And now that you know you don’t exist, who’ll stop the turning of the earth?—Bakit Masakit
It was inevitable that she would end up with him. He had come on annoyingly strong from their first encounter and, as odd as this may sound to some, there is this culture in which it is much less difficult for a sweet soul like hers to go along to get along.
So instead of saying ‘no’ to this steadfast stranger — at first, she told herself, afraid she’d hurt his feelings, then afraid of his frustration, which would then muster anger, justified, she told herself, because he’d got his foot in her door, and finally when her discomfort had turned to desperation, she tried not to tell herself — this stranger became her husband.
What people like he & she never tell themselves in so many words is that ‘no’ even to someone’s initial advances means a whole range of other things, and the kind of woman who dares to claim it for herself is a social disgrace. If she doesn’t find a person attractive, it’s still smug and superficial not to give him a chance. One recognizes this line of thought as the slippery slope it is in inverse proportion to one’s fear of rejection.
Clearly he’d want her to quit her job, aware there were others who’d be lining up, literally, to ply coercion for her attention, though he still believed his own manipulation had been a standard positive, strong male persistence.
She’d face this every day, he thought, though this was not the reasoning he used on her. Instead he said they had all they needed, not taking into account the scope of his paranoia, belonging as he did to the progressive set who believed in the principles that included her right to work outside the home. He just didn’t want her to.
He didn’t want to put her in a cage, he just wanted her to choose one. For intuitively he knew – meaning there was an obvious fact formed from the dots he refused to connect – that her inability to reject his advances would result in her leaving him once a stronger standard bearer asserted himself and, worse, this new scheming bastard might even be desirable, worthy of her affection, so much so, that their love’d be its own security, security he’d sought by steering her away from the risk of happiness.
Unavoidably, the stronger standard bearer did come along, but he was not desirable. His persistence took the shape of congeniality challenging all takers, parading about with a loud and loquacious sense of humor that anyone not just like him received as insufferable, obnoxious, feigned friendliness, the latter point the only one of contention, as not everyone felt his obnoxiousness was intentional.
He was rarely if ever called out for his behavior because he behaved himself within such bounds as to rationalize being offended if anyone called him out, precisely why many felt he was forever testing them. Still, most would wait until left behind in his manner’s stinky wake before confiding in each other how much they loathed his presence.
“And would you believe she’d end up leaving him for him?” thought those who had no clue just how miserable she’d already been. Would that this were a cautionary testament to the hapless, conniving heart that won’t take no for an answer.