I’ve written before about the power dynamic between men and women when it comes to dating. It’s not exactly what people tend to think it is. Either way.
As more than a few people have pointed out today, the actions of the women in this story are in fact far from ridiculous and completely reasonable when faced with dangerous psychopaths. But, you know, no one would click on the article if it was titled “12 psycho men and the women who struggled to get away”. As a subject, “Crazy Women” probably draws a wider range of traffic than “Evil Men”. But in this case, the term “Ridiculous” doesn’t really imply humourousness, but rather the insane lengths that are required to ward off people who won’t take no for an answer. Trigger. Trigger Trigger.
Blame George Takei. He shared the link on Facebook and lots of people (rightly) felt a bit offended by the title when they found the stories were much more scary than funny.
Lots of people also pointed out that it’s likely all women have at least one of these stories. I’m sure that quite a few men do too. Indeed, at my worst, I’ve been pretty tone-deaf to the fact that some bloke was dropping hints that he wasn’t keen on maintaining a fading relationship. But that’s just because I’m a bit thick when it comes to subtlety and had to learn the hard way that sometimes people don’t explain outright when they move from “I love you” to “I want to date other people” (tip: it’s at around the 4th unanswered text message)… (I sent about 50 after that)… (whoops)… I’d hope that I’ve never frightened anybody and I’ve certainly never tried to pick up a stranger or persisted beyond a “no”. I just needed to hear the no in that particular case, because I’d already been given lots of yeses and been told that my persistence was attractive, so it was all very confusing. (And men say that women are baffling and complicated!)
The no never actually came. Just silence.
It’s probably because of this that I can sympathise (a little) with the guys who are genuinely harmless but just need a firm no. We don’t all speak the same language when it comes to polite brush-offs. It’s also part of the reason why I’m firm but gentle in my refusals and try not to leave any room for confusion. That usually works, but it still doesn’t ward off the “Surprise Pass!” That’s the one where you’re having what you thought was a perfectly normal conversation with a guy (often a friend) and they just go in for a hug or a kiss (or a grope) and you have to duck away. It’s always incredibly awkward when you suddenly realise that they thought this conversation was something else entirely. And then they have to stop being your friend, which sucks.
I’ve probably been lucky when it comes to warding off most of the psychos I’ve met, but there have still been plenty of the slightly-creepy-but-on-the-fence ones. Like the guy who used to walk by my house when I was out gardening and try to strike up a polite conversation about plants… and then go and sit on the park bench across the road and watch me. Or the guy who sometimes spotted me at the supermarket and used to follow me around, buying all the same stuff that I was buying. Or the taxi driver who didn’t want to take me to the airport but instead offered to drive me five hours to my flight’s destination… actually that guy was almost certainly a psycho. Thank God for the ability to have a loud (fake) cellphone conversation in the back of his car, where I could quote his cab company and car number to the imaginary person who was meeting me at the airport.
My lack of subtlety has also meant that I’ve definitely devastated a few guys who were hoping for something more. Do I feel guilty about that?… No, not really.
See, the fact is that we don’t owe anyone a reciprocation of feelings. I’ve been attracted to plenty of guys who didn’t feel the same way about me, and although it was painful for me at the time I don’t expect them to feel bad about it. Part of being confident in yourself is also understanding that you’re never going to be to everyone’s taste.
And I have ample proof of that. Thank God that I finally found someone who’d put up with me being a psycho.