I have been lying to men since I was old enough to know the difference between truth and lies.
Random Dude: “Hey <Nickname he gleaned off the airbrushed shirt I was wearing>, your momma told me to come take you home.”
Eight Year Old Me: “Let me go tell my Daddy over there.” *points to man who was at the park with his own kids and was NOT my dad*
Sometimes it didn’t work so well:
Random Dude: “How old are you?”
Ten Year Old Me: “12” *keeps getting hit on*
Sometimes it downright blew up in my face with how badly it didn’t work:
Random Dude: “How old are you?”
Twelve Year Old Me: “10” *keeps getting hit on*
Fourteen Year Old Me: “12” *keeps getting hit on*
Sixteen Year Old Me: “14” *take a guess, folks*
Random Dude: “Is that (toddler aged sibling) your baby?”
Fourteen to Sixteen Year Old Me: “Yes” *keeps getting hit on*
The lies that didn’t work (and the truths that also didn’t work) followed me from my childhood to my adult years. I’d say I was too young, or too old, that I didn’t have a phone number, and the number one “get the fuck away from me” line – “I’ve got a man”. I used it. No matter if I actually did or not. Some times it would work, a lot of times well…
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Feminace, why did you spend so much time making up lies when a simple ‘I’m not interested’ would suffice in avoiding unwanted attention?”
You may even be thinking, “Are you doing feminism wrong by making up a supposed ‘owner’ of your girl-bits to avoid being bothered?”
Oh, my sweet summer child.
The best way to explain would be in song. Don’t worry, I’m not going to sing. Anyone remember this little ditty from 1992?
It’s called “I Got A Man” performed by a gent named Positive K and is positively the catchiest tune my little preteen ear had heard that year. I had this song memorized. It wasn’t until several years later, when I was able to call street harassment for what it was, that the song went from delightful to fucking obnoxious. This dude is every persistent fuck I’ve had to deal with on buses and trains and on the street. Here, read the lyrics. I know, I know, there would be no song if he just dipped the first time she says “I already got a man”, but it wouldn’t make such a wonderful example of how it’s not women not saying ‘no’ correctly that’s the problem, but men not accepting it, because they don’t like the answer.
The dude keeps talking. He accuses her of “getting a kick out of telling brothers no” (and that’s before she even mentions having a man already). He accuses her of trying to “play him like a clown” when she says she isn’t the type of woman who cheats or flits from man to man – one would think that would be an admirable quality. He plays sour grapes – don’t come crying to him once he becomes big time. And in a show of the pure essence of pathetic if he wasn’t so infuriating, he claims to have a bigger dick.
The only thing that seems to shut him down is the claim that this woman’s partner buys her gifts and takes her out on dates: “Well you can keep your man, cause I don’t go that route”. Gee wiz, what a charmer.
That only lasts for a brief musical interlude, because BOOM! he’s got one last trump card, how much pleasure he could give her. You know, between you and me, dude, I would have led with that first and save the peacock posturing of how awesome you are for much later. Like never.
Okay, enough of my attempt to analyze music. The point I’m trying to make is that no one gets to judge how another person avoids harassment. Okay, I take that back. You’re welcome to judge, and I’m welcome to call you six shades of asshole for it. And the most recent attempt at this nonsense has come in the form of attacking the “I got a man” defense as, I guess, a bad feminist act?
You know, if your defense for the ladies sound a lot like blaming said ladies, you’re doing something so very wrong. It isn’t the fault of the woman who wears a fake ring or invents a fake boyfriend that some dudes will only respect another man’s “property”. We are not the ones perpetrating that nonsense. Sometimes it is a matter of safety or convenience (if you call “being able to go through your day with the possibility of less harassment” a convenience). And yes, the song I talked about shows that even that won’t help at times – there’s more than a few songs out in recent years that have dude lording over the fact that they can have other dudes’ ‘girls’ – but if it makes a woman feel more secure, then your “judgement” is just plain fucked.