Why you can't fuck me and other things I shouldn't have to explain
This post originally appeared on my Medium on April 24, 2017.
I almost gave this piece a different, less-threatening title — because I didn’t want to have to explain why I chose these particular words…which indirectly proved my whole point: there is just too much meaningless crap that I’m asked to explain on a daily basis.
My resolution this year was “to be more open,” in whatever form that takes. That largely manifested itself as saying “yes” a lot more. Yes to new experiences. Yes to recruiters. Yes to romantic set ups. Yes to new friends. Yes to just about any invite sent my way — dinner parties, drinks, picnics, trips — you name it, and I was an agreeable kitty.
So this is about saying yes to my right to feel however I want to feel — without explanation and without apology. So for this one time only, I’ll explain all the shit I’m tired of explaining (and shouldn’t have to!)…so I can get back to the business of being open.
Kiss off. (Nicely, of course)
Let’s go through these, shall we?
#1: Why I didn’t text you back
Generally, this one boils down to one of two reasons: I either didn’t want to, or I was sleeping. Because come on, no one ever really “didn’t see your text!”
But let’s break it down a bit further:
If you’re a guy that I’ve had two dates or less with — I probably meant to text you back; got busy and forgot; then felt too much time had passed for it to not be awkward PLUS…we probably weren’t that into each other.
If you’re a friend, I probably didn’t think it was necessary. I use text to coordinate, usually, rather than have extended conversations, so I promise I’m not ignoring you, but simply thought the conversation was over. I will say there are the rare occasions where I did see it, got distracted, and forgot to come back to it. In which case, I very much appreciate the follow up because if you’re my friend, I very sincerely, truly, absolutely adore you.
If you’re my mother, we’ve had this conversation and I love you.
#2: Why walking down the street is hard
Walking down the street isn’t hard because crosswalks are one of my top three fears (story for another time). It’s hard because of days like this:
Walking home from work recently, a car honked at me and I jumped; I’ve always been easily startled by loud noises. No less than half a block later, some men hanging out of the window of a passing van hollered something incomprehensible at me. There was a man walking 6 yards ahead of me and he turned around to see what they had yelled at, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Just a girl with some groceries. We travel another half a block and a fire truck goes by; they run the alarm — just once — as they pass me, the men inside whistling. The man turns around again, finally realizing what was attracting everyone’s attention. “It must be hard being you,” he says.
You don’t know the half of it.
#3: Why I don’t want to give you my number
I get it. You’re hot shit. You’re probably going to make some woman incredibly happy or incredibly miserable someday, and I wish you both the best.
But if we’ve had a nice conversation and I’ve politely declined your request it’s because — as much as I’ve enjoyed our conversation — I’m just not feeling it. Maybe there isn’t chemistry, or our lifestyles aren’t compatible, or I’m seeing someone else at the time. The point is: once I’ve declined, please just leave it and don’t look for a deeper meaning to assuage your ego.
#4: Why not wanting children or marriage at this point of my life is okay:
Let’s examine the following exchange I had with an Uber driver a few months ago. While I had a good laugh about it, it’s an example of how intrusive strangers and friends alike can be.
Uber: This job isn’t always fun, but it’s nice to have passengers as sweet and as beautiful as you. Your husband is so lucky.
Me: I’m not married.
Uber: Well, your boyfriend must be anxious to have you back home tonight.
Me: I’m single.
Uber (gasps): What are you waiting for?! You’re already (…looks at me sideways) 26? All the good ones will be taken.
Me: I’m 32.
Uber: Oh, dear.
Having or not having a family is an extremely personal decision with many, many factors. Maybe I feel too selfish to have kids. Or maybe I want desperately to be married but no one I’d say yes to has asked me. Maybe I like living alone so I can do all the weird things you can’t do anymore when you share a space with someone. Maybe I’m not able to have children.
I don’t know if I’ll ever want children or marriage. The only thing I do know is that I shouldn’t have to explain it to anyone.
#5: Why I’m angry sometimes
I used to walk home alone at night, through any neighborhood, without fear.
Perhaps because I grew up in such a safe neighborhood, I felt invincible in the way that only those whose lives have never been touched by violence do. “Who would want to hurt me?”
They did. The six people hiding in the alley.
Luckily, they wanted the $2,000 worth of goods on my body more than my body, and theft seemed to be the primary target of the attack. I escaped with mere bruises and a sore neck from where they yanked and tore the bags so hard from me that the leather strap from my purse was broken into three pieces. A friend and I found one sad piece of leather the next day when we went back to the scene of the crime to search for cameras; or anything, really.
Sometimes I want to be attacked again; so I can have the different ending I’ve re-written in my mind play out in real life, and I won’t feel so helpless anymore.
#6 Why my feet don’t hurt in heels
Because I am a goddamn pro. I don’t wear shoes anymore that actually hurt my feet, so whatever I have on — regardless of how high or uncomfortable YOU think it is — trust me, I got it. Thank you for your inquiry about my comfort.
#7: Why I don’t want to give you a smile:
I saw them before they saw me. A blessing that provided five precious seconds to cross the street like that was my intention all along, and not some ploy to avoid squeezing past the three men crowding the narrow sidewalk in front of me. They were dressed in an assortment of castoff clothing from the donation center and new Nikes that I wasn’t quite sure how they could afford. Two were nonchalantly leaning against the wall of the boarded up warehouse space. The other was standing in front of his friends with a cigarette, boasting.
Then they saw me, and the taunts started.
“Hey gorgeous, where you going?”
“Doll, no need to run off. Come over so we can get to know each other better.”
“Hey, baby, I’m just trying to play nice. Turn around and give me a smile.”
I stared forward, resolute, pretending that I couldn’t hear them. I often walk with headphones on with no music playing as a decoy, but I hadn’t today because I was just going a block and a half to the corner market. Listening for signs that they were following, I concluded they had decided to let me go. That’s right. I didn’t get away. They let me go.
I should be able to walk down the street without having to give you a smile.
#8: Why you can’t fuck me:
Because I said no.