Young, black, single—and mad as hell.
Mitchell Stone just had his heart surgically removed somewhere between dinner and dessert by yet another beauty who thinks nice guys are boring. Nikki Coleman, his former high school classmate and now his colleague at Empire Records, blew him off when he asked her whether she ever wanted to be more than friends. If what women want are heartless, no-good, two-timing Dogs, Players, and Ladies’ Men, then Mitchell is going to turn himself into one of the above—or all three. But first he’s got to get the details right: filling in his bald spot with black shoe polish isn’t going to attract anyone truly fine. So, in order to find a teacher, he throws a party for some of the most trifling, disrespectful, deadbeat-daddy black men in Chicago. His dissolute friend Tony takes on the thankless task of building a bad reputation for Mitchell, aided by a monitoring system that enables him to be sure that Mitchell gets laughed at, ignored, cussed, and slapped by women of every hue, height, race, and socioeconomic level. As Mitchell points out, though, Player does not run deep in his family lines. Most of the Stone men were Do Right types, and he’s really no different. Everyone from Naomi Wolf to Dr. Rhonda Watts, a leader of “What’s Love Got To Do With It” seminars, gets a few words in on the nature and inherent inequality of male-female relationships as Mitchell bounces in and out of trouble and Nikki copes with a lecherous boss whom she ultimately sues. When a one-night stand with luscious Gina later has Mitchell believing that he’s the father of her unborn baby, Nikki realizes that she loves and hates him almost in the same breath. Is he the father, or isn’t he? Only the DNA test knows for sure.
Lighthearted look at the irrationality of dating, courtesy of second-novelist Robinson (Between Brothers, 2001).