Sumit, an illustrator, met Zishaan, an interior designer, at a friend’s bring-a-single mixer.
It was a classic meet-cute. A match made in architectural heaven, he would tell his kids one day. They had mistakenly picked up each other’s glasses (double vodka sodas with a hint of lime juice) and then bonded all night over their mutual love for the Big Little Lies Soundtrack. Before the party had ended, they had (consciously) picked up each other’s Instagram handles.
After a whirlwind first date at a local bistro, Zishaan had texted Sumit telling him that ‘he wanted to see him again. And again. And again’.
After the second — an indie movie at a derelict single-screen — he messaged with a stream of endearing heart emojis.
After the third, the designer made an in-joke about the chocolate chip sundaes they had just shared, just after he kissed him goodbye under the starry sky. He’d use that one in his wedding speech, Sumit had gushed to himself later that night.
Sumit had met a lot of men in his life: there was the It Boy he had spent months chasing (who dumped him for a socialite prince), the Gym Freak he had joined the gym with (who believed in free weights and free love), the Hipster he had gone vegan for (who sold him out for Alt-J’s concert tickets), the Sapiosexual who made him do crossword puzzles (and realised he was not as good), and lastly, the F**kboy who said he wanted to give Sumit all his love (but gave him genital crabs instead) — so many men, but none had felt the same way.
With his broad grin and broader shoulders, Sumit rightfully thought Zishaan was the One. He was charming, he was funny, he was full of those soul stirring words that made Sumit dream of Disney musicals. Plus, he didn’t have genital crabs.
But the one thing he was not?
Five dates in, Zishaan was always busy. He was always swamped with work. He was always attending a friend’s birthday. He was always a ‘let’s just chill next week?’ text away.
In retrospect, Zishaan was the quintessential heartbreaker — and like many others like him — he eventually pulled a Houdini, and disappeared without a trace from Sumit’s life. The Disney musical sadly couldn’t even make it to its second act.
Like Zishaan (and other self-diagnosed misunderstood men), the heartbreaker is the junk food of the dating pool — the Big Mac, the Whopper, the Crunch Taco Supreme — he’s good for a quick bite, but bad for your long-term health.
But can you really tell your Disney prince from the douchebag?
It’s simple. Wave away all that fairy dust, and scroll through this list before you start planning your tropical Bae-cation in Aruba: if the object of your affection checks five items on this list, he gets a yellow card; if he checks seven, he gets a red card, and if he gets more than 10, stop reading this list and send him a goodbye text right away.
Because there’s a chance he never will:
The heartbreaker wears his own line of perfume. It’s clean and invigorating, and has notes of cypress combined with hints of cardamom, cedar wood and a base of vetiver root, resulting in a blend that’s ‘comfortingly familiar and mature’.
He calls it Heartbreak, by ‘Me’.
The heartbreaker will look at you endearingly, and tell you that ‘he’s never felt this way about anyone else before’.
He’s also said this to three other boys in the past week.
The heartbreaker is quick to christen you with a pet name. It’s usually a variation of his favourite dessert.
It’s also usually a tactic because he doesn’t remember your name.
The heartbreaker disables his read receipts on Whatsapp, because it’s so ‘exhausting’ to keep a tab on all the conversations.
But he mysteriously won’t reply to your messages on Facebook Messenger.
The heartbreaker flakes like he Instagrams.
The heartbreaker is a seductive blend of witty one-liners, intuitive pop culture references, heartwarming texts and dimples that run deeper than the Marina Trench.
All four have high success rates.
The Heartbreaker’s favourite adjective to describe himself is also his most-searched word on Google.
The heartbreaker has built his walls up so high, he’s thinking of selling them to Donald Trump.
He plans to do so at a profit.
Over bite-sized bits of cheese, he tells you all about his exes. Ishaan wanted to move in too early. Rohan would never stop calling. Ameya decided to tell his friends why they broke up. Atul begged to take him back by standing outside his apartment all night. Vaibhav called him a cheating scumbag. Anuj threatened to set his house on fire. Paarth asked his mom if she knew her son was a psycho. Ram stole his wallet. They were all so crazy.
He conveniently forgets to tell you their sides of the story.
The Heartbreaker calls himself a ‘lone wolf’. The Alpha of a one-man army. He never talks about his family, friends or anyone really significant, and seems committed to keeping it that way.
But yet, he’s always hanging out with them when you try making a plan.
As he hand feeds you breakfast one day, he’ll laugh and tell you how ‘everyone will warn you that he has a bad reputation’.
Only he’s not joking.
The heartbreaker doesn’t roll up his sleeves, because that’s where he ‘wears his heart.’
Only this time, he’s joking.
The heartbreaker only wants to ‘hang out’.
The heartbreaker leaves a breadcrumb trail of likes through three years’ worth of your Instagram pictures.
But he still won’t ask to follow you there.
You spend more time talking about the heartbreaker, than to him.
The heartbreaker doesn’t like to ‘plan’, he’d rather just ‘live’ the date.
In the confines of his living room, with pre-mixed cans of gin and tonic.
The heartbreaker flits through relationships like you flit through magazines at the dentist’s. In fact, he ended his last relationship just while you were ending your workout for the day.
When he asks you to come over for some #NetflixAndChill, that’s all that he wants to do — binge-watch a Netflix original and chill with canapés and a bottle (or two) of expensive wine.
Bonus points if it’s a bottle of York Sparkling Cuvee Brut.
Even more bonus points if he makes the canapés himself.
The heartbreaker is too conflicted/ too damaged/ too busy to be ‘in a relationship’. He wears it like a badge nonetheless, and uses it to introduce himself at mixers.
It works like a charm, especially when he mistakes your vodka soda for his.
See, but that’s the thing about our guy. He’ll tell you he’s not a heartbreaker.
And that’s exactly what makes him one.
So pull out those Band-Aids. You’ll need one.