But the kerfuffle reminded me of something I've known for years: men are better judges of other men's character than women are. In fact, if a woman wants to know what a man is like, ask other men. Even ask his friends. The former will tell the truth and the latter usually do, or look really uneasy if they don't want to.
Unfortunately, telling women the truth about a man reminds me of an old Persian saying: "Never come in-between a woman and her delusions."
When I was in college I lived for a summer in a house with other students, both male and female. There were maybe six altogether since most of the students went home for the summer.
One morning I was drinking some coffee at the dinner table when one girl sat down by me and exclaimed, "I don't like your friend Ralph very much."
I personally didn't care if she liked him or not, but was a little curious why she felt she had to tell me.
"Why's that?" I asked her.
"Ralph showed up one day trying to come in-between me and my boyfriend Tom," she told me. "I think he's jealous." Now I began to suspect she was engaging in some female venting.
I knew the whole story, and now I realized she was deluded as hell.
"Tom's your boyfriend?" I said in mock puzzlement.
We've been seeing each other about a week."
"The reason Ralph came in-between you and Tom," I explained to her with a completely, straight, serious face," is that Tom wanted to get away from you so he called Ralph up and asked him to come over and say he wanted to do something. The reason I know this is because later you wrote Tom a note, on white paper with blue ink, saying you thought that Ralph was trying to come in-between you and Tom. I know this because Tom thought the note was funny and showed it to me and Ralph.
"Tom is not your boyfriend. He's a player and you're a girl he's fucking. He's screwing another one right now. In another week he'll tell you it's not working out between both of you and dump you."
She looked at me with disbelief in her eyes and I knew what was going on in her head. Not only did she not like Ralph, she suddenly didn't like me either, because her first impulsive was to blame her problems on me for bursting her bubble.
"I don't believe you!" she said, which I knew she was going to say.
"How did I know about the note then?" I countered, and got a little angry. "Tom is a player and a coward. That's why he couldn't tell you to leave and got Ralph to back him up. I've told Ralph be shouldn't do that, but he does anyway."
She got up and left, unable to face the truth. I'm sure she hated me for blowing up her groovy little fantasy world in which she had a good-looking boyfriend who was charming and attentive and said he was going to be a doctor and have a big house and some kids and still support his wife in her career.
"I tell them what they want to hear," he once snickered to me. Schwyzer said he told women the same thing.
Some women - a very few - saw through Tom. One said he had "a sneer on his face." And he did, too, because ultimately he didn't like women and held them in contempt.
About a week later Tom told this girl things weren't working out between him and he wanted to break up. She never spoke of it to me again and in fact only briefly spoke to me for the rest of the summer. It's as if she thought my telling her the truth is what made it come true, that if I hadn't told it to her things would have worked out between her and Tom.
I got the impression she wanted to get revenge more on me than Tom, and would have have damaged herself just to get at me. But she never did, probably because she couldn't. I still think in her mind was this: "Bob and Ralph: creeps. Tom: not a creep but for some reason cheated on me, which I will forgive if he comes back." If that's what she was thinking she got everything exactly backwards.
Now that I think about it, the first time I noticed women not listening to other men was when I was 17. Two girls I knew were doing to leave with these two guys in their car, and I warned them not to go. They didn't listen.
I could almost swear I said to them, "You're making a big mistake. You should listen to Uncle Bob here."
About a month later I was at a party at one of the girl's house, where both the guys were there. Suddenly the larger, older brother of the girl showed up and told both of the guys to leave. Which they did. I don't know exactly what these guys did, but it didn't matter. I just knew the girls shouldn't have gone with them. They didn't listen to me, to their detriment.
Too bad fathers and mothers don't tell their daughters that men are better judges of other men than women are. They might want to add women are more influenced by their feelings than men are, but of course these days that verges on blasphemy. Even though it's true.
Both men and women have a tendency to idealize the other sex in a romantic relationship. At first. Then, sooner or later, reality comes crashing down and they realize the other person is not what they thought they were. But they're not told that anymore.
I'd tell daughters (and sons) that the first defense of people is too blame their problems on other people. I'd tell them that charm is nothing to base a relationship one, because such people are often manipulators. And for daughters, to listen to what other men say about their potential boyfriends.