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The Tale of Joe Smooth: Answer Key

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Did you mark down all the places where you spotted the warning signs? See how well you scored below.

"The First Date"

Joe Smooth and I have mutual friends. Heir to a multi-million dollar financial empire, he runs his own business. He is rumored to be witty, charming, brilliant, and similar in appearance to Clark Kent. I am intrigued. I go to a party at his house as the date of one of his employees. Yep, the rumors are true.

And Joe Smooth seems to think I'm a tasty crumpet, too, because he calls me the next morning to ask me out. (1) He arranges a romantic restaurant on the river, deserted on a weeknight. Over dessert he tells me about the sailboat he's just sold. He takes me to an after-hours bar with soft light, chandelier, and fireplace. Over drinks he sits down on the bar piano and whips out a little Mozart. He kisses me in the elevator. And because I am the world's own prime sucker, my heart starts flopping around like a gaffed fish. I drive home with a big silly stupid grin on my face. Saints help and preserve us, I've met The Mythical Perfect Man.

1. Violation of Honor/Respectability Code in failing to clear first date with his employee.
"The Second Date"

After a 12-hour cooling-off period, I email Smooth first thing to say that I enjoyed our date but don't want to see him again because I feel it would be a slap in the face to his employee, who was also a friend-with-potential, and that I would feel awkward about the situation. Smooth waits until 2:00 a.m. the next morning to call me (2) and says he's crazy about me and that I owe him a better explanation. (3) He says he'll fire the employee if that's what it takes to see me again. (4) So I capitulate, and keep seeing him.

2. The World Runs on Smooth's Schedule: 2:00 a.m. Phone Call to someone you've just met? No consideration for MY sleep schedule.

3. Entitlement Mentality: I owe him a better explanation? Already I owe him something? I don't owe him a damn thing, ESPECIALLY not at 2 am!

4. Straight-Up Extortion: He'll fire his employee if that's what it takes to see me again?

"The First Weekend"

Joe Smooth orchestrates a Romantic Weekend in the City, touring me around all the best restaurants, clubs, and hotels, dumping ungodly bales of money left and right. He tells me he is a pilot, and he takes me to his airfield (he calls it "his airfield" . . . as in "come see my airfield.") (5) During the whirlwind tour he confesses he doesn't date much, he only "plays for keeps," because he has a short attention span and likes to have his cake and eat it too. (6) I tell him it's a good thing I'm not husband-hunting, because he just blew it right there. (I'm a big fat liar.)

5. Self-aggrandizement: He doesn't mind giving the impression he owns the airfield. (Ego alert!)

6. Emotional "Hooking": We barely know each other and he is "opening up" and he freely admitting "personality flaws" that he thinks will make him seem more open and endearing. Read between the lines, and he's really telling me the TRUTH - he has a short attention span, he's demanding and he has double-standards.

"Yes, He Actually Said That!"

Three weeks into the relationship, Joe Smooth takes me in his arms, opens his big green eyes very wide, and says, "I really care about you . . . I want you to live a long time . . . please consider giving up smoking." (7) A few days later he takes me in his arms, opens his big green eyes very wide, and says, "Would you consider growing your hair? No? Not even for me?" (8) A few days later he takes me in his arms, opens his big green eyes very wide, and says, "Would you consider taking my name? It would be better for the kids." (9) I answer "no" to all three.

7. Controlling: Okay, in this day and age we might let that little bit of control-freakism pass. But still.

8. Controlling: Yet another control tactic - "Change yourself for me....". Plus, his mother has long hair. (Wants a woman just like mommy.)

9. Pushing for Commitment: Better for the kids? Now we're already having kids, when I have known him for less than a month.

"As Things Progress"

I find out that Joe Smooth runs his own business because he couldn't get hired in any of the regular businesses in our field in this town. (10) I find out he doesn't really have employees, just independent contractors, and at the moment he doesn't have any at all because it was too much trouble to keep track of them. (11) I find out that although he's a pilot he's not licensed to carry passengers because he keeps failing the necessary flight tests. (12) Joe Smooth, child of the leisure class, asks me not to tell his Daddy that he's failing the necessary flight tests.(13)

10. Different Stories Emerge: I found out that HIS version of events are tainted with a Self-aggrandizing spin, judiciously leaving out the TRUTH.

11. Different Stories: Yet another Self-aggrandizing distortion from him to hide the truth.

12. Different Stories: As I get to know him better, I find yet more cracks in the facade. He hasn't been entirely honest with me about the pilot license either.

13. Lack of Independence from Parents: He's scared of Daddy's disapproval? Whoa! Is he 28 years old or 8 years old?

"Sorry, Baby, Mommy Must Has To Work Tonight"

Six weeks into the relationship, Joe Smooth isn't a totally happy camper. He takes me to a yacht show and then to a romantic rooftop restaurant to tell me he's not seeing enough of me. I say I am sorry he feels that way but that I have a heavy work schedule. He installs a desk and a high-speed Internet connection in his house so I can work there. I start driving to his house and spending three-to-four day stints there. (14) Okay, I'm a sucker.

But I still occasionally have to cut short our blissful weekends due to work commitments. Each time I have to, Joe Smooth's hackles stand up and he says it's really a shame that I care more about my career than about him. (15) Joe Smooth says he makes time in his busy schedule for me, and I am terribly selfish not to pay him the same courtesy. (16) Joe Smooth asks me if I want that kind of relationship, where I am always alone on weekends, or married to somebody "nerdy" who doesn't do all the fun things Joe Smooth does. (17) Joe Smooth says he doesn't want a marriage where he is always wondering where his wife is, whether he'll get to see her, and never will, and if that's what it will be like, he's done with me. (18)

14. Control Disguised As Generosity: Now I have no excuse for spending weekends at my own house . . . and like a fool I swallowed his ploy hook, line, and sinker.

15. Guilt, Guilt and More Guilt: Now it begins. Watch it get worse.

16. Double points for spotting this one.
Playing on Guilt to Shift the Blame: The problem couldn't be that he's insensitive to my commitments, could it? (The World Runs on Smooth's Schedule) No... when he doesn't get to see me on HIS schedule, I am the selfish one, not him.

17. Preying on Fear of Being Alone: Implying that without him, I will have no other opportunities for relationships with people who are "fun" and interesting, and that I will be lonely. Unfortunately Smooth does not realize that I am quite content to spend weekends alone from time to time.

18. Abandonment Threats: Threats of leaving if I don't wrap my life around him and his needs. Yikes. No comment.

"Guess Who Needs Therapy?"

When it's good, it's very very good, and when it's bad, it's horrid. Joe Smooth and I start to fight over the fact that I'm soon leaving the state to start a job I had accepted before I met him. Joe Smooth says he thinks I'm The One. (19) His other girlfriends were spineless, shallow, or psychotic. (20) If I really loved him, I would give up the job and stay here with him. (21) Alternatively, I would give up the job and move with him in a new city, so that we were "both putting something into the pot, both sacrificing something to start fresh together." (22) I shrug and invite him to come with me to the new state. Not acceptable, of course.

19. The "You're Special" Syndrome: Implication that nobody else but YOU is right for him, and vice-versa. "The One" REALLY means "The One to Replace My Mother".

20. Double Points: Trash-Talking-the-Ex's, and All-his-ex's-are-Psychos red flags. He thinks he's demonstrating how special YOU are, but what he's really doing is telling you he hasn't been able to have even ONE healthy relationship in the past.

21. "Prove You Love Me" Syndrome.

22. "Prove You Love Me" Syndrome Disguised as Compromise: He's asking for SACRIFICES, not compromise.

When he finally gets it through his thick skull that I won't give up the job, Smooth tells me sadly that relationships need compromise, clearly I don't understand that, and that he's been too good to me to be treated this way. (23) He suggests I go into therapy to get my priorities straight. (24) Ten days later he asks me about it; I lie and tell him I'm seeing a counselor. (25)

23. Playing the Martyr: He's the VICTIM who has bent over backward, and I'm the uncaring wench who doesn't deserve him...

24. Rescuer Syndrome: Condescending behavior - He supposedly knows me better than I do. I am the one who needs therapy? By God, he actually had me believing it. (also Playing on Doubt to Shift the Blame)

25. Mirroring his bad behavior: When you find yourself lying to "keep the peace," for heaven's sake, get out! Five Bonus Points for this whole section: Note that Smooth's control behaviors escalate in both intensity and nastiness as he realizes that my intent to keep this job won't change.

"You Didn't Take Me to the Prom"

I tell Joe Smooth I can't see him Saturday night because I am scheduled to attend a professional event to attend with a colleague. Smooth gives me the silent treatment for a week, then breaks up with me because he is "reeling from the insult" that he was not my date. (26) To nurse his wounded spirit, he schedules a month's vacation getaway to another continent. (27) He leaves on a Monday. I have Monday meetings, so I offer to see him Friday night to wish him farewell. Joe Smooth decides that's not good enough and cancels Friday's date at the last minute, with the remark that until a few minutes ago he had planned to set aside time this weekend for me, but that since I could not pay him the same courtesy, he didn't want to see me at all, ever again. (28) But he hopes we can "still be friends" when he returns to the United States. (29)

26. Double Points: Silent Treatment/Withholding/Abandonment, and Possessiveness/Jealousy

27. Double Points: Double Standards plus Withdrawing. I am selfish when I cannot spend a Friday with him because of work, but he feels perfectly free to schedule a month's vacation outside the country and lets me know that he is going away BECAUSE of me.

28. Multiple Bonus Points for this one:
A) "Punishing" you for perceived infractions: He feels it's within his rights to "punish" you for not living up to his expectations.
B) No-Win Setup: No matter how much you do, it's never good enough.
C) The World Runs on Smooth's Schedule: My meeting schedule couldn't matter less.
D) Playing on Guilt to Shift the Blame: He is the generous one, I am the selfish one.

29. Contradictory Comments/Headgames: Reserving the right to continue his antics at any future time.

By this time my heart's no longer doing the merengue when I hear his voice, believe me. So when his jet crosses the International Date Line, I heave a huge sigh of relief and set about getting back to my life. I do some Internet research and take a few minutes to examine what on earth led me into that relationship, and why on earth I let it go on so long, against all warning signs and against all common sense. I guess there is a first time for everything. Never again.

Epilogue

It's not quite over, bless his dark and scheming little heart. A couple days ago I received Smooth's email from some anonymous banana republic Internet cafe. The games continue, even though he's thousands of miles away. (30) He wrote to me, and he picked out the best postcards for me, but he never sent them because he is so bitter, angry, disappointed, hurt, et cetera, ad nauseum. He is "more sorry than he can say that this didn't work out," but maybe it will in the future when "our priorities are more in line." He doesn't want to hear from me unless it's an apology, but he will always wonder what life would have been like if I had made different decisions. He hopes I will come visit him when my life is more settled.
Love, Joe Smooth.

30. 5 Points for spotting all the ploys in this one:
A) Obsessive: He's still making contact in the hopes of hooking me again. He's obsessed and can't let go.
B) Punishing/Withholding: He's letting me know about the things he is withholding from me because of how *bad* I have been.
C) Blaming/Playing the Martyr: I'm the cause of his anger/hurt/disappointment. I'm the reason things didn't work out...
D) Preying on Insecurities/Doubt: Implying that MY priorities are out of line, that I'm the one losing out, etc. etc.
E) Controlling: Defining the parameters by which *I* can contact him, including stipulating that I must apologize and change my life.

This bloodsucker won't let go until he finds a new victim. (Typical Emotional Blackmailer Behavior). I am sorry for that anonymous innocent female out there who doesn't yet know she's next on his list. I hope she has the good sense to kick him in the teeth by or before the third date.

So the fat lady's still singing, and will probably continue to sing until this high-test predator finds a new victim. I just thank my stars for the out-of-state job and the delete-key. He will always wonder what life would have been like? Yeah, so will I. I will shudder each time I contemplate it.

Total Possible Points: 41, Give or Take a Few.
Copyright© Heartless Bitches International (heartless-bitches.com) 2000, All Rights Reserved

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