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It Doesn’t Pay to Play

By , 17, Staff Writer Originally Published: July 16, 2010 Revised: September 11, 2012

“When it comes to sex I’m similar to the thrilla in Manila. Honeys call me Bigga the condom filler.”

—The Notorious B.I.G.

The late, iconic rapper the Notorious B.I.G. proudly recited these lyrics. He was a self-proclaimed ladies man or a playa, and he emphasized this façade in his clever yet sexually explicit song “One More Chance.” In the media, playas are generally depicted as athletic, wealthy, good-looking, tall—and, of course—heterosexual. The playa image is especially popular in rap videos, where you see everyone from Ludacris to Drake surrounded by adoring women. What guy’s ego wouldn’t be boosted by being the playa who gets attention from lots of admirers? Heterosexual guys see all the beautiful, voluptuous women surrounding a playa in a video or on a TV show and want to be that guy.

But there’s a huge difference between the fantasy of TV and the reality of relationships. Is being a playa really all it’s cracked up to be? What does getting lots of girls prove in the long run? How are you supposed to learn about and eventually have a healthy relationship if you’re so fixated on being a “mack” and getting props from the boys?

Playas get temporary praise from their boys, but in the long run, are they truly satisfied?

The Playa Façade

Playas often disguise their true personalities with phony personas they think will impress their male friends and attract women. Take “The Situation,” a character on MTV’s immensely popular reality-TV show Jersey Shore. He’s an obnoxious and cocky guy who believes he’s so pretty he can get with any girl he wants.

“I got girls back here almost every night. There’s not a time that I don’t have girls coming back. Girls love The Situation,” he brags. Though you wouldn’t know it to hear him go on about how girls love him, The Situation is not respected by the women around him or many of his viewers for that matter. He doesn’t care how old a girl is, where she’s from or what she’s looking for in a guy. As long as she’s hotter than he is, she’s The Situation’s potential one-night stand. The Situation obviously doesn’t respect any of his female companions, but respect is key to any relationship, whether it’s platonic or romantic. Can you have a satisfying relationship with someone you don’t respect?

Of course, not everyone is looking for a relationship, and maybe The Situation has no interest in a long-term one. Some people do want a satisfying relationship, but there are a couple things about being a playa that just don’t make a relationship or learning how to be in one possible.

If you’re constantly putting on the playa façade, your partner never gets to know you. How can your partner figure out if you’re right for him or her if you’re constantly being fake? You’ve got to be who you are, know what you want and be secure enough in yourself to show your true self to a partner. A playa who has a smooth and slick persona is just too scared and insecure to show someone who he really is. And if you’re too preoccupied with trying to “bag” the next one, you never get to really know the one you’re with. Getting to know your partner is something you have to do to figure out if he or she is right for you.

More Partners, More Risk

Being a playa means you not only have difficulty getting to know someone or having someone know you, but there are also physical risks involved. Having various sexual partners is not the safest or smartest decision to make, especially because some people don’t consistently use condoms when having sex with multiple partners. Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) don’t have symptoms. You could be having sex with the hottest girl or guy at the club that night, and be unaware that he or she is infected with an STD. No latex equals a high risk of contracting a sexual infection. Without protection, no one’s safe from STDs.

The idea of the playa who has lots of unprotected sex without remorse brings to mind the character Telly in the disturbingly realistic 1995 film Kids. Telly was a 17-year-old playa. He was sexually active and wanted nothing more in life than to “de-virginize” as many girls as he could. Telly never used condoms and, inevitably, contracted HIV. He lied, manipulated and did anything he could to have unprotected sex with as many virgins as he could, thinking this would protect him from STDs. All the while he was unknowingly exposing his partners to HIV. Although Telly is a fictional character, the threat of getting an STD from someone who doesn’t know they have one is real. In fact, it’s estimated that 25 percent of people living with HIV don’t even know they’re HIV positive.

Drop the Act

Playas are very superficial when it comes to matters of the heart. They don’t focus on the future. Instead, they focus on the present and what cute girls or guys will be going home with them. While it may be cool, briefly, to get all of the ladies, womanizing diminishes opportunities to form strong relationships and increases the risk of getting an STD.

Playas get temporary praise from their boys, but in the long run, are they truly satisfied? Drop the act, playas. No-self respecting woman—or guy, for that matter—would want to waste her or his time in a relationship with someone who lusts after countless people and can’t be honest with her or himself. It doesn’t pay to be a playa. Playas miss out on the love, sincere affection and compassion that two people can share in a relationship.

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