|Posted by S.M. Carrière on June 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM|
Good morning, Readers.
A quick couple of disclaimers about this post:
Confused? Repulsed? Intrigued? Read on. This is going to be a long post today, folks.
Alright. Here's the deal, fellas (and gals inclined to gals). When a girl who is working is nice to you, it is not a come on. They're being nice to you because it's their job to be nice to you. Politeness and courtesy are not flirtations. Seriously. They are very different things. HERE. It's a dictionary. Look it up.
Hell, even if a girl is being nice to you and she isn't working, it's just because she's being what all people ought to be to one another. Nice. Courteous. Welcome to civilisation.
In either case, what she's not doing is saying, "Tee hee hee. Please come on to me and make this interaction suddenly awkward (at best) and scary (at worst)."
And here's another thing, 'gentlemen,' being nice to a girl does not automatically entitle you to any kind of acknowledgement, romantically inclined or otherwise. You should be nice, because it is the civilised thing to do. You shouldn't expect a cookie for doing what you should have been doing in the first place.
THIS guy gets it.
Right. So, if you happen across a girl you find attractive, by all means, give it a shot. Lots of people don't and you never know if you don't try, right? But if she says 'no' you need to respect the hell out of that and back the fuck off. Alright? Because no means no. Do you know what else means no? No. That's right.
And here's something to keep in mind when dealing specifically with women who are working when you meet them. They are doing their jobs. It is often impossible for them to tell a creeper to back away without facing some serious job-related repercussions. That puts you, sir (or ma'am.... let's not get too heteronormative), firmly in a position of power.
If a server refuses to laugh at your misogynistic and, frankly, sexually harassing jokes ("You know what else you can do while your down there" while she's picking up the mess you made, for example), she knows that she'll be stiffed a life-saving tip. This is sometimes devastating, as many restaurants have a tip-out, in which servers must pay a percentage of their sales (not just their tips) to the cooks, bartender and bussing staff. Some nights, depending on the whims of the patrons, this means that a server can end up paying the restaurant to work. It sucks. So she sucks it up, puts up with the leers, the crude comments and the occasion slap on the arse because she knows that patrons can make her life hell if they don't.
Speaking of, always tip, you cheap bastards.
It's a bit better for people in retail. They don't have to tip out. What they do have to do, however, is remain courteous, respectful and kind no matter what is hurled their way. I once had a 'gentleman' stalk me while I was working retail. He would come in and hound me about going out with him. He was a special snowflake, you see, who was set to inherit a large property in Scotland soon. As such, he was entitled to any young lady of his choosing; whether or not she wanted him in return (and despite the fact that she was also more than half his age). It got so bad, my manager kept an eye out, and any time she spotted him coming up the street, she'd warn me and I'd have to go hide in the tiny kitchenette until he left. We still weren't allowed to tell that 'gentleman' to go stuff himself. Our jobs depended on it.
In my current case, if I rebuff a creep in the manner most deserving of his level of creepiness, he can make my professional life all kinds of hellish. Author behaviour counts for a lot amongst readers (myself included - I will not buy a Orson Scott Card book because his comments regarding the LGBTQ community are horrific and obnoxious). If word gets out that I'm an awful human being, whether true or not, my fledgling career will suffer for it. I could also get peppered with one star reviews and awful comments by said rejected (and possibly his trollish friends), whether or not they've read the stuff.
You laugh. This has already happened. I happened to anger a person I knew outside of my writing by no longer putting up with his shit. Granted, it wasn't creepy shit, just trollish shit. He then created a fake online personality (of another gender, even) and left this review for me:
Review on Feb. 13, 2013 : 1 star
Dull, predictable, reads like fanfiction.
He also used same said fake personality to leave an idiotic comment on this blog (which was roundly rebuffed by fellow author and generally awesome cranky person Renée Miller. She's got awesome books, you should check her stuff out HERE).
Before you ask, yes, I know precisely who this person is and that the account they used was fake. I wrote about it in a separate blog post and, very unsurprisingly, wonderfully fake reviewer and troll hasn't been heard from since.
This has a direct impact, not only on my ability to make a living as a self-published author, but also on my chances with traditional publishing houses. There is no way in hell they would pick up an author with a truly terrible reputation.
These are things I am continually aware of when I'm out and about doing my author things. And these are things that push the balance of power firmly in the hands of the creeper on the other side of the table making things uncomfortable for me/the poor girl who has no choice but to put up with this shit.
Let me be clear, it does not matter how nice you are to my face, the minute you use the power you have to try and get your way, you prove yourself to be not a nice person at all; you are, in fact, a grade-A arsehole of the highest degree.
Look, I actually love being around other aspiring writers, and the readers of said writers. I love speaking to the awesome people who stop by my booth at a convention. Even if they don't buy anything, they've always been supportive and lovely without fail. It makes me incredibly happy to meet these folks because they are usually at these conventions for the same reason I am - they love this stuff. They love the comics, and the movies, and the cartoons, and the books, and the toys, and the weapons (mmmm..... swords!) around the stories that people have painstakingly brought to life for their enjoyment. This makes them some of the most incredible people to be around. Shared passions makes for an awesome experience.
Most of the time. Every so often, you get that one person who doesn't understand the difference between being nice and being creepy/threatening.
I have had people ask me out while working, and then persist even after multiple 'no's. Someone told me they wanted to lick my ear (I will remember that until the day I die) while working. I've had married men buy me jewellery - and if you cannot see a problem with that, you need to go sit in a corner and have a looooooong chat with reality - while working.
None of this is bragging. It would be bragging if I ever enjoyed these experiences. I don't. They are intensely uncomfortable and turn an otherwise enjoyable interaction into something stressful; precisely because any rebuff of these actions puts my writing career in jeopardy.
Well, I'm tired of having to put up with uncomfortable situations, and I'm putting my foot down.
I get that meeting someone new who is into the stuff you're into is probably really exciting. I created the monthly meet-ups specifically for people who might want to hang out and chat with me for a bit in a stress-free, pressure-free environment. I'm not there to sell books. I'm there to hang out with awesome people who might also want to hang out with me.
I want to be the kind of author that is open and respectful of their readership. I'm not interested in appearing aloof and distant. I aspire to this precisely because I now how incredibly awesome it is to be able to interact with authors I admire. Steven Erikson now has a genuine fan girl because, not only are his stories frakkin' incredible, but he took the time to reply to the letter I sent him.
So, I will continue to be open and receptive and friendly. That is not an invitation to any amorous advances.
One last thing before I finish this particular rant. I'm just going to reiterate what I said at the start of this post.
By all means, if you find a girl attractive, ask her out. But you cannot be surprised or offended if she declines the invitation. That's her prerogative, and it probably isn't even a reflection of you. Perhaps she is already casually seeing someone she hopes to get serious with and isn't interested in seeing someone else. Perhaps she's very single and still isn't interested in seeing someone. For the record, not all women think snagging a man is any kind of life goal. She mightn't have the time to give any fledgling relationship a fair shot. It might just be that she's much more focussed on building her career and really isn't interested in relationships at all. There are infinite reasons as to why she said no. What is important is that she said no.
If she declines, that's a 'no.' It's a no even if she declines politely. Respect that no. Leave off. Continuing pursuit isn't endearing, it's creepy. Back. Off.
Sure, lament to all your friends about how you and her would be perfect together, despite the fact that you have met her all of once and don't know her in the slightest. You're into all the same stuff, after all. Or something.
You must understand that she is her own person with her own brain, wishes, dreams and objectives and as such, probably sees the situation very differently than you. Hounding her with a bunch of reasons why you think you two ought to date is not on; not in the slightest.
You may think she is the most goddess-like goddess who ever goddessed in all of goddessdom. That is your problem.
Don't make it hers.
Kali. She is also a goddess. Be careful what you wish for.
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia.com)
Categories: Random Musings