Friday, November 9, 2012

Act Like A Lady: How To Let Him Down Easy


Kim Hodges


“Kim, you will not believe what happened to me last night!” My sister exclaimed. It was her junior
year at Howard University, and she was perfecting the subject of partying. I don’t want to give you the
impression she was just a party girl, however. She was an Information Systems Major in the School of
Business’s Honors Program, received excellent grades and worked on Wall Street every summer. She
also knew how to take advantage of DC’s extracurricular activities and I loved hearing
about it. “I went to Republic Gardens Last Night (a club in DC some years ago) and this guy put his
hand on my butt. So I moved his hand from my butt, and he punched me in the face.”

“WTF? Did you just say somebody punched you? And did you just say that he did it because you
removed his hand from your ass?”



I had to repeat what she said because obviously I was missing part of the story, i.e.
the part where she did absolutely anything that would warrant a man putting his hands on her in the
first place, and second a man punching a woman. This was a foreign concept to me. But, then again,
DC was a foreign world. “So what happened?” I inquired. “Cindy saw what happened and me and her
jumped him and then he got kicked out of the club.”

Needless to say, when it was my turn to venture onto the campus of Howard University, and more
importantly, the streets of DC, I was well aware I was no longer in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia I had
an attitude that thought it was cute to be stank or rude to a guy if he hit on me and I wasn’t interested in
him. I’m going to go ahead and admit it…I was a bitch. It was funny to me. And with the horrible
played out lines that most guys approached me with, I thought they deserved a rude response for the
rude way in which they sought to gain my affection. The end result of my stankness was at worst a man
calling me a bitch which wasn’t the end of the world. It was a war on words and I would likely win.

DC was a different animal. If a man hit on you and felt you were disrespectful, there was something
about the culture that found it acceptable to put their hands on women. I was not about to be one of
those girls if I could help it. Let me make it clear, I don’t think my sister did anything wrong. But, there
were a lot of other girls there who were just stank. And bottles would get thrown at their heads, or they
would be threatened, or hit. Howard girls had a reputation in the DC area for being uppity, and I was
not going to prove them right.

I was also not going to entertain anyone I had no intension of dating either. Thanks to technology,
giving out a wrong number could be a very bad decision if the guy calls right in front of you. That’s
no longer an option. Giving a guy your number and not answering his phone calls pisses them off as well.

In the event that you see that guy again, you could wind up in a very bad situation, awkward to say the
least.
There’s only one thing to do, say no. But, the key to avoid being offensive is the way in which you say it.

DC helped me to perfect the art of the letdown.

Step 1: Acknowledgement. I remember watching the Oprah Winfery show one time and she said
that one thing that she has found to be consistent across everyone she has met is that they want to
be acknowledged. I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. When a guy hits on you,
no matter how rude, or how dumb his line may be, acknowledge that they just spoke to you. More
importantly, acknowledge that they just complimented you. Yes, even to the man that is ignorant
enough to think that the line “Damn bitch, you fine!” is going to get you into bed with him, acknowledge

the compliment. It’s a simple as a thank you, and keep on walking…quickly. If a guy says hi to you, say hi
back. If you are not interested, keep on walking…quickly. Most importantly, to the gentleman
who approached you the correct way, acknowledge him. He really deserves encouragement for simply
being polite, something that is missing too often now a days.

Men have the challenge of approaching women. They have to face the possibility of rejection. I think
just the fact that they try means that we should give them respect. I’m glad I don’t have that pressure.
You should be glad you don’t as well. At the very least hold a mini conversation. If you are too busy to
talk, at least respond to their inquiries. The conversation doesn’t have to be long but acknowledge that
they are there.

Step 2: Say No Thank You. If someone acknowledges your beauty or your sexiness, it’s a compliment.
Again, it may not be the compliment you want or from the person you want to hear it from, but you
want to hear it. It feels good for someone to say “I’m interested in you.” So that off the bat deserves
a thank you. I always assume whomever is complimenting me is doing it in the best way that they
know how. If you are not interested in them say “no thank you”. It’s as simple as, “I appreciate your
compliment, but no thank you.”

Step 3: I have a Boyfriend. I’m not naive enough to think that when you tell a guy that you have a
boyfriend that they care. I’ve actually found that it’s a turn on for most guys. It means that they won’t
have to commit to you. Let’s face it, they didn’t come to the club to find their wife, and no matter how
brilliant you are, if they don’t know you, they are attracted to you from a physical standpoint. Saying I
have a boyfriend will deter the one’s with a sense of respect and honor, but not most. The others will
push more, “Can we be friends?” So you follow up with, “I’m sorry, I’m not that kind of girl. But
thank you, I appreciate the compliment.” And if that doesn’t work, the next line never fails, “If I were
your girlfriend, would you want me giving out my number to other guys?” Even the most trifling
aggressive guy in the world has respect for that line. Cause the answer is no. This line has worked on
everyone from DC locals to LA gang members. It seems like they respect you for honoring your man.

If you don’t have a boyfriend…lie.

As women, we can make it just a little bit easier for guys to approach us. Rather than making them feel

like they are dissed or rejected, make them feel like this time it didn’t work for them but maybe next
time it will. There are no hard feelings. No one feels disrespected and more importantly you’re less
likely to get punched in the face by a DC local.
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