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Are you really going to wear that to your dinner party for two?

By Marguerite Gordon

Dear Readers:

I did write last week that I would be concentrating on ladies (Single-Separated – or Somewhere in Between), taken from Chapter 7 of my at the moment out of print book Manners and Entertaining, and trying to advise them how to recognise the men from whom they should stay away.

But, before I do just that, here are three comments from guys on my last two columns. Quote #1: "Come on Marguerite, are you putting down Caribbean men?" Quote # 2: "If I am having a chick home for dinner I sure intend to meet her at the door with my chest exposed. She'll get the message then" and Quote #3: "Why do you think Caribbean men are not romantic?" By the way, I do feel — on another note for the moment — that my picture of chicken Bolognese last week looked suspiciously like a Lasagne. I am sure Rocco (the guy giving the dinner party, would have done better than that!).

Well, my reply to quote number one is no way am I trying to put down Caribbean men. Most of them are pretty all right. To quote number two: You, Sir, are exactly one of the types of men ladies of any age should stay away from. And my answer to quote number three? I not only THINK Caribbean men are not romantic, I KNOW they are not. Look, a few years ago I wrote columns on the lack of this ability/feeling/understanding by Caribbean men. Not today, but I will refer to this from time to time!

So who are the other types of men at whom a woman needs to look more carefully, if she is consciously, or subconsciously, looking for a partner with whom to hopefully spend the rest of her life?

Let's call them ''MAKE AS EEF'' OR

'PRETENDING TO BE' BATCHELORS

Rocco (whom you met last week – the Romantic bachelor guy making Chicken Bolognese), could be fairly harmless, a nice guy just wanting to make a great impression. A guy who has the possibilities of making a good husband, sincere and honest (if he did not try and "rush" the young lady after the meal).

But, ladies need to beware that there are many other wolves in sheep's clothing that are not as the above.

There is: The Machiavellian Macho Caribbean Man, let's call him Mac. Not an ounce of romance in his soul. He may also be married and just wants a fling on the side. He has no intention of divorcing his wife, (though he will tell you so). He is to be avoided, has no ''fixed address'' and is always on the hunt.

Then there is the Perpetual Bachelor… lives at home with Mom. He is very comfortable, but every now and then, takes his head out of the sand, shakes off the dust and with bleary eyes looks at what is on the horizon, promises himself to really get moving, then falls back into a daze. Let's call him Percival. . his promises mean nothing, too much home cooking and he gets his laundry done too! Forget Percival.

Now here comes the Cool, Calculating one, he may have been burnt once or twice before. Intensely ambitious, shrewd, a little unscrupulous perhaps in his business dealings? Or is it called being ''street smart''? Let's call him Cal. He may just want a ''trophy'' wife. . mmm not to be trusted. He uses his cell phone constantly, plus has a lot of beepers and always seems to be very "busy".

Then there is that Just Wonderful Guy always ready as a friend, gives you great compliments all the time, steady, reliable and you can call on him at any time to give advice about your entertaining, while he listens to all your personal problems and tells you some of his. Let's call him Jasper. He's great, but perhaps may just not be romantically interested in you personally…"He's just not that into you" (these last words are borrowed from a movie of the same name), but you know what I mean.

There are, of course, exceptions to all the above, including mixtures of each and other types. Time and space makes me unable to give examples of all these others, but the main thought for women and men is: There is somebody out there for you, hopefully.

I am now going to give all these ladies one name, so I am calling you Serena and one of the most important aspects of life is:

Your Reputation

Being single on a small island, you are bound to run into a lot of the same people doing all things you like to do. Whether it's church or tennis, netball, a run in the morning or after work drinks, you have to remember that you cannot hide behind the massive size and population of other places à la Sex and the City. Your space, your island, is too small. People know you, if you have a car they may even know you licence plate number, or they know your mother's step-son's cousin's boyfriend's aunt! A woman's reputation is very fragile and once it is lost, whether young or old, it is hard, if not impossible, to get back.

This type of realisation appears to be rather difficult to process for some young women just out of school or university, some of whom feel that the world is at their fingertips and can be tweaked by tweeting or texting for instant gratification and "times have changed". Oh yeah? Your reputation is even more out there on the social media. You have applied for a job, your possible future employers have asked for your e-mail or you have told them you are on Facebook. Are you sure they are not going to "look you up"? Oh, you forgot you posted (and shared) a picture of yourself half naked. Hey, companies are checking the social media!

Are there different types of Serenas? Of course, there are. There sure are. Some are able, articulate and career driven. Some are waiting for romance and want to keep themselves for that right man. While, others are also on the hunt and just may be attracted to dangerous liaisons with older men who just happen to be married.

Has ''he'' found ''you" or was it the other way around? Are you having him around to your apartment for the first time? Are you having him for dinner?

Next week, Serena's dinner party. Should she look slinky, seductive and slightly dishevelled as she opens that door?

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