Nobody likes rejection. It’s never a nice feeling, but it is one that we will all experience during our lives and one we must learn to overcome. However, not everybody handles it well. As I’m sure many Single Ladies will tell you, many is the time where someone either physically or romantically interested in you will try to make a move. Many Single Ladies will also tell you that when you turn said person down, they can respond very negatively indeed.
A quick disclaimer– today’s post is mainly going to be about the Single Lady turning down men and how a some men react negatively to this (some men, to you privileged male crusaders about to jump down my throat. Not all men). With that said, I am sure that a lot of what I’m about to write can also be applied to multiple rejections– when the Single Gent turns down a lady, or perhaps when ladies turn down ladies and men turn down men and anybody turns down anyone and so on. As I said, nobody likes rejection, and there will be parallels across all situations.
I had an experience whereby a rejection I made was taken negatively just last Sunday. I’d like to say that “our eyes met across a crowded room”, but instead it was more like he tried to catch my eye in the supermarket while I pretended to be fascinated by the cabbage I had just bought. After a very poor opening conversation (casual sexism and racism are really not great icebreakers) he discovered that I was single and so invited me to go with him to a party that night. For one thing, he looked at least four years younger than me and as myself and my really quite exhausting 8am – 5pm job approach 25 years of age (going on 75) I find I am suddenly far too old for that sort of late-night shenanigans. So I declined. But he was clearly not going to take no for an answer, so he asked again, trying to grab my hand, adding that “You’ll like me once you get to know me”. Fortunately, I was then saved by a lovely old lady who ushered me to safety.
Had I had the chance, I would have declined again, and I am fairly sure he would not have given up even being turned down a third time. What I found most interesting was his claim that “You’ll like me if you get to know me”.
That line is characteristic of not understanding why, even though a woman is single, she isn’t so desperate that she’ll say yes to anybody who asks. It is well known in the world of women that some men will actually ask you why, if you’re single, you wouldn’t want to go out with him and this bitter feeling then pushes them to do really quite nasty things to the girl who has rejected them, on occasion. I have known women who have been treated very unkindly by male friends after ‘friendzoning’ them, for want of a less politically-charged word. One friend of mine once lost her entire group of friends because the chap she said no to decided that if he couldn’t have her, she couldn’t have anybody. He then went about turning all of their mutual friends against her– all because he couldn’t understand why, if she was single, she wouldn’t go out with him. Sounds like high school, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t, we’re talking people in their mid-to-late 20s, here. This attitude crystallises that expectation that if you’re a Single Lady, you can’t possibly be content with a life lived alone and therefore it’s unthinkable that you’d turn down any man who offers you affection. Beggars can’t be choosers, and all that.
Well gents, I have news for you. Single Ladies, especially those single by choice, are probably the most choosiest, picky, least beggar-like women you will ever meet.
Believe it or not, the Single Lady has standards. I feel that while this assumption goes unspoken, men believe that a single woman will ‘lower her guard’ or ‘be easy’ because she is single. The truth is in fact otherwise– because she is single, she will be on much higher alert than usual and with what I would imagine are really quite specific criteria for the night. You could be the most beautiful Adonis ever to grace this planet, but if Adonis just doesn’t do it for her then she’s not going to say yes. End of conversation.
Some men (and, I am sure, some women) can sometimes then resort to tactics bordering on intimidation when rejected, too, such as hassling her for a phone number or an address or just a reason why she’s rejected him. Physical contact is also sometimes used. They are small things that can later be passed off as ‘just being friendly’– the grab of a hand, an arm around a shoulder, touching her face– but for the woman involved, if you’re not joining in with the flirting, such a blatant invasion of your personal space is frightening and are often major alarm bells that this is an individual who does not respect her body, opinions and security. Listening to BBC radio here in Japan the other day, I heard a troubling statistic that 77% of female domestic homicide victims in the UK between the years 2013 – 2015 knew the perpetrator as a partner or ex-partner. In 97% of cases, the partner or ex-partner was a man. It’s therefore quite understandable, with statistics like that, that a woman’s gut feeling when she’s being intimidated by a man becomes I want to get out of here. And so, you think of the thing to say that gets you out of trouble fastest, and that is seldom the truth.
I am ashamed to admit that I am guilty of this. Even though my reason is very often “Mate, I just don’t like you, so get out of my face”, I have often been cowed into making up stories, too. I’ve just come out of something long term, I’m moving away next week, I lost my phone, I don’t have a phone, I’m actually an international porn star so it’ll never work out between us… Such are the various lies that I have come up with to justify my reasons for rejecting men. The worst ones I find myself saying that make me die a little inside is when I invent a waiting boyfriend, father, brother or other male figure depending on the situation to make myself ‘off-limits’ to the aggressor so they will leave me alone. Essentially, I objectify myself to show I am already objectified and, therefore, you’re wasting your time. And I hate it– I hate that I have to justify my reasons for saying ‘no’ like that. What I really want to say, of course, that I don’t need to justify myself. If you ask a girl if she’d like to go out for a drink with you sometime, that’s an invitation, not a direct order. She has every right to decline. And if you then try to coerce her into having said drink with you, that doesn’t mean you’ve won her over or you’re wearing her down, that makes you controlling and unkind.
Going back to my disclaimer, I am of course not saying that women are not guilty of such tactics. I have heard of women getting very upset by the idea that a single man would turn her down and can behave in totally inappropriate ways herself. Female stalkers do exist, and while less likely to be prone to violence than male stalkers, they can still be intimidating and it can be very frightening for the poor Single Gent involved. I write this post from the perspective of someone who has, so far, only ever dated men but I am also aware that poor reactions to rejection can also rear their heads in the world of same-sex relationships.
On the other hand, sometimes, successful relationships do begin with one party refusing the other– the ‘thrill of the chase’– and I know people who met their now long-term partner through such an exchange. However, the thrill of the chase doesn’t give you license to keep bothering her if she is clearly not interested in the chase– if what you feel for her is affection and not a desire to conquer, then you should be willing to put in the years of patience to get to know her.
So gentlemen and ladies all, the next time a Singleton turns you down, do them a favour and don’t get aggressive, don’t feel hurt and don’t push them for a reason why. They doesn’t need one. Most importantly, don’t take it personally. By turning you down, a Singleton is not attacking you, nor do they have any particular problem with you. There are many factors as to why they might decline, but it will just boil down to the case that something about the situation isn’t right at this time. Besides, one love interest turning you down doesn’t mean all other love interests will do the same. If you’re looking for your beloved, they will appear. Just be patient, give it time, and don’t go upsetting anybody.
Or, if that’s not working out for you, you could try being a Singleton. It’s really quite fun.