster

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I have a highly accomplished and very beautiful female friend who I call "Bunny" that might as well have her own theme music playing when she walks into the room. If her large, green eyes and contagious smile don't capture your attention, her ample breasts (even after reduction surgery) will. Driven, funny, smart, blond, quick witted, she can wrap men around her little finger and make a group of them feel extraordinarily special as if she is talking to only one of them at a time.

"Bunny" earned her nickname (not after the Playboy image) after exhibiting particularly disturbing behavior and poor judgment a few years ago. Her Italian lover of three years had broken up with her and immediately began seeing someone else. She would have none of it. By day, she was a brilliant CEO, strategist, tough as nails decision maker and soccer mom. At precisely 5:01, she became obsessive, pathetic, irrational, wild, scorned, crazed, obsessive (oh, I said that already) and "happened" to find herself in the same place at the same time Mr. Ex was, which demanded more than simple due diligence. In short, she was almost stalking him. Via MySpace. I reminded her that she reminded me a little of Glenn Close's character in "Fatal Attraction" and warned her about making bunny soup.

What comes naturally to Bunny is that she can charm the pants off just about any man (quite literally) but she has a little trouble zipping up the relationship deal as result of becoming the crazy lady shortly thereafter. She can round first, second and third base every single time, but the game is always over long before the seventh inning stretch. She never seems to make it home. Then she asks me what she's doing wrong, I tell her and she goes out and repeats her own history. So much for spring training.

I have never been nor will I ever be the most beautiful woman that walks into the room. My hair is not blond, long or cascading (not that this is a prerequisite, but it does seem to help)). My voice is not breathless and I certainly don't convey that I'm helpless without the arm or attention of a male. Not once have I ever emitted even the slightest suggestion that I am a fragile, porcelain doll in need of rescuing. I never possessed that kind of beauty that sometimes peaks at 19, needs an overhaul by 30 and by 45, has a tendency to turn into something less than savory. I actually look and feel better today than I did 20 years ago, but that's probably due to the fact that everyone's eyesight is failing at the same speed as mine.

Don't misunderstand me. I don't look, behave or sound like Danny DeVito's mother from "Throw Mama from the Train". I always looked mature for my age and felt like I was an old soul trapped in a younger body. I had several groups of friends but didn't belong to a particular pack. I always had a number of male friends (including many that were gay long before either of us knew it). I was the voice of reason and the mindful teenager. I was a naturally protective "mom" casting a suspicious eye on the boys who hit on my friends. I listened carefully to the flirting rituals that eventually led to broken hearted, chocolate overdoses. This did not make me very sexy compared to girls who entered wet t-shirt contests or drank enough grain alcohol to guarantee a good stomach pumping. Liposuction wasn't even an idea in those days.


Bunny and I hang out often (together, we have our own theme music) and we flirt differently, looking for and achieving different results. Hers might include frenzied texting for a few days following some wild make out session, while mine will garner business contacts, meaningful friendships or ending up as the only female at a dinner table of 12. She's looking for romance and the road to happily ever after. I am content to be a man's woman, as long as we're not having sex (at least, not with each other).

I love my female friends but I still think many of them are hardwired to hear what men say (kind of) and make one of two mistakes. They either take the words apart and look for deeper meaning that isn't there or, worse, they filter (and redecorate) those words into romantic notions that resemble nothing from the original text.

My philosophy and formula for understanding men is pretty simple. Men will tell you exactly who they are at a pace that is compatible with their comfort level, plus their heart rate, times their salary divided by their IQ. They are not cattle that like to be prodded (or tortured) and sometimes, they are not thinking about anything more mundane than that they forgot to pick up their dry cleaning. Think about that the next time you see a field of them chewing cud, gazing vacantly in the distance. And no, you are not going to change them any more so than you are going to lose those five pounds I have heard you complain about for the past decade. Talk about it all you want; some things don't change.

Being a magician in (or out of bed) is one thing. Being a master of your own delusion is something else. For all the "Bunnies"" out there that still haven't figured it out, if you really want to stop flirting with disaster, I suggest you acquire some male friends (don't sleep with anyone from this group at all) for the pure joy of friendship and unique perspective they can bring to the table. If you can do that, there's a pretty good chance you may even be invited to sit down and join them.

But don't expect candy and flowers on Valentine's Day. That goes for the men, too.

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Patricia A. Smith is a writer and artist (and sometimes both at the same time). A former columnist, restaurant critic and cruise line executive, Smith has lived in London, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, Egypt, Costa Rica and France. She returned (more...)
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