Philadelphia Metropolis


A Managerie of Men

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By Leslie Cottle

This weekend my girlfriends were approached by a 20-something man claiming that Philadelphia girls just weren't making the cut compared to the usual "Southern Belles" he was used to. He even defined Southern Belle for my friends.

Southern Belle (noun)- A girl born and raised in the South. Southern cooking, Southern accent, and Southern "old money". The kind of girl everyone dreams to be or meet. Proper, educated, has etiquette, says, "Yes, sir" and "Yes, mam" and means it.

Since I grew up in Virginia and moved to Philadelphia as a teen -- with my "Southern Belle" roots intact - I understand the guy's point of view. But, here is my question: Does he know what kind of men roam around Philadelphia?

Being the ripe age of 23, and having roamed the Philadelphia bar scene since I was 18, gives me some insight into Philly men. To summarize, the men of Philadelphia and its suburbs vary widely. You can't put them all into one group, but after talking to them for oh, 30 seconds, you can usually put them into one of following five categories:

Category 1: Bar Creep

The looks they give you, their smile, whether they're strategically following you around the bar, offering you free drinks or telling you you're the most beautiful girl in the "whole joint," you know him when you see him. He's just creepy. Advice: Grab the closest non-threatening meathead, explain the situation and let him deal with it--there's nothing better than a damsel in distress. These men have been known to go to single's nights, go to bars alone, stalk, and make a threatening phone or two. Being nice only confuses them into thinking they stand a chance.

Category 2: Mr. Right Now

This man is mildly good-looking and really into you. You might not be so into him, but hey, at least he's paying attention to you. Mr. Right Now can be found while trying to get to the bar for a drink, on the dance floor, or when asking for directions to the nearest facility. He could be desperate, he could be a good distraction, hell... he could even be human--but this guy will only last the night and you'll probably just lead him on, even though you know you are not that into him. Advice: Be friendly, not selfish, and don't play with the boy's heart.

Category 3: All talk, No delivery.

This guy's head barely fits through doorways because his ego is protruding from every pore of that good-looking face and gorgeous head of hair. He is the asshole, hilarious, and you hate to love him and his grade-school flirting technique. He might buy you a drink, he might dance with you all night, and he will definitely ask you for your number, but don't be fooled by great personality and the generic texts he sends you and 15 other girls on his "Booty Call" group list. You know what I'm talking about: "Hey Babe, haven't talked to you in a while. How are you doin?" Please, spare me. These men have also been known to be disguised as bouncers, bartenders and members of the band.

Category 4: Drunk, inebriated, and beyond words

This is the guy who approaches you, slurring his words, between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. looking to do another shot.  If there is one time to meet someone and hook up, it's after 1 a.m. However, this guy isn't going to remember your name, let alone that you met him last night, so take your free shot and move on to the bigger, more sober fish of the bar-pond. This man will reach at least one of three paths tonight: blacking out, throwing up, or waking up in his own bodily fluids. As my friend Jenny would say, "NEXT!"

Category 5: Taken, but not tonight!

Usually this guy is out with his man-pack, having a good time, drinking up for boy's night. What you don't know is that while he is flirting with you, his poor, unsuspecting girlfriend is waiting for a phone call at 3 a.m. just to hear, "I love you" and that he got home safe. Then, inevitably, one of his friends will tell you he has a girlfriend. Uh, Excuse me, sir, what? He will of course deny the fact. He'll suggest your place for the night--he can't have you over at his place with the interior design so stylishly done only by a woman, and not to mention the hot pink tooth brush and feminine products oozing from "her side" the medicine cabinet. We can pretend everyone is faithful, but we all know the truth. This mess usually leads to calls from the girlfriend, feeling like you're crazy, and knowing that you've been used, and played.

So to this man who thinks Southern Belle's are so obviously the premium choice, I have some advice: Take into account what the women of Philadelphia have to deal with on a weekly, if not daily basis. Okay, good. Now, tell me you wouldn't have your guard up too.

And to the women of Philadelphia I say, hold out for a hero.


Leslie Cottle is a writer and bar-scene sociologist who lives in Philadelphia.


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