I’m the type of person who wears their heart on their sleeve.
I’ve been the one to initiate just about every one of my romantic relationships.
Any time I’ve found myself with more than just a passing interest in someone, I’ve made sure they knew it.
As in, I flat out told them, “I like you. I want you. “
Which is why I find it so perplexing and frustrating that guys continue to act like I don’t really know what I want…that I somehow need them to “convince” me…
I don’t understand when I tell a guy “sorry, I’d like to be your friend, but I’m not interested in anything else”, and they second-guess me…or worse, they get angry with me over it. (Oh, gee…I want to be your friend. How insulting!)
On a related note, I’ve had numerous people impart the “wisdom” that a woman should play “hard to get”.
That it’s important to marry someone who loves you more than you love them.
That even if you’re not interested, a person still “deserves” a chance.
I’ll admit, I’ve questioned myself a few times.
I put myself out there, and I love hard…and of course, there have been times when I’ve gotten burned.
Sometimes I wonder if I’d be better off holding back…
But I can’t bring myself to do it.
I don’t play those kinds of games.
It seems wrong for me to withhold my love…to try and coax someone into “fighting” for me.
(I’m cringing just writing those words. Ugh!)
It would be inauthentic. And that’s not who I am.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read “Why I Never Play Hard to Get” by Rachel Kay Albers.
“When we send the message that resistance is a form of flirtation—a strategic move in the game of love—we romanticize the imposition of one human being’s will on another. The building block of violence. By looking at love and sex as a game, a chase, a fight, we give violence our social permission, cultivate a rape culture, and throw consent out with the bathwater. If, as Rhiannon says “I don’t know means No. I’m drunk means No. Maybe means No. I don’t seem into it means No,” then that should apply to every aspect of the dating experience. Hard To Get and No Means No don’t—can’t—exist together. One lives in a world of conquest and the other of communication. And if you say No when you mean Yes or infer Yes from another person’s No, I’d say you’re not really communicating.”
I could have written these words. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to hear someone else say what I’ve been thinking all along. As important as it is for us to get this message out to those “nice guys” who trick themselves into thinking they’re doing something “noble” by being “persistent”, it’s just as important (if not more so) to offer validation to the people who are honest, who actually say what they mean and yet still end up enduring the onslaught of unwanted attention. Those whose thoughts and feelings are dismissed on a regular basis in the interest of perpetuating the conquest myth.
Women aren’t delicate flowers incapable of interpreting and communicating what we want. We start out as babies, conveying what we want and need loudly and clearly…both the boys and girls. It’s only later on, after we’ve had it drilled into our heads that it’s “not nice” to turn someone down because we might hurt their feelings…after we’ve met with too much aggression or been dubbed a “frigid bitch” one too many times, or called a “slut” for being open and forward about what we want that we start to shut down. I know I’ve been guilty of offering up silence and a diverted gaze because I was too exhausted to try and argue.
I can’t imagine a more perfect disclaimer than the one Albers offers here:
“No, I don’t play hard to get. If I like you, you’ll know it. If I don’t like you, you’ll really know it. And if you decide to cross a line despite my big, hand-painted “No Trespassing” sign, we’ve got a problem.”
How’s that for loud and clear?