Narcissists And Other Wankers

Narcissist. We used to have another name for guys who showed the same behaviour that Clayton Wetherston did to his various girlfriends before he ended up killing the last one.

Something simple along the lines of a ‘supremely selfish auto-eroticist’.

You know the one. The kind of bloke that competes with his girlfriend instead of just being nice to her and an expert in steadfastly going about making her feel really bad about herself in order that he might feel a little better. I wonder why a young beautiful intelligent girl like Sophie … was attracted to him in the first place and why she ever bothered to stick around. Except – I know. We all know. Young women – irrespective of how ‘bright’ they are, often make really dim decisions about blokes unless they get really lucky or live a very sheltered life.

If I could meet myself aged 20 and the gaggle of ‘bright’ friends at that same age I know I’d want to go quietly out the back and bang my head against the wall regarding the men in our lives. Most of the choices we made back then were blinding in their stupidity if I were really honest. It just seems to go with the territory. Surely young women shouldn’t have to pay for those dumb choices with their lives – yet they often do. Sophie may have done something earth shatteringly appalling like… say her boyfriend had a small willy but I’m sure she didn’t say it 216 times behind a locked door while his mother listened.

In my grand plan to have arranged marriages entrenched in New Zealand law by the time my daughter is 18, I know that if I did a photo line up of nice guys with good jobs and threw a rogue in amongst them – someone who deals drugs for a living or who is a walking train wreck… chances are she’d go for the dog. Then she’d stay with him to prove that she can either a) change him b) turn herself inside out to please him or c) that she was right all along and that underneath all that drunkenness and cruelty he’s a really nice guy. Or maybe her generation will be much brighter than mine was.

Except - Clayton Wetherston supposedly was the nice guy with the good job. Something about the dynamic of the academically successful professor and his talented girlfriend has caught the country in a kind of compulsive obsession but there are plenty of other cases that seem to slip under the waves of stories of violence, never to be heard again. Mairina Dunn may not have had the glittering academic career but we will never know what kind of a woman she would have become because she was beaten to death by a dominating boyfriend at the age of 17. Her mother, Queenie Dunn made the brave decision to have an open casket funeral to show young women the consequences of staying one second too long with a violent man. Nathan Fenton had all the hallmarks of aggression but how do you help young women weed out the nice guys from the nutters especially when they could be dressed as your university tutor? For the little it’s worth – you could tell them this:

Just because he has a great job, a flash car and lots of money does not mean he is necessarily any nicer to be with than the heavy gang member on the run from the police. My Pop always said you judge a man by the way he treats the women in his life not by the car he drives. And he was a mechanic. The older I get, I realise; the righter he was.

If he ever makes you feel nervous, you just feel bad when he’s around or he wants to track your every move – then there’s only one thing to do. Flee. Flee my pretty. Flee.

Sticking with violent or possessive men is not so much an unpleasant walk on the wild side – more like a fast track to passing over to the other side.

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