At the last few events that I’ve been to, I’ve completely embraced my extroversion and been mindful of how I react to it. Interestingly, I’ve found a distinct difference in my reactions to rejection. I’m referring specifically to rejection from sexuality-apparent-gender-compatible people (I can’t find a word to describe this, but in my case as a heterosexual cis male, that means people who appear female to my eyes).
When I am ignored indirectly, as in a crowded train, supermarket or city center, I literally don’t care. This is the default state in a city. It is tiring and impossible to acknowledge everybody that you walk past. They may as well be mannequins to dodge around for all the feeling they evoke in me.
When I am rejected directly and personally, as in we’ve been talking and I ask for her phone number and am refused, then I am completely okay with that. It doesn’t feel good, but neither does it feel all that bad. I feel a mild disappointment that her informed choice does not align with my choice. It doesn’t feel personal at all, despite that it is in fact a rejection of me, personally, specifically.
When I am rejected directly and impersonally, as in we make and contact and she deliberately looks away, refusing after that to even look in my general direction, then I feel utterly rejected. I am not just rejected, but my very presence is rejected. It is a whole rejection of not only my inner being but also my superficial exterior. Not even the book’s cover is worthy of a glance. It feels that bad; that my existence is not even worthy of acknowledgement.
Intellectually, I understand it to have nothing to do with my person. Even more, I understand it to have nothing to do with my exterior – with one exception – that I appear male. I also understand that this is most likely to be a self-defence mechanism to prevent unwanted attention, constant flirtation and strings of chat-ups.
So I let the feeling go. I let it slip away so that it no longer grips my heart and I can feel the relief of pressure in my chest. Nevertheless, it does feel terrible.
For this and other reasons, I am definitely self-serving when I support feminism. I know that misogyny hurts men as well as women and we could all do with more feminism in our culture to build a more equal and sex-positive environment for us all.