Apologise no more – women don’t owe men an apology for rejection

apologise no more
| Feminism > UK Feminism


Here’s my story, a short and no-doubt familiar one: I was asked out by someone and I turned him down. I turned him down more than once, because he asked me out more than once. I found myself apologising. Why? I didn’t do him any wrong. I wasn’t denying him something he was entitled to. No one is entitled to anything from another person, not even respect.

We’ve all been taught manners since we were old enough to speak. We say please and thank you, address adults by their appropriate titles and apologise when we’ve done wrong. Examples of wrongdoing include when we say something unkind, for example, or take someone’s belongings. Saying no to a date or romantic advances is not one of these examples.

It seems as though a simple ‘no’ results in a verdict of guilty for some kind of  unspoken ‘crime’, but why should we feel that way? There’s no crime involved in not being attracted to someone. Saying ‘no’ frees both of you to continue on your way. In my situation, I thought it to be kinder than saying ‘yes’ with no intention to invest in a potential relationship.

None of us are entitled to a date, nor a smile, or even a glance and it’s time this was taught. Too many men are unable to respond with basic human courtesy to a rejection, like this man’s escalating response to Huffington Post editor Emma Grey when she rejected his advances. There should be no shadow of shame when we speak our mind even if it’s not the answer someone was hoping for. We shouldn’t have to give them our reasons, either – and, more importantly, they should take our answer as it stands. It’s not acceptable to turn the rejection into a bartering contest or try to shame us into submission. Men: If we turn down an offer, we have given our response and that should be respected even if you do not respect us.

When a man turns down a woman, she mumbles her apologies and skitters away. We’re still stuck with the idea that women must always be the ones to apologise – and it’s time to stop.

I realised this as I walked away – after apologising, of course. It’s the honest truth that I stopped in my tracks as realisation washed over me. If I hadn’t been tired, I would have walked back over to him and retracted my apology! Because I’m not sorry, and I made a promise to myself to never be sorry again. If any apologies are in order then it’s he who owes me one  – for asking me again even though I made it very clear the first time that I. am. not. interested.

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