Players, trifling women, f*ckboys and ego cases. When men and women get to describing failed dating attempts, it seems one of these labels gets tacked onto their doomed love interest. And not always without merit.

In the hetero-dating game, when things go sour there’s a lot of bashing of the sexes, with men and women sizing up a bad date or partner after the fact, or in bad cases, leaving heartbroken or hurt. The question starts to nag the individual: why do I keep dating the wrong person?

The theatre production Lord Why Do I Keep Choosing the Wrong Man, which has toured across the U.S. and Canada playing in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Toronto, explores what happens when relations break down in men and women partnerships, seemingly because the woman chose the wrong man.

The irony: the play is actually written by a man, Emmanuel Seegars from North Carolina.

“I guess after my mom chose the wrong man, after my sister chose the wrong man, after my aunts chose the wrong men, I thought it would be an interesting topic to deal with that particular issue,” Seegars says, while chewing a toothpick.

Seegars admits he knows the topic well because he himself was “the wrong man” for years.

Much of the storyline shows three generations of women in a family pining after men who abruptly leave them in a disrespectful manner.

Told through his perspective, the play suggests a good union starts with a solid relationship with God, patience and developing trust.

A mix of gospel and drama, the production kept the momentum throughout, but in the end got mixed reactions from the crowd during its recent two-night run in Toronto.

One woman, Charmaine O’Connor, commented that while she enjoyed the play, it is an exaggeration of reality. Much of the storyline shows three generations of women in a family pining after men who abruptly leave them in a disrespectful manner, with the women begging them to stay.

O’Connor’s friend chimed in that those situations of chasing after ‘not-the-best’ men happened more so when she was younger, but she has since stopped having to deal with those problems.

It seems, the women of this current generation, however, beg to differ.

Young ladies in Toronto don’t necessarily seem to be pining for the “wrong man”, but they do seem to have a different take altogether on why dating men can be difficult.

Danica Samuel published a post on her personal tumblr blog, in late 2015, lamenting the men she’s come across in the dating scene. In the post, she writes of “the settlers” who have gotten comfortable in their lives and stopped striving and “the success liars” who create a false image of themselves – both of whom Samuel states she’s had enough of.

Men are quick to call women “crazy” as a way to not address why the two may not be compatible.

A few months and a birthday later, not much has changed for her.

The now 23-year-old says some of her bad experiences have come from either her, or the men she’s dated, being bad with confrontation.

“It’s something that we generally struggle with,” she says.

In her experience, “No one really says what the issue is so instead they send out little signals and you have to try to read it … and I’m guilty of it too.” She finds that people just disappear instead.

She also finds men are quick to call women “crazy” as a way to not address why the two may not be compatible.

H.K. Thandi, a 21-year-old student attending Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. agrees.

“I also find that guys tend to assume that the feelings of women are significantly more intense than they are — they’re quick to jump to, ‘Oh, you’re getting emotional.”

Thandi’s not opposed to casual dating, which she finds takes guys by surprise.

Twenty-five-year-old Dee Nelson, another victim of the Toronto dating scene, recalls a particular night out where a date was unsatisfied with her dinner order, insisting he didn’t bring her to that sort of restaurant to order a turkey burger, and spent the evening bragging about his connections. He later realized he forgot his wallet, but walked to his office building to get it, rather than let her foot the bill.

“I just find a lot of these guys are either insecure, overconfident or what I like to call a ‘stage 16 clinger.’”

Nelson, who works in marketing, has found that even when dating a mix of professionals including doctors and lawyers, boyish behaviours prevail.

“I just find a lot of these guys are either insecure, overconfident or what I like to call a ‘stage 16 clinger,’” Nelson says, the latter she explains as a new partner who gets extremely attached after a few dates. “I’ve just never experienced a good balance of what I want,” she continues.

“Just because they’ve got these great [job] titles, these great characteristics about them or they look great on paper, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be a great guy.”

Paul Hudson, a Manhattanite who writes frequently about dating, shared his thoughts on the demise of dating in this generation in a popular online article published in Elite Daily last year. He lists, among other reasons, that men and women frankly suck at dating nowadays.

As Samuel, Thandi and Nelson all attest to, Hudson mentions that this generation has become much more egocentric and in this digital world, people have grown used to instant gratification, rather than getting rewards and payoffs over time.

But another sobering point he brings up is that young people are “fooled into believing perfection is attainable.”

Samuel, however, says there is hope for dating in this generation: “We just have to make it work with what we have.”

Photo is a scene from Lord Why Do I Keep Choosing the Wrong Man, by Roy’s Creative Photography, supplied courtesy of the production.

Angelyn Francis is a writer, photographer, host and video producer based in Toronto.

1 Comment

  1. From my experiences, women don’t know what they truly want and men don’t know how to behave.

    By this I mean that women have a lot of conflicting views of what they want based on each individual thing. Equal job opportunities, equal pay. I and most men agree with women on this. Women want men to treat them as equals and won’t accept anything less. The flipping of the coin comes when women demand to be treated the same and equal to men then in the very next breath, the same women demand that men chase them, be the one to ask women on a date, plan the date, spend money for the date, then expect the man to follow up.

    Why can’t these same liberated women that won’t let any man tell them what to do nor hold them back with everything else in their lives also take the initiative and ask out the men? Make the plans and pay? At least split the expenses.

    All of this and many other items that would take a lot of time to post are several of the main causes for most men that have some experience in dating, relationships and divorce to simply OPT-OUT.

    Many men have learned through repeatedly banging their heads against the wall that it’s not worth it. Habits are formed from historical patterns. Men can’t stop on a dime and switch themselves based on the specific moment when women want us to be “Alpa” and then “Homogenized” the very next minute.

    Women are frustrated that men can’t be what they want yet have multiple versions of what men should be based on each specific event and time. Men are frustrated and increasingly giving up on women because we simply cannot contort our bodies and minds in a way that will satisfy women.

    Look at most marriages and/or long term relationships. Women look angry, men look defeated. Men crawl into their “man-caves” be it basement, garage, shed, where ever they can go to get away.

    Most men don’t see it ever improving. We try and prevent other single men and those younger men entering adulthood from having to go through this.