A hyena-like giggle slowly rose from behind me and sunk deeply into my ears as if a bee had just landed its arse on my eardrums. I stopped eating and turned around to check out the source of the unsettling sound. It’s a woman in her 20s, decent-looking girl with bright eyes. She was surrounded by a bevy of men who seemed very interested in what that was coming out of her mouth. She laughed, and they laughed together with her. She spoke in a voice I can best describe as a cross between Melanie Griffith and my 5 year old cousin – high pitched and manja (child-like). She worked her audience like a pro, sometimes brushing her hand against theirs, nudging their shoulders with hers and occasionally, helpfully brushing their hair away from their sweaty foreheads. When teased, she pouted and threw a mock tantrum. You just knew that the girl had practised pursing her lips in front of the mirror a million times.
In the privacy of my head, a conversation between me and the fake Melanie Griffith was taking place.
“Where are your female friends?”
“They’re all overseas”, she answered smoothly. Wagging my finger at her face, I said in a voice bloated with authority, “You have no female friends, you sneaky little liar!”
She promptly broke down in tears and I threw my fist up like a champion.
Suddenly, the same disturbing cackle jolted me back to reality. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce, the Sycophant. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the sycophant is defined as a “servile self-seeking flatterer”. Indeed, behind the bubbly façade and puppy eyes is an attention-seeking, conniving witch bent on fulfilling her ambitions through careful manipulation of the male egos. Certainly a bewitching character to the majority of men, but a proverbial pain in the nether region to all other women.
It doesn’t matter whether the man is old, young, married, single or covered in hives, if you had something that she wanted (read: money, connections or the sheer satisfaction of incurring the wrath of your wife/girlfriend) she would have no qualms feigning adoration for your very presence. She would tell you her “deepest secrets” and confide in you about things that she had “never ever” told other people. Before you knew it, you would be willingly making calls and pulling strings to help this charming young lady achieve her “modest” goals, all along while wondering why your other half or female friends had been so unsupportive and snappy lately.
The thing is, while Sycophants are very transparent to us womenfolk, most men generally couldn’t look pass the cute and soppy act. When more than five women in your life have been expressing disapproval and disgust over the behaviour of a certain supposedly nice girl, believe them she is not a nice girl. Unfortunately, these words of concern often fall on deaf ears. “I’m just trying to help someone. She needs MY help”, you explained to your exasperated girlfriend/wife/girl pal. Yes, there is a lot of hero complexity contained in that “my”. There are really far better ways to be hero; such as driving politely on the road, giving an old lady your seat in the train or helping your mother with her chores, among others. Saving a damsel pretending to be in distress is not one of them.
Ultimately, sticking around with Sycophants will only put your reputation and relationships at risk. Many men crashed and burnt thinking they could fall into the soft, comforting arms of the Sycophants only to find themselves ditched and dumped in a world of pain. They don’t stay around when they’ve finished squeezing and sucking every ounce of your usefulness, no pun intended with all seriousness.
So gentlemen, if you found yourself in a situation where your female friends are viciously disapproving of a lovely girl whom you’ve been going out of your way to help, perhaps it’s time to exchange notes with the other male “acquaintances” that she hangs out with. Who knows, the crazy stalker she’s been lamenting about to you may just turn out to be you.