Walking through the airport a few days ago, I saw a very pretty woman walking the other way. She was trying to look as unattractive as she possibly could with a sloppy coat, her shoulders hunched against the world, a ball cap pulled low over her eyes.
Perhaps she had no ulterior motive and I was just reading intentions into it. But a friend of mine mentioned the other day that she wears her RBF (Resting Bitch Face) when in airports or restaurants where she does not want to be bothered by men.
Recent outrage over actions and words of the Angry Orange Troll for President is justified, but incomplete. Somewhere between “locker room talk” and physical assault (Troll accused of both) is a fundamental truth: the sexual drive of many men can make life very difficult for women.
We can talk all day long and half the night about the causes of this behavior and not get anywhere. It may be social, it may be individual, it may be biological, and is probably a blend of all three and many more influences. The answer will probably have to wait until we discover more about what it is to be human, and how the brain works.
It does seem to me that this behavior in some men has a direct correlation to their level of empathy, but that’s an observation not an explanation.
Nor does it give us an easy answer on how to avoid feeling like we have to hide ourselves in public to avoid being the target of meat seekers.
For now, I really like the approach of ownership. That is, I own my behavior, my looks, my attitudes, and my responses to people like the Orange Troll. If his advances had been met every time with scorn and rejection, and learned that he was shaming himself as a man, he may have learned his behavior had negative consequences. Instead, over the years it has worked for him often enough that he was confident in his approach.
His boorishness, to give it a nice name, is only one level of this type of assault, and in some ways not the most destructive. If we were to put it all on a scale, which can be a helpful if inaccurate abstraction, from physical rape to whining about not getting attention, there are many ways in which men make demands that range from frightening to tiresome. Biology or lack of social grace or lack of mother’s love, it does not matter. What matters is how I respond.
I am not responsible for their desire, nor required to make them happy if I’m not interested. I try to be polite if pressed, but wiling to be a “nasty woman” if pressed too hard.
I get to dress as I like and if I wear “come fuck me” shoes at the airport, I anticipate more attention. That does not give a man the right to ignore my right to say “no,” whether it’s because they are too old, too short, not the right hair color, just not my type or because I’d rather read a magazine.