One of the things I have learnt in this life is to always get into the mind of my challenge – or obstruction, if you will. You see, I began to tell myself that if someone can be bold enough to talk about sex with you or tell you what he wants, knowing well that it is inappropriate and totally disgusting to do so, then there is something beating good Ghanaian ‘One corner’ music for him in the bush and he sure as hell is raising one leg in the air to do the dance.
I needed to find the DJ to that music and hire him to play for me as well. Whether it is an ‘unku’, a prospective boss or a well-paying client, one thing these men usually have in common is the temerity that comes from the misguided thinking that they have the upper hand and can get what they want. They are so sure you are going to agree, and if you don’t, they are also sure you won’t sue them or beat them or even report them to anybody. They also operate with this belief that women are generally uncomfortable with the mention/discussion of sex, discomfort that makes them easy prey. It also doesn’t help that our society is very hypocritical.
As the person with the ‘lesser power’, you are expected to be uncomfortable when you find yourself at the receiving end of the harasser’s sexual attention. He is in fact banking on your discomfort to win! He starts by exaggerating your beauty; he may or may not verbalise it. Then he goes on to beat around the bush with small talk and questions that gradually lure you into and cement you inside your discomfort zone.
What then do you do?
That is the question. And here are my answers.
Clear the Bush.
When the man peppering you with undue attention starts his beating about the bush, clear the bush!
Here’s an instance. A potential boss, after asking me all the textbook questions on earth about business development, suddenly dropped a question: “How is your sex life?” It was immediately apparent that he was hoping this would knock me off-kilter, keep me uncomfortable – to what end, I had no idea.
I simply looked him dead in the eye and told him that my sex life was perfect. He didn’t back down. He asked me, “Between foreplay and actual sex, which do you prefer?”
I began saying, “It’s hard to answer this because…” [At this, he started smiling] “…it’s just like asking me, while eating, which do you prefer, chewing or swallowing? They are one and the same thing to me.”
The smile disappeared and under my frank gaze and direct answer, he shifted uncomfortably in his chair and slid his gaze away from me. And then, I went in for the kill: “Sir, now that we have gotten my sex life out of the way, kindly tell me what reporting system you use.”
His response came out in a stammer.
You see, nothing intimidates men as much as a smart, confident woman with the ability to hide her sass behind politeness.
Another instance was when a certain married client told me he wanted us to “get to know ourselves better.” He talked about how he would make me not want to be with any other man once he has finished “handling” me. I asked him if he knew what he was asking for. He said of course, that he wanted me to “be his baby”.
I said, “So basically, you want to commit adulterous fornication with me?”
It took him about 30 seconds to formulate a response, and when he did, it was to say he didn’t mean it like that, that he just wanted us to “have fun”. I asked him if the fun would entail me having sex with him. And his response – you’ll laugh at this one. This oga who’d just been telling me that he would handle me to the point I wouldn’t want any other man replied that there was no need for me “to be vulgar, that we are matured adults.”
And my retort: “Sir, only kids call a shovel a spoon. Adults call a spade a spade.”
People rarely like to face stark reality. A harasser especially detests facing stark reality. It is okay to chase a woman who is not his wife and call it fun, but when you flip the script on him, it becomes “vulgar” and “something matured adults don’t do.”
When a man seeks to unsettle you with his sexual advances, clear the bush so you can have ample space to look him in the eye and say what you should say.
Secondly, know your stuff.
In whatever field you find yourself, know your stuff! Don’t go into a meeting or an interview unprepared or else you would have opened a window to entertain bullshit. Sure, we can’t all know everything but be the kind of person who knows something about everything. Learn stuff, develop yourself and be the kind of woman who is able to wing an impromptu meeting. This of course has never stopped anything but it gives you a better leg to stand on when you are handing that jackass the map to hell.
Wear your Resting Bitch Face, and wear it well.
I love this face because it is poison behind an expressionless façade. You are smiling alright, but it is an ‘official’ smile. Not being able to predict what is going on in your head intimidates the other person. No matter how much of your buttons are pressed, do not show any emotion. Sometimes he’d make a joke to get you to laugh. This may throw you off-guard; you also don’t want to seem angry too. This conundrum is solved by simply having the Resting Bitch Face down pat. Your countenance has an important role to play when staving off unwanted attention.
Make the terms yours.
There are situations where a little flirting wouldn’t hurt to indulge. I didn’t say you should Ho’ up your future o! I’m not in that evangelism! I’m just saying: Whatever you do, do it on your say-so, not because you are held at gun point. I think it’s best not to get romantically mixed up with business, but if you must, it has to be on your terms. I know some women have compromised tit for tat in some situations but the difference between the ones who got to the top and the ones end up with no respect is TERMS.
For instance, when you are coaxed into dating a man for a contract, it becomes your badge. If someone got you to do it once, then you won’t have issues doing it over and over again. One day, you will wake up and realise that you don’t feel bad about it anymore. But if you date because you want to, whatever the condition, that puts you in charge. You can say no and yes whenever you want to and still keep your dignity intact. This means you can walk away or walk in with your head held high.
What is all this preaching about? Well, I’m just saying that we need balls! For every girl to get what she wants, she needs to grow some king-sized balls to get it!
Written by Bells