The second rule of the field guide is that the undeserving get THROWN under fast-moving buses. By undeserving, I mean anyone who is malicious, hurtful to my crew, strangers who behave abhorrently or someone in my peripheral, whom I have not dated, but who probably needs to be made an example of. I haven't decided if persons in my life can switch categories yet, but I think it's rather childish to go out with someone and then seek revenge against them by trashing them on a website if I feel scorned. So, the answer to that is probably not, although the temptation exists. Trust me, there are moments when I want to take the stories and interactions, find a fast moving bus with Joumana Kayrouz's hideous muppet fucking face on the side and throw people (both men and women) under that bus. Then, I want to do a little jig and wave at their icky corpse. My first thought is usually, "How dare that person insult me in such a manner! Do they not know I could destroy them on the internet and then promote the fuck out of that post?" Then I pause and remember that thinking makes me seem kind of like some sort of wicked witch, or evil dictator and will not cause said person to have increased or more authentic communications with me. Instead, it will cause them to run screaming in the opposite direction and then I will have to live with myself for behaving like a 13-year-old-girl who passed out her diary at school. So, I don't do it.
The rules about who gets mercy and who dies with the lions are still developing, but they're my rules, so they can be as arbitrary and inconsistent as I would like them to be. That very fact makes me want to make them defined and consistent. I like to rebel, even against myself.
With that preface, the topic of this article is the emotional con job. Are you an emotional con artist? Have you been victimized by an emotional con artist? What exactly the fuck IS an emotional con artist? Are they intentionally pulling a con job, or are you just speaking different languages? The emotional con job is a lot more prevalent than I originally thought. There are Emoti-Cons out there, creeping around. We should stop using them and stop dating them. Shall we explore?
"TRAIN?!! Saraswati, you are playing a TRAIN song?!!! Ew. I just threw up on myself. I thought you were supposed to be cool!!! Train is horrible. And the YouTube video starts with a TERRIBLE commercial for Oxy Zit Cream. What the fuck?"
It's true, I don't regard Train to be the next big thing in underground hipster music, but I think of this site as better suited to the slightly more "seasoned" dater. The general demographic of persons who read these articles is more likely 28 to 45 years-old than the 20 to 28 set. I don't think people younger than 28 think they need advice, have enough stories to share or generally give a shit about any of this. They have too long to live, too many people to fuck and they are more or less perfectly happy to live in the mistake making phase, as opposed to the learning from mistakes and laughing about them phase. Hence, the Train song. The Train song is a representation of what this site is sort of about. It's a happy, fun song, about being bruised and continuing forth. Our "bruises", literally make for better conversation. We, dear readers, are far more interesting than 22 year-olds, simply by virtue of the fact that we HAVE bruises (and fail stories and sharper senses of humor and... jobs). So, take the song however you will; take it with cream and two sugars, take it out to lunch, take two of it and call me in the morning or don't take it at all. It's your dime, partner.
No matter what you think of the song, one thing remains and it's that a lot of us got our bruises from emotional con artists.
What the fuck IS an "emotional con artist"? Since I'm not a 14 year-old Japanese girl, until the other day, I'd never heard the word, "emoticon" before. Maybe you haven't either. If you do not know what an "emoticon" is, then up until about a week ago, you and I were in the same boat. An "emoticon" is any dumbass smiley face thing, or heart-y thing, or any type of symbol which is intended to convey an emotion. For a complete list of emoticons, including the FAR more difficult to execute Japanese versions, please refer to the "emoticon" Wikipedia page and then DO NOT go JUMP in front of a bus because you know there is an emoticon Wikipedia page and no one has cured cancer yet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emoticons
As of late, I have been bombarded with emoticons, both in the literal sense and in my much funnier, word play sense. I understand and accept that we are a digital society and that a large portion of our interactions are based on texts, emails and Facebook messaging. I understand that occasionally, tone can be difficult to discern, especially if you are trying to tease someone. I like sarcasm as much as the next gal and sometimes that means you need to add in a little smiley face to take what would otherwise look like a very rude comment and make it playfully bratty. Nonetheless, you motherfuckers have all gone overboard with the smiley faces.
Let me put this in context, okay? Many of us are between the ages of say, 30 and 40. Imagine the year is 1885. Imagine that instead of sending text messages, you communicate with your object of desire via short, handwritten notes, which you both have your servants (most people had them then) deliver to the other. Although I realize in that year, between the ages of 30 to 40 you would probably either be dead or a grandparent to many children, humor me for a second. Can you imagine any fully developed adult with a decent command of the English language, who was full of emotion and desired to coordinate with their paramour, drawing big fucking smiley faces all over their notes with a fucking ink quill? NO, you can't. You can't, because they were perfectly able to convey their thoughts without a retarded, floating, yellow smiling face winking at the other person. Therefore, do not take this the wrong way and feel I am being condescending, but the next time you feel the need to embellish your text message to a member of the opposite sex with an emoticon, please ask yourself the following:
1. What am I trying to say? Is the emotional tone of my message clear without using an emoticon?
2. Am I a 14 year-old Japanese girl?
3. Do I enjoy looking retarded?
Maybe print these guidelines off and carry them in your wallet in case you need to refer to them in the future.
An emotional con artist is someone who leads you to believe something by either intentionally deceiving you, or by recklessly failing to consider the effect their own choices and behavior will have on your emotional well-being. These are people who behave like hopeless romantics when the mood suits them, but they are also either emotionally closed off or selfish, so they can't be trusted.
That sounds vague, so I'll explain. Recently, I had the ABSOLUTE HONOR (I mean that sincerely, no emoticon necessary) of being on the coolest podcast. I got to be a special guest on joelradio.net, which is a semi-weekly podcast by local (and national) comedian Joel Fragomeni. I have to use his real name, because he advertises his real name all over his podcast and I don't think he'd mind. He's a funny guy and for the last several weeks, John Tenney has been his guest. John also has local notoriety (and national) and writes several websites and runs multiple weekly podcasts (among other things too numerous to list). You can hear the episode of joelradio.net where I appear as a guest here: http://www.joelradio.net/2013/04/joel-radio-104-the-best-ever/. You can start finding out about what John does at www.theoddist.com or by going to the Facebook page for Top Tenneys, https://www.facebook.com/toptenneys. The podcast we taped for joelradio.net is funny as hell, thanks in no part to me. John and Joel are hilarious and John had me in stitches that night. It's long, but so is everything I do. Worth the listen. Throw it on in the background at work one day and then giggle while you do whatever it is you do.
During the podcast taping, both of them spilled a little bit to me about their relationship history. I will say this first, both of them are great guys, both of them deserve to find great women and I have very high regard for them both. THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE WHO DESERVE TO BE THROWN UNDER BUSES. They are not getting thrown under a bus. We'll get to that in a second. These are the good guys, I just think they won't mind being discussed here.
They were who gave me the idea for writing about emotional con artists.
Both professed to be romantics, John more than Joel, but they both seemed to believe in love. John was very specific about the feats of romance he's executed over the years. Much of it was swoon-worthy, especially the story with the rocks (listen to the podcast), yet, he is single. Joel was in a long-term relationship with a woman he claims to have loved, but ended it when she pressured him to move in together and ultimately get married. He is 40 years-old. So, what gives?
After listening to and carefully considering everything they said and then re-listening to the podcast later, I think they may both be much more emotionally closed off than they profess to be (or possibly realize). I think they are saying they want real, long-term relationships, but that in reality the concept is so pre-conceived in their heads they get rid of anything difficult, challenging or which doesn't fit their terms. Now, that opinion is based on EXTREMELY limited information, it is INCREDIBLY judgmental and I don't really have the authority to state it. These guys aren't the point though, they are just what inspired me to think about it. Although, I challenge everyone who bothers to read this to give the following musings a mull-over.
I believe there are a lot of people out there like this. I believe that there are a lot of men AND women, running around out there, saying they want one thing, but with secret (possibly subconscious) agendas in their heads. They obtain the gratification which conveying a certain level of emotional commitment or openness provides, but then they ultimately close off, shut down or withdraw, leaving a path of confused or pissed off people in their wake. That sucks.
Going the distance is HARD and what's important to remember is that while you are putting up with someone else's shitty shit, bad attitude, icky habits and emotional meltdowns, they are putting up with YOURS TOO. Really think about what it means for someone to WANT to be with you. When your girlfriend wants to move in or your casual fling wants to define something or someone wants to marry you... hopefully, they have thought about what a yucky piece of garbage you are on occasion and they are signing up for THAT AS WELL. They will WANT to be there for you, no matter what happens, because they love you, but they will damn well want you to be there for them too. When I got married, I knew all the things about my soon-to-be-husband that sucked. What I was willing to do was accept them and at the end of the day just be there to say, "I got you" anyway. Not prop him up, just be there for him. I was willing to do this in exchange for the same thing from him. I was willing to take a deep breath and embrace all the things about him I knew would be hard, in exchange for the promise that he would also embrace all the things about me which I KNOW FULL WELL are difficult. It seems he didn't get that memo. Sometimes, I feel a little conned.
That brings me to the crux of this article. We've arrived at the bus stop. Joumana Kayrouz is on the side of the bus and I have a victim.
My dearest friend was with a man (a term I use loosely and only because he has a penis, which I only believe because she insists he does) for about a year, who I believed was the "one" for her. Their relationship was extremely tumultuous, but their fire also burned hot and I reasoned that they were simply two passionate people and that was how their shit worked. I tried to give her good advice and support her and on occasion I even found myself advising him. I liked them as a couple, so I tried to create a bumper bowling situation to help them avoid failure. Advice from me and $5.00 will get you coffee at Starbucks, so be careful with that.
Unfortunately, the fighting, the drinking and the poor communication between them, amongst other, even dumber things, caused them to break up in January. Although she was crushed, slowly, she started to rebuild and look toward the future. On St. Patrick's Day, this juvenile, selfish, immature, slime ball, made a grand gesture appearance, finding her based on her check-in from Facebook and told her he still loved her, etc. Like an IDIOT, I continued to foster their reunification after the fact, sending encouraging text messages to him and trying to convince her to meet up with him. My meddling ways are nothing but trouble. They did get back together and almost immediately, he promised her the world. He was more in love than ever and he told her they would go ring shopping, they would look at houses together, they would have a big wedding, she would meet his family, on and on and on.
Oh, did I mention he's Chaldean? Yeah, that shouldn't matter and it doesn't, he's a cool guy and ethnicity has nothing to do with it. What does matter is that his family is wealthy and this lazy piece of shit gets a ridiculous amount of money from them. He barely works, but he spends money like it's water. His parents have a beautiful home in Bloomfield Hills on Lone Pine Road and he has multiple European sports cars. Family tradition dictates that Chaldeans only marry Chaldeans and his family made it very clear to him that if he married my friend, the pipeline would run dry. I. Drink. Your. Milkshake.
So, instead of choosing love (or what he CLAIMS was love), and AFTER begging for her back and making many, many, many very serious promises to her, he's decided that money and his family and being a lazy piece of shit are more important. His excuses and explanations are pathetic and believe you me, I took the time to tell him off. Protect the innocent, everyone else gets run over by Joumana Kayrouz.
You could chalk it up to being impetuous, but we're in our 30s. If you know that you have a cultural issue and you also know that you like your family's money, then maaaaayyybbbeee go ask Daddy what he thinks BEFORE YOU PROPOSE TO SOMEONE WHO WAS IN LOVE WITH YOU AND THEN JUST ABANDON THEM.
He says that he can't break family tradition, but I have news for him. It is NOT the 1500s, this is NOT Romeo and Juliet, you are NOT a Montague, you are a self-important, lazy, entitled, child. There are people in this world who would actually DIE for the freedom to marry whom they pleased. There are same sex-couples in this country who would give anything right now to marry the person they loved. You, good sir, won't be with the woman you "love" because you are afraid your family will disapprove, possibly disinherit you and you will have to work for an honest living. What a fucking nightmare.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is an emotional con artist. This is an example of someone who recklessly makes someone believe something intensely emotional and important, without ever thinking through whether they are 100% in on their end. He had no idea what it meant to be all in or all out and the minute things got difficult, he bailed. She is now left wrecked, for the second time, because of his inability to consider anyone but himself. Life is long and it's hard and you don't know what it might throw at you. You might have a sick kid, maybe a kid with Leukemia. One of you might get cancer. You may go through financial ruin. You can't make it through any of that with an Emoti-Con.
Look, it won't always be pretty, but it's easier to do if you have someone with you who you can trust. The road is easier when you're not alone (although there's nothing wrong with being alone sometimes). The problem is, sometimes you're alone even when you're with someone, because they're not all in. Are you an Emoti-Con? Are you with an Emoti-Con? Are you not really an Emoti-Con, but acting like one? Hmm. Self-reflect. Fix that shit.
In closing? It's 2013 and here is my in and out list so far (we'll continue to add to it as the year develops).
- Emoticons (review the guidelines, use with care)
- Game Playing
- Being yourself
- Dignity and Self-Respect
P.S. I told a certain famous, local, award-winning journalist I'd be sure to mention him in this article. I am fully approved to tell you all that he is an uncoordinated dancer, he thinks me wearing the bunny suit is kinky, that I am quite likely a sexual dynamo and until tonight, he'd never heard of "furries". We had a lovely discussion about all of this before he had to go make cookies for the station bake sale. ( ; [that's an emoticon wink]