When I say the word “no”, I mean it. Unless someone is offering some of their food, because in that case I’m just trying to be polite. But in almost every other situation, the word no means what the dictionary says it means. No is equivalent to no, a definitive denial or refusal towards, for, or about something. This principle of saying the word “no” and meaning it applies to everything, except interactions between a man and a woman when she says she is not interested. When a man is pursuing a woman either romantically, sexually, or both, it seems like the word “no” and the phrase “no thank you” or even the utterance of “no I am not interested” is hardly taken seriously. Apparently in our society “no” means “yes sir, keep trying, I’ll come around.”
Why people believe, this I have no idea. I know ever since I entered high school (right after the awkward stage when there was a chance I would grow tits,) I have been pursued by both boys and men, even after telling them “no .” Sometimes I said it through mutual friends, and other times I said it right to their face, but there were always those occurrences where it didn’t deter them at all. For some inconceivable reason, these males thought that I would change my mind or suddenly become convinced that I wanted them. This wasn’t a possibility of course, but that didn’t stop them from trying. Continually and annoyingly. All the time. And when they finally realized that I didn’t like them or want to sleep with them, they made shit up.
Just recently I rejected a boy by telling him that I wasn’t interested in going on a date and he immediately made up a lie saying that I had slept with him. I hadn’t come anywhere close to his penis, yet he felt the need to lie and say I had because he was upset that I didn’t want him. I don’t know if this was because he wanted to look manly or cool or something like that or to convince his friends that even though I didn’t want him now, I did back then. It was infuriating. And not the first time that it had happened to me. There have been many experiences in my life where I have rejected someone of the opposite gender and they have immediately turned around and told their friends that I had slept with them. And I was just over here thinking “boy, if I don’t want to get a coffee with you, then I don’t want to share body parts with you”. But they just can’t seem to handle that a woman would reject them.
I’m sure that I am not the only woman who has experienced behavior like this. This is a common tendency within our culture, especially in the younger generations. Young boys and men tend to believe that if they want a woman than that woman better want them, to hell with what she says. Maybe this is a residual belief from the Victorian Era when if a woman was proposed to she was supposed to say no at least three times before saying yes. She was supposed to force the man to chase her. Or maybe it’s the common assumption that there should be a chase in the beginning of a relationship, that if you give in too easy then your partner didn’t try to win you over hard enough. I mean in my experience I have seen a lot of woman say “he has to work for it” before giving in, even if they really like the guy! But what if you actually mean no when you say it like I do? What about those women?
So how do we get men to stop doing this, and women to stop perpetuating the idea that a no is really a yes if you try hard enough? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. I worry that this behavior influences relationship culture in a lot of ways, including that of rape culture. They have to say no and maybe never even be in the same room as you for you to not think that they are saying yes. Or if your drunk or inebriated in some way, then that means yes, too. Or if you have rejected them before than maybe you deserve what they want to do. No matter what it is, no just doesn’t seem to mean no.
As Princess Jasmine said: “I am not a prize to be won.”
Over and out- Lauren