(This article appears on GenY news website 5why . For more Kat James articles visit 5why.com.au).
My name is Kat, and I’m a man-eater.
I try not to be. I try really hard. But something about my recent hard luck in love and the inherent vulnerability of the men I seem to attract means that I’m somehow unable to resist the urge to grab on for an exploratory bite, and once I’ve got a hold it’s all I can do to minimalise the carnage.
My ex-husband left me a year ago for another woman after a tumultuous seven-year relationship that included a marriage even shorter than Kim Kardashian’s first foray into matrimony, and ever since then I’ve been punishing men. Poor men. Swimming and splashing and laughing in the seductive and glittering waters of the dating scene. They never see it coming. Good times turn to bloodbaths in the blink of an eye, and the only person left laughing is me.
I was what my ex-husband himself referred to as ‘perfect’. I paid my share. I organised dinner parties. I was delightful to my diabolical in laws and I cheerfully waved him off onto alcoholic and drug-fuelled binges with the lads every weekend. I made a devastatingly good lasagne and I talked politics with his bosses with charm and wit. I was sweet, sexy and pliable as double chocolate cookie dough.
It wasn’t enough. And in turn, I’m showing the men of Sydney that they’re not enough for me. No matter what they do. No matter how hard they try. I’m hard candy, baby, and when I finally break I shatter into dangerous, gum-shredding splinters. It’s an addiction I’m trying to sate.
My modus operandi is to find men online, encourage them to fall deeply and uncontrollably in love with me as soon as I conceivably can, and then I dump them; without warning, without mercy, like a black-eyed monster rising violently and unexpectedly from the shadowy depths. Often, I do it by text, and I try to find a reason that is as minuscule and understandable as I can.
I dumped a man because he interrupted my friend. I dumped a man because he was too short. I dumped a man because I reached over during a movie and grabbed his arm and he jumped in fright. I dumped a man because he said ‘Permission to come aboard, mam?’ during sex. Twice. Actually that one was probably justified. I mean wow, dude. Way to throw off my groove.
I think part of my murderous rampage, my moonlit serial-killer spree, is vengeance for mistreatment by my husband, but the other part is confusion at who I really am. I met my husband when I was nineteen and allowed him to construct my identity, so for seven years I lived as the delightful, bumbling sidekick to a self-proclaimed hero who demanded a yes for everything.
I was convinced that I was stupid, that he needed to manage our money, our careers, our future plans, because I didn’t have the vision to make my own way in the world. In a day, I was handed back the wheel to a life I’d never learned to drive, and now I have no idea where I’m going or how I’m going to get there.
I’m terrified of giving anyone else a smidgen of steering power, in case I lose control again. I warn men off my wheel with growls and snarls, and if they keep trying to reach out I karate kick them the hell out of my car at high speed.
I have the feeling I’m not alone, because I hear tell of ‘psycho’ women who are ‘only out to mess with men’s heads’ from my potential victims (before they know they’re speaking to one). I guess I’m here to advocate for all the ‘psycho’ women. Men have plenty of ways to get over their hurt, a hurt they’re never encouraged to acknowledge in the first place. They drink and fight and sleep around, punch walls and bond with their broken friends.
Women are different.
A drunk and promiscuous woman on a tear-stained binge with her mates is looking for trouble. I reckon I could land a solid punch to some freshly-painted plasterboard, but I just paid fifty bucks for this manicure. I’ve spent years cultivating the image of Ms. Success with my friends, so I’m not sure I want to bust it open right now by revealing how scared I am. The Boulevard of Broken Dreams is a lonely place for the single woman of 2013, so don’t let anyone tell you that you’re psycho just because you don’t know how to act anymore.
I have a date in two days time with another of my potential victims, but this time I have a plan to ensure my unsuspecting little swimmer makes it safely back to shore. I’m not going to struggle to make sure he knows how successful I am in the couple of hours we’ll sit down to dinner. I’m not going to hint at trouble I’ve caused before with the legions of men who are magnetised to me, and I’m not going to spend hours working on my dark, delicious, devil-in-a-blue-dress appearance.
I’m not going to set minimums for his income, his height, whether or not he pulls my chair out and whether or not he swears before I do. I’m not going to bait him into arguments he can’t win and then back him into a cage of his own ill-built logic, however incredibly fun that little game has proved to be.
I’m going to take a deep breath, have a great time, and be the happy, hilarious and slightly odd-ball Kat I used to be. It’s a decision, going against what my nature is telling me, but I think every now and then we need to question the animal we’ve become and see if we can’t evolve into something more beautiful. Because if there’s one thing I know about clever, new-age women it’s that we sure know how to reinvent ourselves, and no matter how much we deny it, many of us still believe in love.
He’s taken the plunge. I see his silhouette floundering, ducking and diving against the sky. Dinner time.
I’ll let you know if he survives.