I first learnt of quarving from my then teenage daughter. She had come home from school complaining that no one had quarved her and seeing my puzzled face, she explained that it meant being given a gentle slap on the bum as a guy walked past you. Apparently, that was the order of the day in her school and it confirmed that you had a cute bum, the guy found you attractive and was interested in you. I didn’t know what to make my prayer point- a plea that she be quarved so she will know she is an attractive girl or that no boy should quarve her?
The matter sorted out itself a few weeks later, I picked her up after school and as soon as she entered the car she burst into tears. It turned out that some boy had quarved her and instead of enjoying the experience, she had felt violated and disrespected that he had touched her intimately without her permission especially because she didn’t want to be quarved by that particular boy. The boy in question was a handsome and popular boy though a notorious trouble maker and my daughter was very upset by his actions. After talking with her, she decided she wanted to confront him and demand an apology from him.
He apologized to her and my daughter accepted his apology and though she was regarded as somewhat being standoffish in school after the incident, she was glad she got her apology and that the boys knew not to quarve her without her express consent.
I remembered that incident when a friend posted a screen shot of a tweet by a lady who decried the fact that a guy that had been toasting her for 2 months did not apply pressure or effort when she told him she wasn’t ready for a relationship. The comments that trailed the tweet were revealing. Most females believed he was not serious in her otherwise he would have continued to ask her out in a bid to get her to change her mind. The men were surprised that she was devastated because he respected her decision and concluded that women didn’t know what they wanted and should not be taken at their words.
It brought up the age long discussion about what a woman really means or wants when she says NO. Does her No mean yes, maybe, try again or NO as in N.O.
I have often wondered why women ( me inclusive and my daughter as seen in the recounted incident ) say one thing when we mean the other. The examples are many
I am fine – when we are not
Leave me alone- when you wish to be held or for him to keep asking till you let him know what the problem is.
It’s okay- when it is obviously not from your tone and actions.
No problem- when there is but you don’t want to say
You can do whatever you want- meaning don’t dare it
You don’t have to- you are in trouble if you don’t.
Stop- don’t stop just now.
I believe it’s basically a function of our upbringing, we were taught to hide our true feelings, desires and wants because our largely patriarchal society didn’t think we had a right to them, outspoken women are perceived to be pushy, aggressive and bitchy and could not possibly make good wives, that men wouldn’t marry a woman who is too obvious in her desires, wants and preferences, that it made us look like sluts if we initiated a relationship or even sex with our partners. I recently read about a lady who resents her husband with whom she had sex with on their very first date because one day during an argument he told her he should have known better than to marry a woman who has sex with a man on the first date.
We were taught that a woman who is well brought up didn’t reveal her emotions too early and played hard to get to ascertain whether the man is serious about wanting her and that we could drive him away both by our assertiveness and eagerness, we were told that if a man really liked us he would take the subtle hints we dropped and decode their meaning, that it made us mysterious, coy and difficult to decode if we held out for long and that men loved the chase and it ensured they will be determined to make us theirs.
I also believe it’s because most of us don’t know what we really want. It is my opinion that most women don’t know what they want until they are in their 30s and most will say No or Yes impulsively only to discover it is not their true desire. It is also a reflection of our insecurities, it’s either we are not sure of the man’s intentions, or reactions or we don’t want to appear needy.
Finally, the truth be told, it is a tool of manipulation, used to control men especially for those who flirt and lead men on only to turn around and cry abuse. I personally know a few women who held out on sex with guys in order to make them marry them, the men thought their refusal to have sex with them meant they had a zero or low body count and it is a great technique used to jolt our men into attention or deflect attention depending on the circumstances .
So what’s a man to do when a woman says No but he suspects she means yes or try harder? My answer is always take her for her word and until she says Yes, her No means No. Believe me, if she really wants you she will tell you, don’t force or coerce her. Save yourself the embarrassment of being called a sexual harasser or a rapist. It is not worth the pain or the pleasure. Also by taking women at their words you will help teach women to be upfront with what they want. Eg if you know she wants sex but says No don’t give her until she specifically asks for it.
To the ladies, I say there are negative consequences from implying one thing when we say another. Firstly, we close the door to honest and truthful communication because we are not expressing our true feelings. Men are not psychics they cannot decipher our emotions or feelings; they need to be told in clear terms without any implied suggestions as to what we really want. Whilst a bit of coyness is attractive after a while the burden of trying to decipher our coded messages can be tiresome and off putting.
Secondly, we give credence to the stereotypes that women say one thing and mean the other and in turn we wonder why we are not taken seriously in our relationships and even in the workplace.
Thirdly and most importantly, we are unconsciously increasing the incidence of rape and sexual harassment because we train men to disregard women’s refusals in the belief that they are not genuine.
Saying No when you mean Yes, Maybe or try harder does no one good, not the women nor the men. The earlier we say what we really mean, the better for us all, the more stress free our lives and relationships will become and the more liberated and empowered we will be.