How to Respond to a Douchebag

If a dude takes what he wants from you and leaves, do you let him get away with it?

Couple arguing
(Image credit: Comstock Images/Jupiter Images)

Who among us — particularly among us ladies — hasn't been charmed or otherwise seduced by a certain someone, only to have that someone hightail it the hell out of the picture as soon as he gets what he wants, sex-wise?

(If nothing like this has ever happened to you, please consult with your nearest planetary administrator and confirm that you do, in fact, live on Earth.)

Not only does this kind of thing happen all the time in the modern world; it has been happening since, oh, roughly 29 BC.

Seems like a very specific date, you say? It is. That's when Virgil wrote The Aeneid, his epic tale about hero Aeneas — founder of Rome and legendary heartbreaker. After Aeneas and his cohort land in Carthage, Aeneas gets on the good side — the very good side — of the city's queen, Dido. Dido is not some feeble damsel-in-distress type; she is a badass who founded a bustling metropolis after her nefarious brother murdered her husband! No shrinking violet, Dido.

But THEN, dashing Aeneas comes to town. And what does he do? He acts like a typical douchebag — using and abusing poor Dido, even though he knows full well he ain't gonna be able to stick around. Dido has no clue that Aeneas is fated to go down in the history books (or, at least, in the epic poetry books), so she doesn't exactly take it well when he tells her he needs to take off, because the gods are putting pressure on him to get on with things, and found Rome already.

She says to him: "You tried to keep me in the dark about this outrage, didn't you, two-faced man, so you could slip away in silence! ... Because of you, I lost my integrity and my good name ... Why do I live on? ... If at least I had a child by you to take care of — a little person to play in my yard and give me back you, Aeneas, in spite of it all, I wouldn't feel so utterly defeated, utterly bereft."


Dido sure let him have it, huh?

Have friends of yours ever done this kind of thing — calling a dude out on his bad behavior? Someone I know recently read a guy the riot act when he acted like an Aeneas. She let him know exactly how shitty he made her feel, in no uncertain terms, and if the guy has anything like a conscience, he won't be sleeping well for months.

When she told me what she said to him, I cringed--but I also cheered.

I get where Dido and my friend are coming from. When a guy uses a woman who clearly digs him, only to ditch her, I think it's MARVELOUSLY fine for the female to go off on him. Venting her anger, rather than bottling it up inside, seems healthy. By doing a little screaming, she might also prevent the dude from pulling similar shenanigans in the future. The only reason not to give a guy hell in that kind of situation is to preserve some kind of decorum in the hopes he might return eventually — but no one should take a guy like that back! If dude has mistreated you once, and you welcome him into your life a second time, you're only setting yourself up for more poor treatment in the future.

That's my two cents. But I throw it out to you folks now: When someone uses and abuses you, do you give him a piece of your mind? Or do you just silently walk away? If so, why? Do you not want to give him the benefit of knowing how much he wounded you? Do you hope you might win him back?