Dear Dancer Who Disrespects the “No”

Dear Dancer Who Disrespects the “No”,

I see you on the prowl. The more experienced dancers know better now; they won’t dance with you. So you wait for the new, young ones. The ones who don’t know how or when to say “no” to a dance. The ones who feel trapped and not powerful enough (yet). The ones who may not realize that your advances are inappropriate and uninvited. Your arrogance is your fragrance.

I knew this and yet I still accepted your invitation to dance, afraid that turning down your invitation would make me look like a bitch (seeing as the number of followers around was so few). As if, by being one of the few followers present, I was obligated to dance more on this particular evening.

As if I owed you something just by being there.

It’s a disgusting feeling.

Even though we are one of three couples on the dance floor, you manage to bump into the others twice, making me feel unsafe and not taken care of.

You also keep trying to pull me into a close embrace…one that I have not been comfortable dancing with you. Despite my physical defiance, my hand planted on the front of your arm, anchoring my open embrace in place, you still try and try and try to get closer.

You say, flirtatiously, “you know, you would feel better if we did this in close embrace.”

I don’t know how to be any clearer than, “no, I’m not interested in trying close embrace right now.”

You push back, “Noooo, come on! I promise you will feel better! Let’s just try it, come on.” Still trying to pull me in, me still clamping down harder to stay in open embrace.

“I already said I’m not interested in working on that with you right now.”

“You’re being ridiculous! This would be much easier if you just did it close.”

This is the most unsafe I feel at this moment.

I need to say ‘thank you’ and stop this dance right now. 

Why am I afraid to? 

How do I do it?

I don’t get up the nerve to do so until the end of the song, when you start berating me once more.

“No means no, sir.”

I walk away.

This letter was inspired by “Dear Mr. You” by Mary-Louise Parker.

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