Why, when a man advises you not to have sex with him, it’s a really good idea to listen.

Last Friday at sundowners in the Courtyard of Iniquity (the home of my neighbour-friend where we frequently gather to let off steam) a forty-year-old divorcee whom we’ll call Craig started entertaining us with stories of singledom – who he meets, what it’s like out there and what the new rules are for dating. And what amazed me is that even though the women he’s seeing are older and ostensibly wiser – having travelled around that proverbial block more than twice – their stupidity and naivety are nothing short of amazing. While Craig is a nice-looking guy with a good job and a sexy car, it takes around 7 seconds to work out that the man is a bona fide dog. And I say this with affectionate because I like him. He’s warm, open and engaging. But if I was a single woman I would avoid him like the plague.

Because, not only did Craig’s marriage end because he was a serial cheater (leopards and spots, friends, leopards and spots), but because it’s patently clear that he has the morals of Hugh Hefner and less than no respect for women. But now before you start feeling sorry for the hapless girls who stroll into his favourite drinking hole den, here’s the rub: at no point does this man attempt to hide the dogness of his ways. On the contrary, when he meets a woman whom he knows is only good enough for a shag and will never, ever be anything more in his life, he tells her upfront. Not in Arabic or code or veiled language, either. What Craig says is this: ‘you do not want to sleep with me. I am a dog. I am the kind of man your mother warned you about. Take my advice, and don’t go there.’

And what do these women do? Do they go, ‘at last! A man who is honest about his intentions. I do not want some arsehole who won’t call the next day, I want a husband. So, best I move along swiftly. Goodbye, player guy, I was made for better things.’ Nooooo. They whip their knickers off faster than you can say La Senza. They love his admission; they lap it up. Turns out, it’s the best line he’s ever used. It’s foolproof. Then, when he doesn’t call (like he promised he wouldn’t), they are incensed. They hound him, leave furious messages on his phone, demand to know why it meant nothing to them. What is going on here?! What part of English are they not understanding? It’s truly the oddest thing.

All we could work out that night was that either they don’t believe him (mistake), or they see it as some kind of challenge – I’ll be the one to change you. That’s how amazing I am. Needless to say, they end up getting burnt. So, the moral of the story is this: in the first half hour of meeting someone they’re going to tell you who they are. This is the most honest he will probably ever be with you, so play close attention to what this guy chooses to reveal. Later, in the heat of the moment, you’re deliberately going to forget, and then the disappointment that follows will be your own damn fault and you’ll be phoning him and crying when you knew all along. There are as many different kinds of guys out there as there are women, but one thing holds, irrespective: when a man advises you not to have sex with him it’s a really good idea to listen.

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