January 13, 2017

Jaslyn McCarthy

I’ve seen it before, experienced it before, and you probably have too.

“If you don’t have a boyfriend, why aren’t you interested in me?” or my personal favourite, “It’s not like you have a kid or a mortgage with the guy”.

This ‘guy’ is actually a made-up being I’ve mentally constructed in the torturous ten minutes it’s taken to get this guy whom I have no interest in to, kindly, fuck off.

I know I shouldn’t have to make up a lie to ensure a man understands that I’m not interested, but at that moment I knew it was the quickest way to get an intoxicated, thirsty fool away from me. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with both sexes letting their hair down and engaging in whatever their mind desires at the time, but I do have an issue with it when it’s one-sided. And I have an even bigger issue with it when the guy will only accept being rejected when they think you’re the ‘property’ of another man.

Women are not the only victims in this well-known situation. Think back to any age, when you had your eyes on a person of interest. You’re both at the same party, and you’re looking as foxy as ever, but they don’t seem interested in you back. You can’t help but wonder why. Do they have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Am I not pretty enough? Your mind will be riddled with questions, and you’ll probably struggle to understand why an individual doesn’t want a bar of you even if they’re as single as a slice of cheese. But why do women find this easier to accept than males? Let’s explore.

Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘the male ego’, but rather, the ego in general. Every human being is different, so it’s difficult to claim that men are more confident, or more arrogant than women. But when you place a man and a woman in an adult environment, and throw in some alcohol, you tend to see confidence levels rise for most. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be if it means you’re not respecting someone’s right to say no.

In a lot of instances, a man will only respect the ‘no’ from a woman if it is because he perceives you as belonging to someone else. Not many people want to be perceived as Johnno the bloke who razzes his mate’s missus, or Jenny who flirts with boys who have girlfriends. This is why when somebody says they’re taken, most will respect that and walk away (unless they’re reckless horn bags – yes I’ve watched way too much Kath and Kim today – who can’t respect a happily exclusive relationship).

But why can’t they just take no for an answer? Okay it’s probably not the nicest feeling in the world being told that someone’s not interested in you (purely based on how you look), but at the end of the day, it’s the woman’s prerogative to say no.

So maybe to ease the pain, we could approach the situation in the least confrontational way possible. When you say no, it’s important to remain as calm as possible, and hopefully they’ll understand that it’s not because you think they’re unworthy of buying you a drink or taking you home, but just because you’re not feelin’ it. That’s it. If they’re not mature enough to understand that, then that’s their issue, not yours.

If you are in a relationship, just tell the person. In most instances, it’s just a stranger asking you to have a drink and a chat with them, who knows, they could just be after a new BFF. A healthy relationship should not restrict you from doing that.

It may take time and experience to realise this, but even if you are in an exclusive relationship, you are not the property of anybody else. We should all just be more respectful of different people’s boundaries. Don’t only respect someone because you know they’re dating someone else, respect their decision and right to say no (hey, you never know, they might even say yes).

-Jaslyn McCarthy

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