civilized responses

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In conversation recently I talked to a guy who shared his frustration about being “ghosted” by a woman with whom he felt he had a perfectly fine date. Theoretically I would have agreed with him that she could have just said at the end of it, when he asked to keep in touch, that she had a nice time but didn’t see it going anywhere. But I know that I have never been able to do this – and I have equally been almost totally unable to disappear from someone’s life completely without any kind of explanation whatsoever. Truth be told, I have mostly been scared of men my entire life – too afraid to disappear completely (what if they then find me and react badly?) but equally too afraid to wound a fragile ego. The point isn’t me, though.

No, it’s the idea that these people (usually men) who insist that they “just” want someone to be honest with them, that it would have been fine to say “thanks, but no thanks” are out of touch with reality. They often, as news stories everywhere all week long have pointed out, take a polite rejection as an invitation to keep trying, keep pestering, push harder, and sometimes, it escalates into outright threats and violence. This is nothing new to most women.

Sure, it might be civilized and polite to be able to say to someone, “Thanks for the drink, but I think we should go our separate ways”, but reality has taught us that we are rarely met with civilized responses.

 

Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash

scarred eyes open

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FRIENDS
Adam Zagajewski

My friends wait for me,
ironic, smiling sadly.

Where are the transparent palaces
we meant to build —

their lips say,
their aging lips.

Don’t worry, friends,
those splendid kites

still soar in the autumn air,
still take us

to the place where harvests begin,
to bright days —

the place where scarred eyes
open.