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He makes you giddy. He makes you smile. Knowing you’ll see him that day gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. You could be trapped in the worst traffic jam on EDSA and be having the worst day of your career but you don’t care.

Because there’s this special guy who makes your heart flutter and for you, that’s enough.

Girl, it’s good if there’s a guy who makes you feel this way. But before you get your hopes up and dream further, you need to remove your rose-tinted glasses. For all you know this bloke could just be another “pa-fall” guy.

The “Pa-Fall” Guy (PFG) is someone who enjoys the chase but doesn’t follow through. He’s sweet and nice and he knows all the right things to say, but he never goes beyond that. He just likes to flirt and has no intention to court you.

Don’t get me wrong, there might be some honest-to-goodness initial attraction (he won’t give you the time of the day if there wasn’t). But for some reason, he does not and will not pursue you.

Perhaps he’s busy. Perhaps he’s seeing someone else. Perhaps, he’s just not into you.

Perhpas Carlo Dayto of the Joke Lang Seryoso Ako Blog defined it best: “usong termino para sa mga taong nagpakalambing, nagpakabait, nagpakasweet, nagpakita ng motibo sa isang taong hindi namalayan na nahulog na pala nguni’t sa kasamaang palad ay walang sumalo.”

By the way, his post on these PFGs is humorously entitled “Winter. Spring. Summer. Pa-Fall.”

To be fair, there are “Pa-Gall” girls as well who may easily give hope to their suitors, only to have their hearts crushed by the statement, “Let’s just be friends.”

PFGs aren’t bad guys. They can flirt and sweet talk all they want and they won’t be jailed. The problem only comes in when the guy’s intimations start producing an effect.

A PFG has red flags written all over him. Here are some:

1. He sends seemingly innocuous feelers. It usually begins with a “neutral but open to interpretation” text message like “Kumusta?” or “Hope to see you again,” or even “Hope you’re home safe.”

A female friend of mine introduced me to a guy who needed personnel for his project. We were supposed to meet at a restaurant in a mall. The guy and I got there ahead of our common friend. Since she was sidelined by the traffic, this guy and I ended up chatting. The talk was a rather enjoyable. By the time our friend arrived, he had told me a lot about his occupation.

Hours after we parted ways, I received a text from him saying “Hope you’re home safe.” As someone who does freelance work, I meet a lot of people who need my professional services. Up until that time, I had never received text like that from a new acquaintance or potential client. I actually found him to be an interesting person. (He even deduced that we went to the same preschool based on my FB profile!). His message was a pleasant surprise. I felt flattered. But I didn’t hear from him again until months later, which brings us to the next trait…

2. He’s inconsistent. A PFG pops up every now and then. Now you see him, now you don’t. Now you hear from him, now you don’t. He doesn’t make an effort to be present in your life. I’ve got this male friend who sends me FB messages around every six months, telling me “When do we see each other again? When do I see you? Let’s get together soon!” But before I get my hopes up that he truly misses me and is interested in my life, I’d later find out that he had just broken up with his most recent girlfriend. And going out with me was like part of his moving on process.

Now, I know better the next time his greeting shows up in my message box. I don’t get excited anymore. I reply to him but I don’t make an effort to adjust my schedule to his.

3. He’s usually smooth and charming. A PFG is so easy to like because he’s oftentimes irresistibly charming. He showers you with compliments like “You look nice.” He gazes at you like you’re Ms. Universe. He is very attentive. He’s suave and can sweep you off your feet. He is naturally sweet.

And oh, he knows how to tease!

I thought this guy really liked me more than a friend because he invited me to spend a weekend out-of- town. He conceived of this writing collaboration. For the record, he was the one who suggested it, not me. I thought he had something more in mind because he texted, “Ah, please bring a lot of panties!”

The weekend with him turned out to be productive. But his attire was a huge distraction! He pranced around the place in his boxers and sando. And one time had the guts to show up shirtless!

Working with him was challenging, not only because of my growing feelings but because he was also a temperamental artist. I put up with him for years because I fell in love with him and I understood his desire to succeed.

When Mr. Artist started dating someone else, I became so jealous and had a falling out with him. We eventually patched things up but we’ve never been the same ever since.

4. He ghosts on you and you end up reaching out to him. You know you’ve met and you’ve had it bad with the Pa-Fall kind if months pass without communication and you’re the first one to contact him. Like I said, a PFG is inconsistent. If you don’t hear from him for weeks and months, maybe it’s best that you don’t send him a message via SMS or FB. Save yourself the trouble of wondering why he lost touch. Guys are usually non-confrontational. So if you ask for an explanation, you might be the one left holding the bag.

After months of going out, this guy just stopped seeing me–after professing to me that I was special to him and that he didn’t want to lose me. I tried inviting him to watch a movie again, but he made excuses. I was later told by a common friend that this guy was dating other women simultaneously but seemed to have hooked up with a woman 20 years his senior.

More than six months later, I saw him with the lady exec in the airport lounge waiting for a flight. I approached them and tapped his shoulder. He turned around and he looked surprised! This guy and I were never exclusive. Still, he looked embarrassed and guilty because he stammered and couldn’t look at me in the eye.

5. He gives disclaimers. After wooing you and telling you sweet nothings, the PFG will shift gears and declare things like, “I’m not ready for a commitment” or “You won’t like me. I’m a bad boy.”

Frankly, I don’t know if I should appreciate their honesty or simply hit them on the head. Whether conscious or not, it’s unfair to make a woman fall for you and not take responsibility for the consequences. I’ve been told those lines on separate occasions. Both times, I tried to be gracious and non-violent. Deep inside I wanted to shout, “Ang daya n’yo!

Getting into this kind of situation is frustrating and sad. Maybe the agony is worse than an break up.

No matter how hard I try to guard my heart, no matter how much I remind myself not to assume, my wishful side always gets the better of me.

I’m sure a lot of women will understand. Cynical is not me. To quote a line from the movie Jerry Maguire, “I can’t live like that. It’s not the way I’m built.”

Illustrations: Madel Crudo

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