Single-Minded: On Halle and Her Men

It's time to rewrite the narrative of Halle Berry's love life. We're asking the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking, ''Why Can't A Man Keep Halle Berry?''

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I assume Halle Berry has friends. That there are people not on her payroll that can look into those million-dollar eyes and say, ''Girl, keep it moving'' or the converse, ''Girl, keep your man.'' So last week when the contract on her relationship with longtime beau/baby daddy Gabriel Aubry ended, I figure the actress had already workshopped the idea and came out the other side with one gorgeous man edited out.

But in the final cut of Ms. Berry's love life, the marquee will always read, ''Why Can't Halle Berry Keep A Man?'' in monstrous flashing lights. Very rarely do ticket-holders (the folks shelling out good money or too much free time for a front seat to someone else's grief) ask the more obvious question, ''Why Can't A Man Keep Halle Berry?''

''Anyone who continues to pick the wrong man time after time has issues. She needs to stop dating and start to heal and fix herself FIRST,'' e-shouted one commenter from the soapbox of the Huffington Post. Another agreed, ''It's time to stop the self-pity and victimization game, and square up with the truth.'' Over at The YBF a commenter summed up her feelings in nutshell, ''Why Halle gotta be a nut case?''

True the common denominator in all of Halle Berry's relationships is, in fact, Halle Berry. People magazine lists four official couplings for the Oscar winner since 1992: athlete David Justice, actor Michael Ealy, singer Eric Benet and model Gabriel Aubry. Four men in 16 years? That's being ''unlucky in love''? By contrast George Clooney, the perpetual poster child for eternal bachelorhood, has had nine, according to People.

So far, Aubry has had nothing but kind words for his famous ex. ''She is, and will forever be, one of the most special and beautiful people that I have ever known, and I am certain that we will continue to have only love and respect for one another,'' said the True Religion model in a statement released through his agency, Wilhelmina Models. And for her part, Berry looked more than single and ready to mingle at a recent charity event in New York and playing beachside in California with the couple's daughter, Nahla. But paying customers don't want to hear about joint custody.

Or maybe something's just right? Maybe when Halle sees the writing on the wall she does what every self-possessed woman with deep pockets can and should do--she jumps ship. A quality I'd rather admire than deride. For so long, I thought it a weakness, rather than a strength, to know when it's time to cut and run. Isn't having a good exit strategy preferable than an over-extended hostile occupation?

''If dude is telling you 50,000 ways that he ain't ready, listen to him,'' concluded one of my best friends at the end of a marathon My Life Sucks and Every Dude I Date Turns Out to be a Raging Asshole phone call. Like a pop-up message, she was usually always right--but still annoying as hell.

She had memories of my own scattered past to share: Like when West Point Willy told me he wanted to ''take a step back'' and I let him date other women, knowing he'd come back to me one day because--hellooo--I was the best thing that'd ever happened to him since not dying in Iraq. I wasn't and he didn't. And when Abdul said he wasn't over his ex-fiancée and I gave him time, because seriously, that chick was hideous and he, despite being Muslim, bought me a DVD player for Christmas. Like if he could barrel through religious road blocks as hard-core as Islam versus whatever I was, then forgetting some hideola girl who wore jean skirts should not be that hard.

Then they got back together in three months, and I got Netflix. And when James said he thought he would lose his job shuffling legal briefs because I worked in the newsroom 21 floors down, and I thought he was totally justified. The plan was to just wait until he went back to school in the fall. September came and went. He started dating some midget who ran marathons and, according to Facebook, liked cooking ''big ole meals.'' Awesome.

Can Halle Berry keep a man? Meh. Whether she's a narcissistic nag or just a regular ole girl who knows when to say when, what Berry can do well is break up with the wrong man. A quality some (namely one Helena Andrews) might want to learn someday.

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