Men: they’re fucking everywhere, aren’t they? God, I had almost forgotten they existed. I used to walk down streets past men every day and barely give them a second glance, but suddenly now I am starting to notice them. Men. Everywhere. This is a post written loosely off the back of a pep talk I gave to a friend, in which I urged her: shoot your shot. (hat tip to @Oloni for introducing me to that excellent phrase)
A long time ago, when I used to date, I had a pet theory about how to make dating a little less arduous: the ‘One Drink Bailout.’ It was published as a guest blog for a fellow blogger – who, incidentally, wrote me a beautiful guest blog on crushes in return – but his blog is now offline, so the post has disappeared. It’s one of the posts I’m asked about most often, and today someone told me they were trying to find the link but couldn’t, so I said I’d repost it here. I wrote it back in 2012 so I’m not sure how it’s aged, but if you like it feel free to add it to your dating profile if you’re sick of spending long evenings on dates you know aren’t going anywhere.
When men are sexist, the least I can do is tell them not to be. I should say ‘nope’ or ‘fuck off’ or ‘are you shitting me?’ – sexist men deserve challenging responses. The last thing they deserve is for me to play along. Smile and nod and say ‘haha yes’, before sidling away and then kicking myself later. That’s the last thing they deserve, but it’s sometimes what I do.
Brace yourselves, because I want to make an argument that isn’t made that often. I want to explain why rejection can be a valuable gift. Often, rejection is good for you. I’m not just talking here about sex mistakes you could avoid – get rejected by a hot person who later turns out to be awful, for instance. I’m talking about what ‘no’ actually means, and why often someone’s ‘no’ is far more precious than a ‘yes.’
I don’t know how to deal with harassment on public transport. I’ve been harassed on buses and tubes, I’ve read lots of advice on what should and shouldn’t be done. And I want, desperately, to be the kind of person who can step up and intervene if I see it happening. But I get it wrong. I’ve sometimes successfully helped out, other times I will try to say something and – heart hammering and adrenaline pumping – I will say the wrong thing, say it too quietly, or phrase it badly, and make a terrible situation worse.
This week’s guest blog is about that – intervening in harassment. It’s not about being a hero or getting everything right, and I think that’s why it touched me so much. It’s about not knowing what to do, but knowing that you have to do something.