Last night I got an OkCupid message from a dude who had been peppering me with “small talk” messages for two weeks. It had gotten to the point where seeing his name in my inbox made me heave a belabored sigh. As a raging introvert small talk is something I hate under the best of circumstances, 2 weeks of messages that gave me nothing to hold onto was like slow water torture. Side note, in Portland I’m running into more guys who want to exchange daily “hey, how you doing?” messages. I’m not one of those people who says “let’s just meet right away, none of this extended message stuff!” on the contrary, I like to get to know people a bit before we meet so that when we do we can jump right into talking with out the awkward small talk (which we’ve established I hate) but the endless messages that say nothing hold no interest for me. Consequently I stopped answering this dude. Rude? Probably. But life is short and I just can’t… Anyway, last night I opened my email to find this:
Clearly the gentleman didn’t like being blown off and decided to (what?) yell at me about it? Change my mind by insulting me? Make me feel bad? What? I was annoyed. And then I was pissed. I thought of every guy online who messaged me over and over, making me feel like they were trying to bully me into going out with them. I thought of every time I’d ignored strange men talking to/yelling at me/telling me to smile on the street only to be asked “what’s your problem?” I thought of the guy who, after being told I didn’t want to see him anymore proceeded to ignore that and continue to text me demanding that I “stop dicking (him) around” and you know what? Fuck’em, all of them.
No one deserves to be harassed and everyone should have their boundaries respected but I’ve been thinking lately about my specific boundaries. In my quest to better understand people in general and myself in particular I’ve been learning more about introverts. I’ve been coming to understand a lot about why I am how I am but I’ve also been thinking about all the times I’ve been called a “bitch” for not engaging with men the way they want. I’ve thought about how often I turn up the volume on my ipod, bury my nose further into my book in an attempt to be invisible. I’ve thought about how often I’ve apologized to people who decided to try to get what they wanted by berating me for not acting in the way they’d like. Then I cried (I am me after all) and blocked this douche, something I had never done on OkCupid before.
I realized that I’ve been blocking folks on Twitter for a while. Every week or so someone will take offense to my assertions that women are people or that gay people are people or that people who have sex are still people etc and try to goad me into one of those ridiculous internet fights. That’s not how I interact with people, it causes me to shut down, I hate it. So, I stopped tolerating it. It took until last night for me to carry that action into my real life.
I’m done with feeling shitty for being a “bitch” when I don’t feel comfortable with the way people approach me. I’m done with living in fear of folks yelling at me. I’m done with all the shit. This is who I am and if it makes you angry that’s your own damn problem.
ps- I’m actually really a nice person and can be quite outgoing and talkative (as my blog indicates). Seriously when you see me out on my tour or at a conference come talk to me, we’ll have a blast! Just skip the small talk, please.
pps- I’ve been reading this and it’s been tremendously helpful:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
ppps- This is the first post I’ve ever had to come back and close the comments thread on. I did it because some douche left a 2 comment, 700 word long screed against women and then came back, a month later, with an abusive comment when I wouldn’t publish it. Thank you, sir, for proving my point.