Two years as a divorced woman (after 17 years of marriage -- not a bad track record) gives one keen insight into a species of man far too prevalent in the City of Washington -- the Ungentlemen. Easily identified by his devastating charm and unseemly behavior, he wreaks havoc among divorced, widowed and single ladies. The Ungentleman is as exciting as a fox in a chicken coop, and fire and pestilence follow in his wake.
Here are the six winners of this year's Ungentleman Awards:
THE BUREAUCRAT: Divorced for several years, in a mid-level government job, he takes a lady out, and on the first date announces boyishly (to her shock and swooning delight), "I love you and I'm going to marry you!" Dizzily, incredulous, the lady is swept off her feet. But finally, after some very good times together, she says, "I love you too," and upon her sincere avowal, the Ungentlement simply vanishes, not to be heard from again.
THE LAWYER: Suave, persuasive, intelligent, well-dressed and very rich, he tells her he is separated from his wife (there's nothing between them -- he hasn't gotten along with her for years); he's goning to get a divorce. He takes the lady on a vacation to a deserted island, and after a week of bliss and rapture, says to her, "You're every man's dream, you're perfect! I can't handle it," and then he goes back to his wife.
THE MILITARY MAN: Divorced, dashing, reeking of self-confidence and Royal Copenhagen Musk, he indicates a lively sexual interest in the lady immediately. If she does not reciprocate instantly, he takes here out a second time to a romantic candlelit cafe in Georgetown, and kisses her on the forehead after supper.And then he steps into his red Alfa Romeo, and smiling, says "Bye, Babe, it just won't work."
THE YOUNG DOCTOR: Single, he's into longish hair and letting it all hang out, and smoking in the park. He takes the lady on long walks; they talk long talks; he plays a beguiling guitar. A few months later he tells her that there's someone else he's been seeing seriously for the past year, and would she continue to see him once a week on Thursday nights anyway?
THE WIDOWED POLITICIAN: Impetuous, egocentric, busy and well groomed, he woos her with the same fierce passion he woos his constituents. Impatiently, he presses her to affirm her love for him.When, at length she does, he whispers, "Sweetheart, let's cool it 'til after the election."
THE JOURNALIST: Hard-drinking, smart, bright, laid back and divorcing his second wife, he enjoys the lady's company twice weekly. It's fun, it's light, it feels good. No hassle. He goes away on a two-week working trip to the Middle East, and four months later calls her and says, "How's tricks?"
Where are the Gentle Men? In recognition of the fact that somewhere out there in Greater Washington there must be some truly Gentle Men, hope -- triumphing over experience -- still springs eternal in this loving, decent, kindly, compassionate, trusting, warm and good-looking woman's breast.