Q: A close friend of mine just had her heart broken. Turns out, the guy she was seeing was secretly seeing two other women. She was practically living with him and repeatedly asked him if they were a couple. His answers were all very clear: she was the only one and he wanted to be exclusive. But then another girl’s nude selfie popped up on his cell phone when they were at dinner and my friend saw it. What I want to know is: What is the equivalent of slut-shaming for men? This guy is clearly a lowlife, and other women who want a real relationship need to be warned away from him, since he is so deceptive.
A: I do think there is an equivalent for men, though I’m not sure it has an official label – unless people are throwing around terms like “gigolo” or “man-whore,” which sound more like bad jokes rather than a title to warn future women. I think “jerk” works just fine, too. (I must say, however, that the guy must have been pretty committed to playing the game to be stringing along three women at once. He probably read “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” one too many times and thought that’s how cool men act. ) There has also always been that double standard where a guy who sleeps around is heralded a king, while women are labeled a slut for doing far less. But I would say more often than not, women don’t need to worry about creating a warning label for a guy, especially in a small town. If he continues his “lowlife” ways, he’ll do that all on his own.
Q: There is a man living in our neighborhood who has repeatedly beat up a woman he was living with. How should we interact with this guy? He has not moved away and there is no reason to believe that his attitude toward women has changed.
A: My initial reaction – maybe it’s the teenager in me – would be to mess with the guy. You know, TP his house or go real old school and put bananas in his tailpipe (does that even work?). But childish pranks, however satisfying, wouldn’t reach the level of seriousness this situation deserves. If there truly is domestic violence going on at a neighboring residence, call the police or a domestic violence hotline. (A quick Google search brings up a statewide hotline by the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.) In terms of everyday interactions with the guy, I’d simply steer clear. Berating the guy in public would not be beneficial to you or the neighbors, but intervention from proper authorities could be. If all else fails, maybe you know someone like Tony Soprano who could intimidate him while he’s on the golf course.