Let’s Talk Spaghetti

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

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Let’s Talk Spaghetti
Lessons Learned from Lady and Tramp in ‘Lady and the Tramp’

By Sarah Komisky

Disney has a soft spot for bad boys, and apparently, so do we. Thomas O’Malley, and Flynn Ryder are just two examples of beloved, romantic male protagonists. Both are redeemable. However, today, I’m going to focus on the original Disney bad boy himself, Tramp, in the 1955 animated classic, “Lady and the Tramp.’’

This love story involves a street-smart stray mutt who encounters a lovely Cocker Spaniel he flirtingly refers to as, “Pidge” for her perceived innocence. When Lady gets lost, Tramp comes to her aide, shows her around town and woos her with a spaghetti and meatball dinner, stealing a kiss on a bella notte!

The downfall, this dodging-dog-catcher pup gets Lady into trouble chasing chickens. When she lags behind, she gets caught and sent to the pound. There, she discovers Tramp’s reputation for being a heartbreaker. When Lady is freed and returns home to her family, the Darlings. Tramp attempts to charm her apologetically with a gift that is to no avail. Yet, when Lady calls him back frantically after seeing a rat enter her home with a newborn, Tramp saves the day and is redeemed by Lady who runs after him when he is picked up by the pound.

True to all Disney bad boys, Tramp does turn a leaf, settling down with Lady and having a family of his own at the Darling residence. Here audiences (including myself) cheer! Yet, with all its cutesiness, this film poses a key question when it comes to singleness and getting involved with a bad boy – can this personality type really change?

Ladies, have you ever encountered a “Tramp type” personality? You know him. He comes on the scene with good looks, sweet flattering talk, oozing confidence, an adventurous spirit, and little bit of intrigue. He’s different. Your hooked. But like Lady, her trusted canine friends like Jock and Trusty tell you to stay away for good reasons, but, he still catches your eye (even if he’s from the wrong side of the tracks. Deep down, you know he’s no good but wonder if he really is all that “bad.” You hear about his reputation, but continue to tell yourself that he’s not like that with you. And like Lady, you fall for a bad boy masquerading as a good boy.

So let’s talk spaghetti. While a bad boy can change, there are a few things you would be wise to consider and caution before your heart skips a beat and you proceed to be lured by pasta with a “Tramp.”

Girls, particularly, “good girls,” like Lady find bad boys irresistible because they offer a sense of freedom (masked as rebellion), strength, independence, protection, excitement, challenge, and a rewarding “fixer upper” project according to an article by Good Housekeeping.

Dr. Forrest Talley of Psychology Today says relationships with these guys tend to be “tumultuous” and create a roller coaster of emotions that leave women, “emotionally bruised and confused.”

Interestingly, women end up getting entangled with a “Tramp” type when they are in denial. “Good girls” notoriously ignore the true traits of a “Tramp” genuinely believing there is a silver lining of a bad boy may offer. In reality, it’s not who he is and it is painful for the good girl to admit, so she doesn’t.

Unlike “Lady and the Tramp,” real-life bad boys change the good girls in their lives for the worse, not the better. “Tramps” attempt to be “good” during the honeymoon period of the relationship if it means winning you over. Eventually, their bad boy antics will uncover, boomeranging trouble into your life.

Psychologists call a bad boy’s personality traits, “dark traid” which include psychopathy, narcissism, and machiavellianism (limited empathy, callous, emotionally unavailable, and manipulative). These traits can lead to reckless pursuits, short-term goals, criminal activity, addiction, and abuse.

Single ladies, a simple “apology” isn’t a cure-all. Actions speak louder than words. A clean break is hard, but needed for your own sanity, safety, and wellness. Running after a “Tramp” will always feel like work. He will like the chase, but not the commitment. Dr. Cunningham in Good Housekeeping notes, “The testosterone that makes them [bad boys] bold, adventurous, and rebellious will make them less willing to follow the rules of dating, relationships, and matrimony…they’re into conquests and looking for fresh kills.”

Therefore, before getting into a relationship with a “Tramp,” it is important to play out how it will affect your life. Then ask yourself, is this what I want?

Dr. Talley in Psychology Today also says, “…Seldom do they [bad boys] allow someone else’s belief in them to precipitate positive change; that would be an act of submission. They would be showing weakness by giving in to the will of another individual.”

Bottom line: you can’t change or fix him.

Most importantly, consider how this relationship will affect your soul.

2 Corinthians 6:14 NASB translation notes, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers, for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

While your “bad boy” might be a professed “Christian,” his actions might tell otherwise. If you already know this guy doesn’t believe what you do or desire to live a life for Christ, think about who you are partnering with. The biggest thing you can do for your spiritual health (and theirs) is entrust them to God for recovery and walk away. Bonding in any way becomes bondage and is detrimental to our spirit.

While a “Tramp” may fascinate you, make you feel alive and valued for their aggressive pursuit, or even enthrall you by their kind gestures to gain your heart, remember spaghetti is savory, but of no substance. In fact, it’s starchy! Ask God to help you be clear minded and sift through your emotions so you can be satisfied by Him and led in the right time to a safe person to love.