I belong to a dating site. For some reason a tiny part of my brain keeps telling me there's an awesome man out there who's perfect for me, despite all evidence to the contrary. I don't mean there aren't awesome men out there, because there are - loads of them in fact. They just seem to pass me by.
Two nights ago I got a message from one of them. It was perfectly polite and normal, asking if I'd seen a particular TV programme, and all spelled correctly. I didn't find him attractive but I'll usually respond if I think I can have a decent conversation. I jumped on to his profile. This dating site gives you questions to answer in an attempt to match up personalities but how effective they are I don't know.
For the question "No means...?" he'd answered "A no is just a yes that needs a little more persuading." I went back to his profile and blocked him.
Did he really not consider how reading that would make me feel? What would he do to persuade me? Would it involve drugs? His fists? A knife? Would he follow me home or bombard me with phonecalls, texts or emails? It shows a breath-taking lack of empathy for women. Most women have feared sexual assault at some point in their lives, even if it's not all the time, or even every day, or just in certain situations. Such as being with a man who thinks he's entitled to persuade her to have sex with him. Some men answer that question "No means yes!" and they are rapists. They should be in jail. In fact, I think if my local police force set up a fake account on there they could probably solve some outstanding rape cases. These men are saying women are obligated to have sex with them, they won't take no for an answer, and they're quite willing to admit this, in public, in full view of women they're presumably trying to form a relationship with.
I do think "Yes means yes" would be a more effective anti-rape campaign, simply because too many men are thinking "Well, she didn't say no" when sexually assaulting passed-out girls at parties. It's bad enough that they're rapists without having to listen to their weaselly semantics.
As an aside, another thing that worries me is how prevalent it is in romantic comedies to have men chasing after women who've said no. If I turn a man down, I don't want him showing up at my place of work with flowers, crashing my nights out with friends, or following me down the road in his car. Why do women think this is romantic? Call the police and get an injunction. Or maybe this is a play hard to get thing I don't understand. Women thinking men want to be treated that way. Men thinking women expect them to behave that way. And then those of us who think it's totally creepy behaviour get swamped by people who think this is how it should be.
And that's probably why I'm single.