Let me tell you what it’s really like to be single and in your forties. It’s like wading through a sea of wankers… without the right sort of water-proof breachers or oversized galoshes to help you avoid being splashed by the seemingly never-ending tide of bullshit. Of which there is a lot.
I remember being told when I was in my twenties and thirties that “you have to kiss a lot of frogs”… About a year ago I got really ticked by that advice because, well… Hello! Frogs! And not a Prince amongst them! There was, however, Mr Wetwasher, who roamed my face searching for my lips. And Mr Tennis Pro, who was intent on serving an ace with my tonsils. There was Mr Vacuum, who wanted to suck my mouth into his own. He got a perfect seal every time… And The Devourer, who was not satisfied until he had explored every nook and cranny above neck-line with his tongue. (It’s alright if you vomited a little in your mouth just now, I did too.) Some of these guys needed to be masked up like Hannibal Lecter.
More recently though, there was Mr Friday Night. (As in last Friday night.) Or as I like to call him, Wanker Extraordinaire.
In a crazy moment, no doubt induced by the spicy cocktails I had been consuming, I thought I would rock up to the guy standing at the bar and try my luck. Let’s start by acknowledging how brave that was. And also, how guys are always saying that they wish on occasion a girl would approach them. So I did!
I sucked in my stomach, got my swagger on and gave what I thought was a come-hither smile (which, note to self, clearly doesn’t work if you are the one doing the hithering). I opened by flattering him on his beard, or something along those lines. And after that it was all downhill. A slipper slope of nastiness in which I spent the next 15 minutes (felt like an hour) being ‘negged’.
Now, I’m going to admit that prior to this experience I didn’t even know there was such a thing as ‘negging’. It was only when a male friend suggested that my mistake had been that I hadn’t opened the conversation with a ‘neg’ of my own, that I did a bit more investigating.
I’ve since read ‘negging’ described in lots of ways, but boiled down – it’s when you put-down to pick-up.
Yes, you read that correctly. The idea is literally to put her down, baffle her with your rudeness, make her feel foolish… so that she – with her apparent genetic disposition of needing to be liked – will do everything possible to appease you, get you to pay attention, flatter her.
A ‘neg’ is typically used by a guy on a girl he thinks is out of his league. By being rude and offensive, thinly disguising this as wit, he attempts to gain her attention by going against the norm. It’s based on the chauvinistic belief that women routinely use their looks to get ahead in life and have become immune to every day compliments. To break through her colossal ego (not to be mistaken as confidence, because that’s a male trait), you need to bring her down a peg or two by saying something moderately nasty so that you stand a better chance. In my case my name was mocked, I was questioned over my heritage, I was challenged on my knowledge of basic geography and laughed at because of where I work. And that was just the first five minutes.
I honestly wish that was the bullshit part.
Apparently this is what happens when you drop out of the dating circuit due to overseas postings. The world moves on, shifts from civilised compliments and offers of a drink, to apps that play on your growing ‘fomo’, to tactics of scorning, mocking, laughing at, belittling a person to get their attention and win them over.
Personally I call that bullying. In as much as, just like bullying, the idea of a ‘neg’ is to undermine the other person’s self-esteem. In this case mine. The message was clear – How dare I have the audacity to walk across there in the first place and strike up a conversation?
Unpacked, ‘negging’ is just a fancy word for verbal abuse. It fosters an attitude that confident, outgoing, successful females have forgotten their place in society and need to be reminded that they are to be seen, not heard. ‘Negging’ is about relegating women back to the sidelines to wait quietly in the hope of being noticed. It is a tactic employed by men who are not comfortable with the changing gender dynamic in society, of women leaning in, of the strong re-emergence of feminism and equal rights in public discourse.
All I can say is, if this is what Friday nights are about, then count me out. I’m not interesting in playing your game of bar bully. Relationships are built on mutual respect and kindness, not disparaging comments and small minded wankers, who are threatened by women who have made something of themselves.
At the heart of all of this is a sub-standard male’s own inadequacy and subsequent fear that we don’t need you… well, in this case, you are correct.