Kaleb Blake reacts to an article that paints men as devious lotharios, and wonders if blaming men is a way to shrug responsibility for one’s own dating behavior.
I recently read a piece online, titled “Return of the L’Homme Fatale: Have the Good Guys Gone Bad?”—if it were hardcopy, I’d crumple it up and burn it.
Journalist Samantha Brett reports that there is no longer an easy way to distinguish good guys and bad guys. “His tattoos didn’t cover both bulging biceps,” Brett explains, “and he sure as hell didn’t bed me in the back seat of his car. I didn’t meet him out the back of a club, he didn’t have a criminal record and he wasn’t calling me Melissa when my name is anything but.”
Seemingly, this was just a nice guy who, after romancing his prey, would toss them aside like a “used piece of gum.”
Brett continues to refer to this type of man as: “a virus to society,” “the regrettable male,” and an “apparent good guy”. L’homme fatal is the guy who catches you in his “lecherous web” and his “modus operandi is more emotional and controlling than it is physical.”
Well…okay, but it seems to me there is more to this story.
Sure, there are definitely guys who get to know their partners for a couple of days before getting exactly what they want and moving on. This doesn’t make them l’homme fatal…it makes them douchebasg of the 21st Century—they come in all shapes, sizes and genders.
L’homme is actually a lot deeper than this. Like his female counterpart, the femme fatale, l’homme fatal offers a euphoric escape for his victims: a whirlwind of intense emotional and sexual pleasure with just enough room to leave you wanting more. See Don Draper of Mad Men.
While Brett seems to be at the beginning of the right track, l’homme fatal needs more than a couple “instantaneous texts” to get his job done. And contrary to Brett’s point that l’homme fatal is some deadly man in a “good guy” guise, in all actuality it doesn’t matter what l’homme fatal wears—he is what his victims want.
I do agree with Brett on some points. L’homme does tell you everything you want to hear. He does make you fall in love with him. He does leave behind a disastrous wreckage—you. No one knows what made l’homme fatal, but I hardly doubt it has to do “one toxic woman” breaking his heart and him, in turn, exacting revenge.
Essentially, l’homme fatal is that guy you want so bad that all of the danger is worth the ecstasy you feel when you are with him. Sadly for his prey, he leaves them in the dust, confused and bewildered.
Surely Brett could have given even the deadliest of us men some credit by diving more into exactly what it is he provides his victims: the temporary yet perfect fulfillment for that void in his prey’s life—be it sexual or emotional. I like to think of l’homme fatal is something like an Anne Rice vampire. You know the darkness that comes with them but when it comes down to it, the sheer euphoria of the romance compels you to give all yourself (your human life, for the sake of this metaphor) for just a taste of him.
Brett and I agree partially as to what a l’homme is during his deadliest moments, but surely he wouldn’t be bothered by “pretending” to be a good guy—as if being a “good guy” is the only way to be desired. Additionally, Brett fails to give any agency to the women who she paints as victims. Sure he makes you fall in love with him, but in a sense, you were mesmerized by him and in turn let him in.
Finally, just because Brett spent the article trying to conceptualize l’homme fatal, she clearly failed to describe his victims—these “dear single female[s].” How do we know these women haven’t been getting dumped simply because they aren’t really that great of people? By this I mean: Are we to place blame on guys, labeling them l’homme fatal, every time they lose interest in their “victims”? What if the dates just weren’t that good? The conversations were boring? He discovered a deal-breaker on the fourth date? What if after some time he realized you just weren’t the one? What if he actually is a good guy—just not for you?
The article ends with these questions: “Have all good guys gone bad? Is it the fault of modern women for treating the good guys badly in the first place?”
One, no. Two, how would we ever know, and what good is it placing fault? Sometimes people do encounter l’homme fatal, and you would be lucky to identify him and not fall for his traps. But more often than not, people discover what they want—or don’t want—after the first couple of dates, and sometimes that does happens after sex.
If I found myself encountering either l’homme fatal or guys who lose interest in me after a couple dates all the time, I would probably do some reevaluation on my own dating tactics—surely I could work on a few things myself.
The lesson of the day: l’homme fatales are deadly but they are most likely not the reason you keep getting dumped—there are good guys out there, so stop generalizing all men as tragedies because you can’t find the right guy.
Photo of a business man wearing a tie courtesy of Shutterstock