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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

So I was at a local cafe. There’s an older dude there I don’t like. Ponytail, thinks he’s ‘all that’ and assumes some kind of mutual bond despite my relatively obvious discomfort in his presence. Something about him makes my skin crawl.

So my friend and I were together, and she having dreds, and both of us being less-than-conventional dressers for the area are often assumed to be together.

He approaches us and says kinda furtively ‘It’s SO good to see you together’. I stare for a moment, then go ‘Oh, we’re not together’. I don’t know why I say this as I don’t care what anyone thinks of my sexuality, and I have had a relationship with a woman. I think it’s because he’s seedy and I don’t want him to think he can discuss our presumed sexuality with us, that it’s his to enjoy. He says ‘Oh, someone told me she was your daughter’.

My friend says ‘Oh, most people think we’re lesbian lovers’. He’s somehow got his paw on my arm and says ‘Oh please, I’m at work!’ in that ‘I’d rather be in the bathroom with that thought’ tone. I go ‘eugggh’ (internally) and he explains how he was discussing me with someone and how they said… and trails off and leaves. Thank fuck.

My friend is five years younger than me. Fortunately the man’s idiocy is well established, else we’d both be a little paranoid. Either she looks like a 12 year old or I look like a 50 year old. I don’t. I’m 32, I look 32, and I’m down with that. But yyyyeeeeeeeesh! (Nor does she look 12). I just…who with any kind of brain can’t work out we’re not mother and daughter, and who with any semblance of intelligence, doesn’t go ‘Hey, why don’t I just ask how they know one another’ to establish this info. Cos honestly? Assuming someone is another adults mother? About as socially intelligent as asking a woman if she’s pregnant. I’ve had that before to which I like to reply ‘No, I’ve just been eating too much lately’. It stops it RIGHT in its tracks let me tell you!

I’ve told my bosses how much I dislike this dude’s presumption that we have some kind of bond, and that I’m not down with his blatant checking-out-as-if-he-owns me, that it’s discomforting to be assessed and touched and spoken to softly during our fucking business meetings. They respond ‘He’s married if that helps’. Well no, firstly because I’ve been hit on by one too many married men for that to mean anything much, and second because it’s not that he’ll directly hit on me that bothers me. I can say ‘No thankyou’.It’s that he will never do that because he’s married, but he’ll think it’s fine to just assume he can flirt (when it’s NEVER returned and I’m sending out my best get the fuck away from me vibes) that we have a bond, that he can leer and talk in his ‘I’m so Barry White’ way, and that it’s nothing, ok, fine to do even when there’s no fucking reciprocity.

I don’t care if men look at me. I don’t care if they like what they see. I don’t even care if they convey that. I care about how. You don’t fucking own me, you don’t get to assume it’s ok to ogle and scope out and leer and holler.

The times I don’t mind it is when there’s a playing *with* me. A mutuality. A tentative flash of ‘Hey, I see you lady, you’re kinda fine’. It’s down to how much the other person acknowledges you and your comfort, about a building of trust as to whether it’s ok, and how far is ok. Sometimes it will make me laugh. I don’t mind cocky, I don’t mind cheeky, I don’t mind appreciation, and quite frankly I really enjoy flirting and flattery when there’s actually an awareness of me as a person. What I mind is a proprietary attitude, an assumption that it’s fine to say/do what you like, a lack of awareness of my comfort, and it ALL BEING ABOUT YOU! Cos it is with this guy and lots of other times. I don’t know…I just…I get that from a dudely perspective it seems arbitrary about when it’s ok and when it’s not. Sometimes I can’t define all of what makes one interaction ok and another not. But I maintain my right to decide and to articulate it whether or not it makes sense to men.

And men? PLEASE learn what the tight lipped tense ‘I’m acknowledging you so as not to be punished for being rude, but please fuck the hell off’ *smile* means! Learn it, memorise it and pay some fucking attention!


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