Last Friday night reminded me of why I avoid going out: men. And no, not all men—just a certain type of men. The one who prowls clubs looking for a partner to do the dirty with. The one who thinks he’s entitled to your attention. The one who’s shocked to find out he’s not.
But that’s what it’s like when you go out in a small town.
It was karaoke night—and there were only around 20 patrons in the entire club. It was the first time I’d gone out in months—with my mum and best friend, no less. But of course, when there’s a woman, there will be a man thinking he’s entitled to her attention.
A random guy came up and put his hand on my back.
“Come on, come up and dance. Support my buddy,” he said.
Firstly, no. Take your hands off me. You have no right to touch me—even if it is just my back. The location isn’t important: the lack of consent is.
“No thanks!” I replied. Because dancing in front of some random dude who thinks that’s a sign i’ll go home with him is probably the last thing I want to do.
“No?” he was shocked I’d refused—and with no excuse either!
“No,” I responded, smiling and waving my wine glass.
With that, he left, shaking his head. What a shock that must have been! A simple “no”, rather than an excuse. I didn’t tell him I wasn’t drunk enough to go dance, I didn’t tell him I had a boyfriend, I didn’t tell him I wasn’t at all interested: I just told him no—and that’s how it should be.
Ladies and gentlemen: you don’t owe anyone anything. It’s not bitchy to refuse. It’s not rude to refuse. It’s your right. Just because a member of the opposite sex happens to smile at you doesn’t mean you have to do anything. You don’t owe him anything. Women do not exist to pump up Male egos.
I’ll repeat that: women do not exist to pump up male egos.
And really, if your ego can be shattered by a person saying no, you probably weren’t all that good to begin with.
Hey you—yes you. You, with the sad eyes. You, who constantly checks their phone in hopes of seeing a certain someone reply. You, who is waiting for the person you love to treat you how you deserve. You, who have been stood up, cheated on, lied to, and played. You, who justifies why they do certain things—and that it’s “not really that bad”. I want you to listen very carefully to me: you deserve more.
It’s taken me nearly 21 years, but I’ve finally had a life-changing realisation: I am worth so much more than I’ve received. And I bet most of you are in the same boat. I have been in a number of relationships where honestly, I’ve settled. Maybe they are great people—but if they don’t treat you great, why are you with them? Why do we put up with such bullshit? We know we’re worth more—so why do we do it?
I was dating a guy a few years ago who was probably my first real adult love—and boy, did I love him. I was crazy for him—even though he did not so nice things. Don’t get me wrong; he did some very great things, too—and I know he loved me. But that doesn’t mean I, or you dearest reader, have to settle. He would often stand me up to hang out with his mates instead. He would lie to me about whose bag of pot that was I found under the coffee table. He’d lie, and tell me: No baby, I’m not on drugs, I promise. That was someone else’s; they just left it there. Trust me. He’d ignore me for days on end when I did something he didn’t like. He’d try to control who I could and couldn’t talk to—and get mad when I disobeyed (and consequently ignore me again). But worst of all, he told me he loved me—and then he cheated on me.
In another relationship, my partner wouldn’t make the physical effort to come see me. He wouldn’t make plans with me. Hell, he actually organised to go on a camping adventure on my birthday—and this was after not seeing me for a month. He thought that was perfectly was okay. Again, he was a lovely guy; and he absolutely adored me. But once again, I settled for treatment I didn’t deserve.
I’d been single for quite some time when I met my last partner. I thought he was perfect—but it was only after the relationship ended that I realised how terribly sad I was, and how much I wanted so much more. He is a great guy. He cooked me awesome food, and would even find recipes without things I’m sensitive too (despite the fact that he loved those ingredients). He’d give me back massages, and make me coffee. He would listen to my rants. He would calm me down. At the time, I thought all of this could make up for the bad things, but this is the truth: that kind of thinking does NOT work. It could have been so much more. It could have been beautiful. But it wasn’t. There wasn’t any spark—there wasn’t any romance. I was giving so much more into the relationship, desperately hoping to bring it to life again. We would only talk or hang out if I instigated it—and being a long-distance relationship, talking was pretty important. I felt isolated, ignored and unwanted. I gained weight, too. And then he cheated on me—with none other than his ex-girlfriend. I convinced myself that this was okay—that I should take the good with the bad, and that it would all work out. But it didn’t.
Why do we put up with these things?
Why do we settle for less than we’re worth?
Why do we convince ourselves that things are okay, when they’re clearly not?
Ladies and gentlemen, I make this pact with you: I am never going to do that again. Is it so much to ask for someone who treats you well, and who won’t ignore you or cheat on you?
No. It’s not. And no, that’s not some bullshit and ridiculous notion of “having too high standards”. Fuck that. Love yourself, guys—there’s too much hate and too much self-questioning in this world.
YOU, dear reader, are worth so much more. And I think the moment we start to realise and incorporate that into our lives is the moment our pain and suffering sets us free.