It’s hard to talk about rejection without sounding like you’re looking for sympathy. What’s more, it’s almost impossible to make rejection sexy. So on this sex blog, I very rarely talk about times when I was dumped, or when a hot person greeted my clumsy ‘fancy a shag?’ with a ‘no.’
But I think it’s important to talk about rejection. Firstly because I don’t want to give the impression that my life has been an unending sex-fest with anyone I choose. I hate to think I’d feed into the myth that men will fuck anyone who asks, because it’s total bollocks, as most people who’ve tried to fuck men will tell you. Secondly, there are often great things that come out of rejection: friendships made, lessons learned, disasters averted.
So, with all my love and thanks to each of them: here are three guys who’ve rejected me.
Men who’ve turned me down: The lesson learned
This was an older boy I met when I was thirteen. He was graceful, beautiful and infinitely cool – mostly because of the age gap. I fantasised about telling my friends I had a boyfriend who was so much older, and anticipated him getting a car, then driving me around so I could show off.
He was fourteen.
We met on Saturday mornings, at a club a friend of mine went to. We didn’t do much – just hold hands for hours. No talking, either, because we were kids, and we had absolutely nothing to say to each other save a mumbled ‘hi’ then a ‘see you next week’ when we parted. But for three glorious weeks in a row I’d put on eyeliner, go to the club, hold hands with this boy and ache for him to kiss me.
On the fourth Saturday I got a phone call from a friend of his telling me I was dumped. I was frigid, apparently, and he wanted a girlfriend who’d kiss him.
Lesson learned: If you want something, speak up. Pretty obvious now, but at the time I was in the throes of intense lust for almost any guy who paid attention to me. Skater guy cracked my heart a tiny bit, but I’m bloody glad he did: from that point on no matter how sad a ‘no’ made me, I could still take comfort in the fact that I’d asked.
Men who’ve turned me down: The friendship
I knew him very vaguely on Twitter, and we went for drinks. We had a lovely evening chatting, and I totally failed to read any of his ‘no, thanks’ signals, because I am a fool. When I texted him the next day he gave me the most honest, straightforward ‘no’ I’ve ever had, and it was lovely. Something like ‘you’re a lovely girl, but I just don’t fancy you. I had fun though, so shall we be mates?’
I’d like to say it made me better at reading signals, but I don’t think it did. However it did let me experience what I always thought would be the harshest rejection, in the nicest possible way. I was online dating at the time, and I’d heard (and offered) excuses ranging from the practical (“You’re in zone 6 and it takes too long to get to your house”) to the bizarre (“You remind me too much of my ex and I can’t deal with that right now”). These excuses are all usually there to mask the awkward truth: I just don’t fancy you.
I always thought that to hear it straight out would hurt, but I was surprised to find it didn’t. Perhaps because he was such a nice bloke, or because I had nothing riding on it other than a vague desire to shag him. Either way, though, it was refreshing to get the most honest answer, and learn that it wouldn’t break me.
We still see each other around occasionally, and it’s always nice to say hi.
Men who’ve turned me down: The almost-disaster
This one happened at University – I’d gone out with a flatmate and we got wobbly drunk. The kind of drunk you only get when there’s a deal on cheap cocktails and a deal on shots and you can’t decide which to do so you have both. Every round.
He was with another bloke, and both of them were much older than we were. Old enough that they stood out, on a Thursday night at a student-heavy nightclub. She asked them to buy her drinks and I helped hold her hair back while she was sick in the toilet.
The oldest guy – forty five, maybe – was leering and stood far too close. His eyes were all over my friend and his wallet was open and eager to give her more of what she asked for. I chatted to the younger guy and he explained that his ‘friend’ was actually his boss. He tried to keep the look of disgust from his face, but failed. Horribly.
When it came time for us to leave, Boss offered to pay for a cab to get us home. This was an offer we should have refused – not least because my mate was vomiting in roughly fifteen-minute intervals, and it was touch-and-go whether we’d make it home before the next explosion of pink-cocktail sick. But Boss insisted. And he continued to insist, and although his mate tried to just give us £10 for the fare, Boss bundled my friend into a taxi before I knew what was happening, so me and Other Guy leapt in too and I gave the taxi driver the name of our halls.
By the time we got back, I was convinced that we’d got into a weird ‘this one’s yours, that one’s mine’ situation. I thought Other Guy would take me, while his creepy Boss fucked my drunk friend. So I leant in to kiss him.
“No,” he said, firmly, pushing my shoulders away.
“Because you’re drunk.”
I think that was the first time I’d ever been turned down for being drunk. It’s not the only time by a long shot, but when I was nineteen it had never occurred to me that ‘because you’re drunk’ would be a reason to turn someone down. On the contrary – drunkenness had usually been good enough reason for some twats to take advantage.
He eventually managed to steer Boss outside, and heave his drunken arse into another taxi. I pushed my number into his hand, and the next day he texted me to check that my friend was OK.
For a week or so I waited – hoping he’d text again to arrange a date. A sober date, where we could chat and flirt and joke. It wasn’t until years later that I realised he’d never intended to sleep with me. He was only there to make sure his Boss didn’t fuck my friend.
So when people tell me that guys will fuck anyone, or that rejection is inherently awful, I think of these blokes, as well as the countless others who’ve told me ‘no’ for various reasons. Rejection hurts, for sure, and I’d never want to diminish someone else’s sadness if they’ve been turned down. I just wanted to highlight, for the sake of honesty, that I’ve had quite a bit of rejection too. And sometimes, despite desperately wanting a ‘yes’, I realise that ‘no’ was the best possible answer.