Let’s talk for a minute about female autonomy. Yes, the crazy notion that women are independent sentient beings. You might be thinking, “Duh, everyone knows that women are capable of thinking and making decisions on their own,” but you’d be wrong. In the past few days, this has become painfully obvious to me.
In one of many disconcerting encounters this week, a man sidled up to me as I crossed the street and casually asked, “Can I buy you dinner tonight?” When I looked him in the eye and responded, “No,” in the clearest tone I could muster, he didn’t seem perturbed. “You got a boyfriend?” He asked, as if my saying yes would explain away my lack of interest in him. I didn’t respond. Instead, I stormed away, wondering why I was so angry about this particular interaction.
Three times this week I’ve been propositioned by strange men on the street, but this one stood out. It reminded me that many men still only respect women’s rejections when there’s a man involved.
Despite the fact that I said “No” to this stranger’s advances, he immediately wondered if it was because there’s another man I defer to. He didn’t think about the fact that I, a woman, could just be not interested.
So let’s be very clear: When I said “No” to this guy, it had nothing to do with the fact that I’m in a longterm relationship. It had to do with the fact that I didn’t fucking know him. Typically, I don’t agree to do anything with people I don’t know, let alone go on dates with complete strangers who ask me out in the middle of the crosswalk while I’m minding my own damn business.