One Friday night, my friend and I were drinking outside our usual pub, waiting for someone to meet up with us. While waiting, we were talking and a guy came up to us, looking right at me and asked where I was from. I looked at my friend and gave a waning smile. I told him I was from Chicago, and he immediately began asking me questions as well as telling me about himself. In the five seconds that I spoke with him, I found out that he was Scottish and French, was fluent in French, and he wanted to sit down with us to join our conversation — which had nothing to do with where we were from, or what languages we spoke.
It has now been over a year that I have been in England and this is not something new for me. There have been plenty of times that I will be outside with my friends talking and a person — most of the time a man — will jump into our conversation to ask me, “Oh, are you American?” and then just start talking about the one time they went to America, did something American, ate from an American chain restaurant, or thought about America. These men come up to speak to me not because of what I have to say, but how it is that I am saying it.
Now I am not going to rant about how AWFUL it is to be a young, single American woman in a foreign country who is hit on mainly because of my accent. Woe is me, what ever shall I do with myself? That is not the reason for this post. But I do find it odd that when after they finish their story — and I always let them finish their story because I am nice like that — they ask if they can join us. And when I say that I prefer that they don’t the mood immediately shifts.
Like that one Friday night, as soon as that one guy asked if he could join us, my friend said no thank you. For no other reason except that we didn’t really have anything else to chat about. And he just wasn’t very interesting. And all of a sudden, he became hostile. He started asking, “What? Why do you have to be like that? I just want to talk with you two and you’re being such a bitch!”
Yep. He called us a bitch.
Why is it that as soon as I tell you that I would rather not speak with you — for whatever reason — that I am the bitch? Maybe I have a boyfriend. Maybe I am a lesbian. Maybe, just maybe, I am not interested in you. With the numerous times I have been hit on, there are also numerous times that I have been called a bitch for telling a guy to get lost. I don’t understand what it is. Why is it okay for guys to be completely honest with a girl and say something like, “You know, I really don’t think anything is going to happen between us,” or whatever, but as soon as a girl tells a guy that she is not interested, there obviously must be something wrong with her. Because, certainly, there is nothing wrong with the guy.
Sure, a guy gets rejected by a girl, it happens. But how is it okay to respond to it by becoming hostile and begin name calling? Because as soon as you do that, I definitely don’t want to talk to you. And sometimes if I say no thank you, the guy goes, “Oh come on, why not? Do you have a boyfriend?” I refuse to lie and say yes to that statement. It should not only be okay for a girl to say no thank you to a guy because she is already claimed by someone else. A woman should be able to say, “No, I do not have a boyfriend. I am just not interested in what you are selling.”
I have one friend who when he would talk to girls, and they said, “I have a boyfriend,” his response would always be: “Well I have a goldfish. … I’m sorry, I thought we were talking about things that don’t matter.” I asked him what his success rate with that little nugget of sexual prowess was and he said that it works maybe 50% of the time because the girl is lying about having a boyfriend. And the girl will go, “Okay, that was a pretty good one, I will talk to you.” No. Shame on my friend for using an illogically stupid saying, and shame on girls for having to lie about having a boyfriend to ward off being called a bitch. But I will give my friend credit, if the girl tells him to back off, he does.
I also have another friend who went to a junk shop and bought a fake ring so when guys would hit on her, she would just flash him the fake bling and they would back off. What? Is this real life? How is this okay? Men don’t wear fake wedding bands when they go clubbing. Women should not have to buy fake engagement rings. Does this concept sound as messed up to anyone else as it does to me?
If a woman says no to a man asking for sex, he has to stop. Because if he continues, that’s rape. But if a woman says no to a man trying to hit on her, he is for some reason allowed to act out and call her a bitch. Could you imagine if that logic worked for the first scenario? A woman tells a man, “You know, I really do not want to have sex with you.” And the man then responds with: “What the hell is that? We were just fine a second ago. And now you are saying no? What a bitch!” How ridiculous does that sound? But that’s happened to me for the second scenario and that was considered to be okay.
I have almost been kicked out of a pub because some guy called me a bitch and I began telling him in a harsh, loud tone how that was not the correct way to speak to a woman — or any person. Because it isn’t.
If I am willing to respect a man’s wishes when he is not interested in me, he must respect mine when I am not interested in him.