You’re too late.
If you had gotten here even a few days earlier, there might have been something I could do, but…
You have arrived in 2016: The Year of No Fucks Given.
Let me backtrack. 2016 is also 10 years since I graduated high school, because I am hella old. I had always planned not to go to the reunion, because, fuck those people (I guess even early on, the No Fucks Given was strong in this one). The ones that I care about, I actually still talk to, and the rest of them I can Facebook stalk if necessary. But, unfortunately, someone in the former group started organizing…shit that we might do that doesn’t sound totally awful. Okay, alright, it sounds possibly classy and fun. Anyway, so my friend S starts putting feelers out there via FB. Within hours, I have friend request from S’s friend, C.
I knew C in high school, mostly through S. I may have had 3 conversations with C ever. So when, as a chaser to C’s friend request, he sent me the following FB message:
I wrote back:
But then I remembered. This is 2016: The Year of No Fucks Given.
Oh, that’s right! I remembered suddenly and with glee. I do not have to be overly enthusiastic. C’s feelings are not my responsibility. A “Hey” after 10 years of no contact (after 27 years of almost no contact) is not a binding contract requiring me to spill my soul.
So instead I wrote back:
(Please note that I used punctuation. Because I am an adult.)
Me: (starts to type back)
(remembers I am not obligated to reply)
(goes about evening)
Okay, C. Let me stop you right there.
What I would LOVE to do is refer you to the best thing on the internet, but it’s long and, honestly, not all of it applies to this situation (even though it’s a fucking fantastic read and you should probably drop what you’re doing now to marvel at all of its No Fucks Given glory). The first item does, though. So, let’s start there.
“Why are you contacting me?”
Why, after 10 years — most of which time I have had a Facebook — did you just now decide to friend me and divulge your soul?
I can think of two reasons:
1) This is actually a 100% true statement and you are in a place in your life where you need to say how you feel.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one, because I think it’s pretty damn unlikely. Not only did we have maybe 3 conversations in high school, but in high school I looked like this:
And I was too busy being a GIANT NERD to stop watching Lord of the Rings for the 300th time and have conversations with actual people. Actually, it’s amazing that I even had friends.
So, I doubt it.
But, okay, I’ll play. Why now? Why minutes after making first contact in 10 years, with almost no prelude? Maybe you’re socially awkward. That’s okay; me, too. If you just told me for my information, then: coo’. Thnx for the 411. If you have been harboring a candle in the wind in the storm in the cove under the lighthouse on the craggy rocks for me all these years, and you just wanted to see whether I maybe, possibly…then, dude, you need to up your talking to women game. You barely knew me 10 years ago. You sure as fuck don’t know me now.
“Geez, woman” you’re saying, “Can’t a guy give a woman a compliment?
Well, yes and no. Mainly no. Two reasons:
a) See, “you don’t know me”, above. How can this possibly be a compliment?
b) There actually are ways for having a crush on someone to go well. This isn’t one of them. Recently, a friend of mine from college, Z, contacted me after years of life got in the way. He’s going through a tough time and was telling me about it. His tough time includes a relationship struggle, in the explanation of which he mentioned that he used to have a crush on me. It was sad, and I wished there was something I could do, but what it wasn’t was creepy or objectifying. Here’s what worked about that interaction:
- Z is my actual *friend*. We spent enough time together for it to be a compliment that he was interested in me.
- Z did not just spew this information out unsolicited. It was in the context of general life catching-up.
- The way Z brought it up didn’t obligate me to respond.
So, by all means, have a crush! But get it right.
Though I think Scenario 1 is extremely unlikely, C, if you’re out there and this is actually true — not just an option you’re going to hide behind when you read Scenario 2 — then I truly am sorry for not hearing you. I appreciate your intention. I do. It’s just that my own feelings and emotional well-being has recently become more important to me than anybody else’s. The Year of No Fucks Given takes no intention-prisoners.
Sorry. You’re SOL. Few days earlier, man, I’m tellin’ you.
2) You did not have a crush on me in high school, but now you think that there is something to be gained by telling me you did.
DING DING DING! We have a winner. Hmm, let’s see — high school reunion around the corner, ambiguous relationship status on Facebook, I’m actually pretty hot now, with a bangin’ professional life to boot…yeah, I see exactly what you think there is to be gained here.
So, knowing that your message was either rooted in Scenario 1 or Scenario 2 (just kidding, it’s definitely 2), here are some of the responses I could have given:
- Coy Deference: “Aww, that’s sweet! I’m honored that you thought of me that way.”
This was my first inclination. It’s also false. It isn’t sweet. You’re trying to get in my pants, and you’re doing a half-assed job at that.
- The Ego-Booster: “Thank you! Any woman would be fortunate to be your crush :-)”
Also false (see: “learn to talk to women”, above). More importantly, I am not responsible for your feelings.
- The Realist: “Dude, WTF?”
This is probably the most honest. At least, it would have saved me all 2,000 of these here words. But I’ve learned that, as a woman, I don’t get to call dudes out on their unsolicited declarations of affection without running the risk of incurring their wrath. I’ve done it before. You see, sometimes that wrath isn’t just words. And maybe I didn’t want to spend the rest of today looking over my shoulder, wondering just how angry I made you and checking Google one more time to be sure that my current address isn’t searchable.
- The Self-Deprecator: “Aw, thanks, but now I’m wrinkly/fat/dumb/under-accomplished/etc.”
False. I am awesome (regardless of what I look like, what I know, or what I’ve done. You are, too.) Also, I’m really just not interested in engaging in further conversation on this subject, and while I might have said something like this during my more insecure life phases, I know now that this is just an invitation for you to keep talking about this. Let’s not.
- Crickets: “”
This is probably what you think my response is, since it’s taken me several hours to get my thoughts together. Maybe now you wish it was crickets. I would love to not respond at all. But, C, I don’t know you. I don’t know whether you’re the sort of man who feels entitled to a woman because he’s declared that he thinks she’s fuckable. Maybe you’re not. But I don’t know that. And my experience is that, with men like that, not responding places me at the same level of risk that outright rejection does.
Sorry, dude. I used up my last fuck in 2015: The Year of a Reasonable Amount of Fucks Given. The last one went to a male co-worker whom I did not give hell when he mailed (like, actual through the post office mailed) a photocopy of a book about sex to my apartment with a handwritten note about how more men should do cunnilingus. I mean, when it comes to giving fucks, go big or go home, I guess?
Yes. I am straight out of fucks. The Pond of Fucks is empty. No longer am I spending a few bucks a week restocking it through the local guy because he gives me a sweet discount on Locally Raised Fucks. I have fished all the fucks out and eaten them myself. They were delicious.
Because, this isn’t about you, C. This is about me. This is about me not feeling cornered. Not by you, not by anyone. We’re not doing that anymore.
Not in 2016: The Year of No Fucks Given.