Crocodiles often swallow rocks, which can then tumble around harmlessly in their stomachs for years. A bellyful of rocks may even help crocodiles control their buoyancy and digest prey. (There’s a point to this, I promise.)
There live among us people who take romantic rejection very well: I call them super-rejects. Like the rocks in the belly of the crocodile, rejections can pile up inside these super-rejects without causing any damage, until they are passed into the riverbed, unnoticed.
When you turn down one of these super-rejects, they do not send you a multi-text dirge. They do not spiral or throw themselves into the stiff, unrewarding embrace of whatever rom-com is playing on M-Net. They experience a healthy moment of woe, and they move on.
The chillness of the super-reject often awes me, and then instantly unsettles me: Did he want me to break it off?
But there have been a few times when I’ve turned down a guy after a few dates, or even after a slurred pickup attempt in a bar, and he’s gone off. The opposite of the super-reject is a guy I barely know who just can’t let it go.
That can be really scary. Like many women, I think about the day in 2014 when a young man killed six people and injured 14 more near the UC Santa Barbara campus to “punish” women for not being attracted to him. I think about a man I read about in November who used an app he’d installed in his ex-girlfriend’s car to stalk her – the app also allowed him to control the car’s stop-and-start function.
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