Damn right, my Craigslist vampire. I posted an ad seeking a job, not seeking to augment your hand job.

[I'm distracted in the moment by the fact that some webpage review site flagged Hippie Chick Diaries as inappropriate for children because of the phrase "Japanese fantail pussywillows." But I bet they miss the above retort altogether...]

Let me find a beginning to this story and roll it out.

Our fresh start in Calfornia requires that I find work. Besides searching posts of job offerings, I posted my own ad, describing what kind of work I seek and my background. I posted it under resumes. In the ad I clearly state that replies can be by phone or email, NO TEXTING. I hate texting. And like an employer, I judge respondents on whether they can follow these directions. Of course I get a few automated spam texts.

But after two days the only phone response I’ve gotten was from a man I’ll call Jake. I could try to make the pseudonym more meaningful, but I don’t think my writer’s collection of baby name books will provide me with a name that means “self-absorbed to the point of being incapable of recognizing the autonomy and personhood of women.”

It’s a story of my desperation to create cash-flow for myself colliding with his skill in plausible deniability. That’s why I gave him any time at all. He asked about my ad. He said he was “in the law,” and needed an assistant. He didn’t sound businesslike, but he stayed enough in the content of my posting that I kept giving him a few more seconds, another minute, to make sure that he was not a possible employer who tragically lacked phone skills.

When he revealed that he was in New York City (his Manhattan area code told me as much), that he would be in my area soon, that he wanted to meet me and send me his picture, I cut him off. Regretfully, I’m being metaphorical.

I informed him outright that I had no interest in receiving his picture and that I placed the ad looking for employment in my field, nothing else. “Just in case, can’t I send my picture? You never know…” Oh, believe me, I know. We’re done, and I’m being nice here.

“The woman always gets to say no. You know it’s true. The woman always gets to say no.” I hung up, knowing he would not hear anything other than what he wanted to hear.

But for the other Jakes out there, who just want to be loved and who are not triggered at the moment, let’s look at why women always say no to you. First, Jake answered a resume ad with his veiled request for sex/companionship. Dude, you’re using power (offering a job, honestly or not) to get sex. You deserve a take down. Secondly, and I want Jakes and all readers to appreciate this on a structural level:  Here’s how questions work. You have one person who is an asker and another person is the answerer. The asker asks the question. That’s why that person is called the asker. The other person, the target/object/receiver/victim of the question, is the answerer. It’s definitional. The asker of a question is the asker. That person doesn’t get to say yes or no. The asnwerer of the question gets to respond with yes or no. This is how asking questions works. It’s the physics of questions.

So Jake, if you call me on the phone and you ask me a  question, like, “Can I send you my picture?” You called me. You are the asker. I get to do the answering part. You don’t get to do both. You’re allowed to have whatever feelings are authentic for you regarding my answer. But you don’t get to blame me for being the answerer when you started the interaction by being an asker.

Jake might be wondering why he’s always the asker, never an answerer. Always a bridesmaid, right? Well Jake, you might want to check your self absorption, which led you to call a job seeker with a sexual request. (You can walk into a Mexican restaurant and order Chinese, but don’t expect to succeed in your goal.) Check your male privilege that has you, yet again, attempting to use power, such as pretending to offer a job, to get a woman to talk to you much longer than I imagine most women do, face to face.

Want to be loved? Be lovable. Be lovable by being safe. Want to be asked? Be safe by learning to modulate your male privilege and  honor social boundaries. And while you’re trying to figure out what the hell I’m talking about, yes, Jake, the woman always gets to say no. It’s structural, the way a table is not a chair, even if you decide to sit on it. Why, then, blame others when it’s not comfortable, or someone asks you to move?

—Wren Tuatha
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