In a follow-up from my previous post, I’ll give two examples from that night of kind rejections:
Someone, who I never got closer to than across the room caught my eye. She looked back at me and we made eye contact. I smiled at her, she smiled back at me, then turned her gaze elsewhere.
That’s it. The whole exchange took no more than one or two seconds.
It felt good. My attention was acknowledged. My friendliness was reciprocated. The short duration clearly indicated no further interaction was desired.
There is a delicate balance here of subtle timing and body language that the above description doesn’t cover completely. The duration of eye contact was neither abrupt (dismissive) nor long (inviting), but in between. The smile was friendly, but the head was aligned straight (assertive), not tilted or lowered (coy).
It really isn’t difficult or complicated, but I very much appreciate it because it’s not often done well.
I can highly recommend for many men* that you click on the picture above and learn to consciously read body language so you don’t go around unknowingly harassing women* when they have already non-verbally said no. Vice-versa, I’ve created this card and am currently working with an online card printing company to make it available for ordering online:
*normative language and generalizations being used here for ease.
Someone else, who I can not remember their name, but who I still clearly remember and will probably for a long time.
I was flooded with feel-good and cuddle hormones, sitting in a little dome and talking with a few people including a woman I’d only just met. The conversation was enough for me to feel a desire for physical connection, so I stretched out my hands and said, “I invite you you touch me.”
I’m pretty certain that she misunderstood me, but it doesn’t matter. What she did sticks in my mind and is a wonderfully kind way to reject someone. She said, “…and I invite you to take your touch somewhere else.”
Then the held my hands for a few seconds (well away from her body) before letting go.
It felt so good! It was her boundary being expressed… and in that moment, I felt more connected with her than if she had bared her breasts for me. There was a boundary met, communicated, understood and appreciated. That gave an intimacy that I had not expected in a way that I had not anticipated.
This was a mindful way to reject. Fully acknowledging the request without negating it. Kindly saying no without judgement of intent.
This is an example that I want to follow. An example in real life, in the heat of the moment, in a complex, unpredictable environment executed in a “textbook” way that comes straight out of a cuddle party workshop. I want to be like this and how I intend to act. I only hope that this awesome experience will pop in to my consciousness the next time I am in a similar situation but reversed.
Thank you mystery woman. I hope you read this. Know that you are now one of my Heroes of Consent.