Rejection is the pits. Everyone experiences it and you’d have to be an android to be immune to its effects.
I have been single pringle for nearly 2 years now. My singledom kicked off with rejection. Within that time I have been rejected by several men, all of whom had their own reasons for doing so. And while it stings, I do my best to manage it gracefully. My management of rejection on some occasions is better than others.
On one such occasion, I was stood up on a date. The date was his idea, in fact he insisted on it yet he never showed up. Initially, I finished my whiskey at the bar and laughed about my stoic refusal to waste my make-up. But an hour or so later, after it set in, I felt an internal bitter rage brewing. The kind of rage that unfortunately turns me into the worst version of myself. I was sitting in a packed train carriage on my way home, surrounded by couples who were all lovingly snuggling into one another. My internal monologue was rife with misogyny and self-loathing. I internally ranted with alacrity about the women around me. This must be what men really want! Quiet, frumpy, mumsie types who don’t take up too much space! Dainty pastel women who do pilates and would never fucking dream of exertion! Vapid women who might live on the edge once a month and indulge in a shandy and some gluten-free Lindt! FUCK YOU!
I detest that inner voice. Internally lambasting other women for having different priorities to me, as though that somehow means they’re less deserving of love. I’m ashamed of myself in those moments. Unpacking internalised misogyny is a work in progress for a lot of women. It’s a constant battle to reduce the sound of that inner voice, but I’m hopeful that I’m winning. These moments don’t last long and by the time I had disembarked from the carriage, it had passed. I put my headphones on and marched down some dark and rape-y alleyway home, just to prove a point. Not sure who I was trying to prove a point to or what that point was, but you get the picture.
Rarely is my internal savagery outwardly leveled against those men who reject me. I didn’t send a message to Mr No-Show detailing how I was going to seek revenge by doxxing him. I’m not entitled to his company. I, like most women, haven’t had that entitlement massaged into the psyche. Yet conversely, I have been on the receiving end of some of the worst tirades of abuse from men whose company I have declined, not stood up. Simply declined. To the extent that I don’t even flinch anymore. I’m not alone in this.
A recent online dating stint led to me sharing some interesting exchanges with my friends. Much mirth ensued. My responses hopefully serve to represent my current deficit of fucks.
But one exchange in particular stood out. I showed it to a friend. Aside from being appalled, he asked why the guy had taken such a savage u-turn. I mentioned that I was used to it. USED TO IT.
The initial message from this stranger was a very brief inquiry about one of my little hobbies, Nanoblocks (think mini Lego). I didn’t reply and I can’t remember why.
Maybe it was because of the fact that he didn’t introduce himself. Maybe it was because I read his profile and thought we wouldn’t be suited. Maybe it was because I saw his pictures and wasn’t attracted to him. Maybe it was because his profile was blank or his profile was littered with statements like ‘no fat chicks’. Maybe it was because he liked Big Bang Theory. Maybe it’s because my inbox along with most other women online, was flooded with copy and paste gems like this…
It doesn’t matter why. What matters is his response. And with my response, I decided to let him know that he was wrong in assuming I’m content with what he has *told* me I’m content with. I felt I had to explain how I really find contentment:
Some men can go from ‘liking’ a woman to subsequently wanting to eviscerate her from her navel to her chin and stick her head on a pole, in an instant. The flip flop is often baffling for men who don’t operate that way. Men who don’t respond with such violence are often incredulous when we tell them that this happens all the time. And not just online, in person too. So believe us when we tell you that these men are your friends, colleagues, brothers, fathers, sons etc. You know these men. You have shared dreams, car trips, drinks, barbells, food and merriment with them. Maybe you could take steps to help these men you know. You could help them take stock and unpack the motives behind messages like these. You never know, maybe you could be the genesis of great change and evolution within another person. Wouldn’t that be something.
Eleven Arms Productions and The Kambara Collective are working on another play at the moment, I Am Katherine. I’m so proud of it. It’s a show I wrote together with several other women as a modern response to Shakespeare’s Taming of The Shrew. These women are ferocious. Some of their stories are touching, some are frightening, some are downright hilarious and some are of their experiences with savage u-turns. Book tickets to our fundraiser so that we can raise funds to keep telling these stories for as long as it takes to make a change.