Male Advances: Let's get on the same page
I was sitting at a tram stop waiting to stuff my face with delicious Neapolitan pizza, when a good friend of mine unpicked her most recent encounter with the opposite sex. Let's call her Samira* and this is how she'd gotten pulled into dating someone she was not interested in. You see, Samira was at her place of work when a colleague asked her to go over details for an up-coming project. This started out as let's grab a sandwich at lunch and culminated in a three-course steak dinner at a fancy restaurant over a bottle of red.
Samira kept me informed at every stage of this development and made it clear how uncomfortable she was feeling. Especially, when I asked to see the menu at the restaurant he'd proposed - €22 for a starter (if you know what I mean). I was really clear up front that I thought he thought this was a date. My test? If he offers to pay on his personal card - it's a date. Now, Samira is always looking for the good in people and so turned up to this fancy af restaurant with her laptop in tow. I don't need to tell you that they didn't go over her business proposal.
Somehow - I blame this on my being away for the weekend - Samira got sucked into a day trip with the little rascal. Don't get me wrong, if she had been interested in dating this person and if she hadn't been lured into these dates under the premise of her job. Then, maybe it would be sweet of him to pursue her in this way. In reality, this is massively inappropriate. But before you click off I don't think this situation is isolated to professional situations. There seems to be an entitlement about guys pursuing whoever they fancy regardless of the consequences.
For example, Samira and I were in the gym a couple weeks earlier and this massive guy comes up to us while we're just trying to get our sweat on. I only want to say this once on behalf of my whole gender (isn't generalisation fun!) - DO NOT HIT ON SOMEONE AT THE GYM. Or at the very least wait until they're heading out the door to offer your number. On this particular Wednesday evening, I had just showed Samira how to do a bent over row in a way so that she wouldn't put out her back. I've been lifting weights for over 3 years now and have done some personal training - so I was feeling pretty confident in my demonstration.
Regardless, of having seen me just spend 5 minutes explaining the move to her - and this is not the first time this has happened to us - this guy comes over. He touches her lower back encouraging her to arch it and pull her shoulders back. Yes, this is what she should've been doing to improve form. But, no it is not okay to touch or help girls in the gym without their explicit consent. At the very least, you need to ask before you touch someone - ew. So, I'm pretty pissed off to be honest. Here we are two women in a very smelly, testosterone filled gym and this guy is man-splaining how to lift better. For want of a better phrase - f off.
You might think I'm over-exaggerating at this stage, but he persisted to 'help' us for the next 40-ish minutes and as we went to leave he hit on Samira hard. She was not interested. As, I've said I have no problem with guys pursuing girls they like because in reality if she had been attracted to him then she would've been pleased. But this level of persistence is exhausting. To be honest, neither of us went to the gym for a week after this because we felt so uncomfortable we were going to run into him. Now, Samira has the similar situation at her job!
What both of these situations had in common was they both continued to pursue Samira even after she had specifically articulated she wasn't interested. It was like her rejection was really just a warm-up where she was playing hard to get. And, yes, I think Samira does need to take some of the blame for these situations because she's quick to give guys the benefit of the doubt and isn't necessarily as assertive as she could have been. Personally, I never find myself in situation as prolonged as she does because I'm very clear early on whether I'm interested or not. Normally, with some reference to me being a bitch they'll leave me alone.
Firstly, I'm so glad I see their true colours after rejection because people's who's masculinity is dented by my not being interested for whatever reason is not the kind of person I choose to be with. I think this might be why I find the gym pick up the most uncomfortable because this guy is normally wearing close-to-nothing in clothes and is coming off of a testosterone high. Secondly, can we please move away from the assumption that if a girl is not interested than she is a bitch? I'm so tired of it and no I'm not a lesbian or in a relationship either. Please just ask nicely than leave me alone if I'm not keen.
I hope this hasn't come across too negative, but I'm really sick of apologising for not being interested in guys who put themselves out there to be with me or my friends and I know a lot of girls who feel the same. By all means be polite and upfront about your intentions - at the very least it's a nice ego boost. But, don't be pushy or aggressive. In both of these cases Samira ended up wriggling out of the awkward situation after giving them both her number and getting told she was a tease for not dating the first guy. So, girls please be confident in your choice to say no and you really don't need to be rude. But, guys can you be self-assured enough to take the rejection. If anything the people who initially I haven't been attracted to, I'm more likely to give them a chance in the future based on their reaction to a no. If in doubt, kindness and respect should be the foundation of any inter-personal interactions please!
All my love, Sam
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.