Manners: NotAllMen

I can’t believe this is still a thing. I can’t believe there are still so damn many men who can’t get why #NotAllMen IS a problem.

Here’s the thing, women know not every man is dangerous. Women know that not every man is a rapist (intentionally or not is different post). Women know that there are some men who are our supporters, friends, advocates, and sometimes – yes we sometimes want this – our defenders.  I know I’ve explained what I call the Goethe spectrum when we meet strangers; but I think it’s really even easier to understand.

So a man sees a woman walking down the street and smiles at her and says hello.

The woman must make an instantaneous decision whether she is safe or not (Seriously, go read the Goethe link if you haven’t yet).  She might get it wrong. She might just be feeling anxious and this poor guy pings higher on the scale than he should.  Here is what the man should consider:

  1. She doesn’t know me. She had to make a split decision based on her own personal Goethe spectrum and I pinged high enough to merit a hasty retreat.
  2. IF I was actually a dangerous rapist/kidnapper/murderer she ignored, she just possibly saved her own life/sanity. Good for her!
  3. IF I am NOT actually a dangerous rapist/kidnapper/murderer what did she do that hurt me.

And really, just to question 3.  She didn’t say “hi” back. She ignored you.  Did she hurt you or your feelings?  If it’s the latter… well guess what, you need to put on your big-boy pants and deal.  I know for a fact that ignoring you did not cause you physical harm. Because here is what she is probably thinking:

Ok, so if I say hi back and he kidnaps me, is there anyone around? Well yeah, but by-stander effect will any of these people do anything? No clue. Ok. so if I don’t say hi, and he’s a perfectly nice guy I’ve missed out on a chance for a new friend.  New Friend or possible murderer? Possible love-of-my-life or possible next-twenty-years-in-his-basement. Possible bliss or possible torture. I’m not going to risk it! Gonna walk a little faster, get that group of people between me and him!

Ok, you’re right, MOST women probably don’t do this consciously. Only weirdos do. But I would lay donuts to dollars down that if you showed it to a woman she would nod and say it feels familiar even if it isn’t the exact wording she would process.

And it happens in an instant. 2-3 seconds. That time that you holding your breath in hope – she is running risk/reward analysis in her brain.

The next time one of your male friends tries to pull the “Not ALL men! Not me!” look at him and said, “Maybe not you. Not me. But someone. They exist and she doesn’t know if you are that one.”  And when he looks shocked and says, “It’s not fair, she’s not giving me a chance to prove i’m not!”  You can look him in the eye and say, “She’s not giving you the chance to prove you ARE.”

THAT is the champion we need.  We need our male friends/relatives to look at their #NotAllMen friends and say, “She’s not giving you the chance to prove you ARE.”