How do you distinguish a Player from a Playboy?

Published on August 24, 2011 by      Print
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How do you distinguish a Player from a Playboy?

By Laura Riggs

(With added commentary from my dear friend, B.O.G.)

After confessing to dating a Player, I was grateful for your comments, advice, and stories, because you offered insight that, even after all of this time, I had not realized about the damage these types of relationships can cause not only to one person, but to the reputation of a community as a whole.  I also want to acknowledge that this experience is comparatively mild compared to what many of you have been through, or even what I myself tolerated in some of my previous heinous relationships.  I believe that there is value in what we offer one another in this community, and I appreciate the supportive and encouraging words.

I recently celebrated my birthday, and am reminded not only of have I officially changed demographic groups, but of how much I have grown this past year, during the aftermath of my disastrous relationship with a Player.  Last year, I spent my birthday hiking alone and mournful because I had learned the Player I was involved with had been consorting with another woman the weekend before my birthday. (Another good reason why it should be illegal to have birthdays on Mondays, right?) And my dumb ass KNEW he had been two-timing me during our entire relationship!  The birthday celebration was topped off the next weekend, when he berated the outfit I wore out that evening with friends, as it was not to his liking (a simple red, cotton summer dress, really?).

This is just a minor hint of the emotional abuse I endured over the course of time together.

(I have admitted my co-dependent needs to be the grandiose caretaker.  Maybe I am just a slow learner…..who knows?)  A dear friend of mine helped me understand how naïve I was to believe that a yoga studio wouldn’t entertain such behavior.  “Sometimes people mistake another person’s plain old greed as a path to enlightenment or empowerment.  A Player,” he stated, “is an Emotional Napoleon who doesn’t have any of his own assets — like boundaries or a healthy sense of self — so he figures out ways to pillage yours, usually in the name of some sort of spiritual fulfillment.” It has taken me longer to heal from this relationship than any other, and I needed even more time to get to a place where I feel like I can offer some guidance, should you yourself find yourself in the unfortunate position of being courted by a Player or, worse, a Playboy.

Players and Playboys behaviors are very similar. You have to spend a bunch of time with one to comprehend the subtle differences and appreciate the nuances. A Player, in short, has a treatable neurosis, while the Playboy contains a full-blown character disorder.

Ways to spot a Player or Playboy

  1. For Players and Playboys alike, a yoga practice is strictly for a good workout. They will spark your interest by performing an excessive amount of handstands during classes they take, like peacocks display their feathers when garnering the admiration of the opposite sex they are overly desperate for.
  2. Players are the ones who make the transition from student to teacher, as a way to further reap adoration from the opposite sex, learning quickly they can harvest your undivided attention for at least an hour or two of their day.
  3. Playboys, as expected, take it to the next level.  They OWN the studio, or develop and/or copyright a new style of yoga, or headline the yoga festival circuit, or lead the yoga retreat.  (They believe these achievements give them validation to degrade others because they ARE better than you, duh).
  4. Both Players and Playboys are emotionally unavailable.  So, if they happen to show any hint of feelings, it is only for the sake of maintaining their perception of power and control.  In fact, if you happen to be involved in any kind of relationship with this breed of yogi(ni), do NOT discuss emotional or spiritual breakthroughs you may have had along the way – they are incapable identifying with the feelings of others.
  5. Players try to disguise their need for domination with fabricated compassion and often state how much they “lllloooooovvvveee yoga.”  Yet, outside of the studio, they promote yoga to the few friends they have who can put up with their asinine behavior, as a “great place to meet hot chics,” so don’t be fooled.  Instead, confront him with a question like, “Dude, why in the fuck ARE you teaching yoga classes anyway?”
  6. I have been witness to shameful public displays of emotion by Playboys that would rival the best of Ms. Erika Kane’s on All My Children Trust me when I state that all of these are fraudulent exhibitions of gratitude to exaggerate their achievements in an effort to lure in new prey.  Once, I saw a Playboy snap a female student’s thong that mistakenly slipped from her lulus during class while the Playboy was teaching. After that same class, he openly cried big ol’ crocodile tears about how he appreciated everyone so much.
  7. Notice if they often use the excuse “a demanding work schedule” as their cover to balance the needs of multiple women they are involved with.  Players and Playboys alike are incapable of being sincerely interested in anyone but themselves for the long haul of a reciprocal relationship.
  8. The more committed their partner is, the more likely Players are to cheat, because they think they can get away with it.  Regardless of the proof I had of my Player’s indiscretions, he still tried to lie to me and everyone else…  even when a mutual friend met his mistress — more than a year after we agreed to see each other “exclusively” — and she openly admitted they had been dating that whole time.  He used the excuse that there was some “crossover” between his escapades. (This must be the 21st Century term for two-timing low life.)
  9. Playboys have figured out, instead, how to establish a thriving “yoga harem” to propagate their unsavory morals within the same community of studios. They establish a network of yogi-hos in different area codes.  This harem is happy to engage in exploitative acts that any normal person would eschew, because these yogi(ni)s understand if they want to get anywhere teaching in a male-dominated business there are going to be “trade-offs” for their success.

Admittedly, we co-dependents have allowed these nasty little narcissistic habits to be perpetuated for far too long.  It is in your dog’s nature to drool all over your couch and eat your shoes, just as it is in your cat’s nature to plop down in the middle of a formal dinner party and proceed to lick its own ass.  It is in a Player’s nature to strip you of your self-esteem, just as it is in a Playboy’s to strip you of your identity.  That is in their nature and cannot be changed, no matter what reality of “ideal love” you are living in.

They are emotional and spiritual bottom feeders who seek to latch onto your dreams in a compelling way because are immensely insecure and overly self-conscious.  Thus they will remain stuck in a never-ending cycle of fabrications about their personal lives, or using their significant others’ abilities to obtain easy access to their next fix. Instead of moving through the process to become aware of their faults and improve upon their actions towards themselves or others, they will pretend to be someone else and pretend that you are only an extension of that false self.  For you yogis who are vain enough to think this article does or does not apply to you, I heard you both attended the Wanderlust Festival.  Players, doesn’t it suck to know that, on many occasions, you have been passed the Playboy’s leftovers?

Grow up and get real, for substance is the truest style there is.

About Laura Riggs

Laura started practicing yoga roughly ten years ago and began teaching five years ago.  She left a successful career in advertising to teach yoga full-time because she decided it would be totally rad to pretend she was 21 again. She managed two large studios for the past two years, led many teacher trainings, and enjoyed having her soul sucked out of her. Now that the LSD in the Kool-Aid they had her drink before work each day has worn off, she is relieved to be rid of a company that believes first in money and second in “speaking your truth” — so long as it agrees with “our truth” because “our truth” can kick “your truth’s” ass!  She does admit there are days that she still checks the studio’s yoga schedule and experiences flashbacks – only to be grateful she no longer has to manage the severely undereducated teachers trying their best to fulfill the studio’s mandate to “Bring the Sexy Back” to yoga. Last time she checked herself, before she wrecked herself, yoga was never sexy to begin with…..

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21 Comments !

  1. Chrissy says:


    Well written, sounds like you are on your way out of that shit storm….and BTW, any guy who ever comments on anything that you are wearing unless it is to say ‘Wow you are looking sexy Mama’ is just a straight up asshat….that is just classic self esteem robbing bullshit….do you want me to kick his ass? ;)

    • Laura says:


      Girl – I do appreciate the offer, but you don’t want to ruin your cute little toes on some POS! And I love the phrase “asshat” – classic.

      • Chrissy says:


        Feel free to use it…”asshat” is an old family favorite! But in all seriousness, I would risk the pedi….one thing that I cannot stand is anyone who plays emotional games…just awful stuff…I also have to add that if someone snapped my knickers, they would get a backhander….more women need to follow their gut and stop trying to be overly polite to people who do not deserve their kindness…..

      • John B says:


        According to the in-house doctor at my house, these boys appear to be suffering from a bad case of “Rectal/Cranial Inversion”

  2. Nancy says:


    “Yogi-hos in different area codes’ -love that statement! Ah, yes-I must confess I, too have been stung by a playa. The capoeira world has it’s own robust supply. I once dated a stunning professor who turned out to have a wife in NY. It’s amazing what a mega dose of false flattery will get you.

    • Laura says:


      Oh, what us smart girls won’t do for “false flattery”, Nancy! Playas know how to weasel their way into anyone’s world – they are crafty.

  3. crissy says:


    laura you are such an amazing writer! you have skills. i love you.

  4. So…you want to date a yogi? A cautionary tale. | elephant journal says:


    [...] part two on Recovering Yogi:  How do you distinguish a Player from a Playboy? Far from the land of meaningless manifestation, vacuous positivity, and noxious yoga speak [...]

  5. Adele says:


    It’s too bad there can’t be an official list posted somewhere of straight male yoga teachers to stay away from…it would have saved you and a lot of other women out there!

  6. Jeff Holmes says:


    Hi, I liked your post. I can relate, as I am a “raging” codependent myself. I thought I have been “working on” not being codependent but find that it is easy to slip back into that behavior just this week in a big way it didn’t realize it until a friend pointed it out to me. One thing I have learned is that NO ONE can TAKE my self respect or dignity, I GAVE IT TO THEM EVERY SINLGE TIME. I can’t tell you how much I hated it when someone told that to me! It meant I had responsibility for what happened to me!! OUCH!!! But I eventually realized that it meant I have power to decide what happens to me. I still don’t always like that but I am getting used to it and starting to sometimes enjoy it.

    • Laura says:


      Jeff – you are absolutely correct! I had chosen to fall into a trap that I saw clear as day from 10 miles away. Walked right into knowingly, willingly. The forgiveness part starts with yourself first for choices we have made, which is sometimes the hardest part.

  7. rasmee rashika says:


    Don’t come to Costa Rica, where there are only two kinds of men: players and the really handsome ones, playboys.

  8. Vinny says:


    You probably should uncapitalize “playboy” so not to get a lawsuit or something. I don’t know if Playboy has a copyright on the word “playboys” but you never know.

  9. Assumptions | Become OM Blog says:


    [...] effort to let the story go.  The last man I was with, prior to my love, was a complete narcissistic a-hole and I was a raging co-dependent who allowed far too much bad behavior to mention in [...]

  10. Assumptions – A day in the life… says:


    [...] effort to let the story go.  The last man I was with, prior to my love, was a complete narcissistic a-hole and I was a raging co-dependent who allowed far too much bad behavior to mention in [...]

  11. How do you distinguish a Player from a Playboy? – A day in the life… says:


    [...] I recently wrote for RecoveringYogi, it is a challenge to tell if your new “yogi” boyfriend or girlfriend is for real or [...]

    Response posted on May 6th, 2017 , 1:40 pm Reply

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