Writers Cafe ExposéA Story by Shelley Holt-Lowrey
A piece of fiction originally presented as social commentary and undefined as to fact or fiction. My error in so presenting. FICTIONAL but based on real life.
NOTE TO READER The following story is a revision of an earlier version of this same piece.
The other day, at the request of a fellow journalist I wrote and posted a story on a writer’s website called The Writer’s Cafe. This is a site managed by and for professional and amateur writers, who post their works of poems, prose or stories for other writers to read and then review. It is a pretty terrific little site. There are some very talented writers there, and it appears to be a tight knit community where people are free to express themselves, and try their hand at new artistic endeavors. This was my personal impression of the site after having spent a couple of days interacting with it and the writers I found there. It appears, however, that all may not be as it seems at the Writer’s Cafe (http://www.writerscafe.org). Immediately after posting my first piece of work, I learned that there are other dramas being played out while writers write, read and review one another.
I was quite disturbed by what I learned. Over the course of just a few hours, a dark picture of predator and victim began to emerge. My work of fiction was about women who found themselves in bad relationships. Within an hour of my posting, I was contacted by several women wanting to share their own, very real, experiences which were shockingly similar to the piece that I had written. More women came forward as the night went on. All in all, I spoke with ten different women. Eight of them appeared to have similar experiences with one man on this site.
My story called Stupid Chicks was a first person narrative, and was entirely fictitious. Most fiction is usually based partially in reality in its origin or interpretation. Such is the case for my piece. It was through my observation of some of life’s perpetual romantic dramas that this piece was inspired. The story is posted for all to read and I would suggest that it be read as a follow-up to this story. For the sake of expediency, however, I will summarize: The story is a satirical piece, told in first person by a woman who was taken in by the kind words of a man who was seemingly too good to be true. She finds out, too late she’s been duped and lumps herself in with other women who are, she believes, smart like her. She calls these women “Stupid Chicks” and she goes on to expound on how seemingly smart women can be taken in by a man. The story is essentially one woman’s brief time as a Stupid Chick.
The eight women who had an experience with the same writer had identical stories. This man seemingly targets smart attractive female writers, contacts them relentlessly employing much charm, and then throws out feelings of love and romantic promise, and lures them into a cyber relationship. What is interesting to note is there was not one instance in which any woman could prove this man’s actions and intentions were anything other than benign. He is a talented writer who writes in a highly allegorical and veiled manner. His chosen method of flattery is inference and he never fully states his intention outright, rather simply draws the reader down a path cleverly painted in words and illustration.
Just as in my story, when these women wanted to move the relationship forward, this man became evasive and distant. He removed himself emotionally, never addressing their questions directly. In all cases, when pressed, his man became defensive and claimed that the women were acting irrationally. He would act as if dumbfounded by their behavior.
The final similarity I found between all of these cases is that this man seemed to be carrying on multiple relationships with several women on this site. When asked why they thought this, all claimed there were many instances of inflammatory public comment posted to his site profile by other women. All claims he adamantly denied.
At first, and not at all in keeping with the requirements of journalistic integrity, I found myself becoming disgusted with these women. However, as several more of them came forward, I begin to see they were simply victims of a smart and cunning predator; a man who preyed upon the innermost sensitivities of vulnerable women. If the women were not vulnerable when he found them, he worked at it until they became vulnerable. I found these eight women were not, as my story claims, Stupid Chicks. All but one hold multiple degrees in varying scholastic disciplines. All are accomplished writers, and all but one is firmly established in an outside career. Interestingly, all of the women are mothers, which is something they say this man claims is very close to his heart.
After gathering all the information available, I was able to define this man's target demographic: Pretty, smart educated female writers in their late 30’s to early 50’s with children. This information pretty much confirmed my suspicions. I had found a predatory individual who seduces women, evoking emotional attachmen, then discardingtherm. All of this happening on the WritersCafe site. I stop short of using the term stalker as that is not precisely what this indicidual engages in, rather it is a means of exploitation.
Thankfully, in all cases, these relationships never got past the e-mail or electronic stage. These women were never asked for money, or to do anything illegal. Several of these women claim he stated to have known women on the site who were a bit mentally unstable and seemed concerned regarding any correspondence with these women. He warned these women that they may hear inflammatory things about him given the current mental state if said women.
I contacted an expert in this type of compulsive anti-social behavior, and asked him why a person would act this way. I learned that this man is an apparent “New Relationship High” Junkie (NRHJ). An NRHJ must continually experience the rush of sexual tension that comes during the first few weeks of a relationship. He further stated that the actual shelf life of a relationship with someone having this disorder is typically four to six weeks. After this, he claims, an afflicted person’s interest will wane. He will continue to communicate, but not with the original degree of intensity. In fact, he will usually allow these women to hang on indefinitely. Our expert said this type of person enjoys having multiple women seeking his attention. In no case, our expert stated, will said individual end a relationship outright, but rather practice avoidance by not addressing anything directly. When the female ultimately objects to this, he will likely blame the woman for misunderstanding him, will pull back completely, and begin to speak in only the most vague and generic terms. If pushed, this person will eventually suggest that the woman is mentally unstable. This is when all but one of these women took their leave of this non-relationship. Sadly one woman I spoke with did not see that this was a problem, and intends to stay connected to this man.
It would appear that we have a victimless crime occurring. We have women who are willingly seduced by a perpetrator whose only crimes are not stating his intentions, and keeping them strung along in a relationship bound for nowhere. The bottom line is there is nothing illegal going on. In fact, this man is fully protected by his First Amendment rights. As there is no malice which can be proven and nothing illegal taking place, this man is free to continue to take advantage of unsuspecting women for as long as he wishes.
In my line of work, I find cases like this frustrating. I have found, however, education to be the first deterrent to any crime. Therefore, I decided to write this article in hopes of warning the women on the Writer’s Cafe site about this predator and his methods.
I have been advised by our experts that after this article airs, this man will likely feel caged and will disappear or change his identity. When last we checked, this man had, in fact, shut down his profile. He did not respond to any requests by our staff. It is expected that he will eventually return to this same site, but only after this story has died down, and under another assumed moniker.
Ladies, keep an eye out! Trust your instincts on this one. If a man from this site approaches you looking for some type of relationship, ask him to take it offline. If he won’t, it is more likely his only intent is to take you for a long ride on a broken down horse.
© 2012 Shelley Holt-Lowrey
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