By Amethyst Wonder
Several months ago, a FetLife friend commented on a photo that I found intriguing. It was of a young man who was not only attractive, but seemed intelligent and thoughtful. I took notice of the young man, but didn’t take any action.
A few months later, at Dark Odyssey Winter Fire, I had occasion to meet him in person. I recognized him from his picture and decided to speak up. I was on staff at the event (and mid-shift), so I only had time to briefly introduce myself and ask if I could contact him later. I didn’t mention at the time his having caught my attention months prior, because I thought it might be a little disconcerting for him (read: make me look like a stalker).
I wrote him a note (online) telling him a bit more about myself and that I wanted to get to know him. Contained in that note was something this person took offense to. It was something I saw as completely innocuous, but it touched a nerve.
You see, this fellow happened to be of less than average height and I told him I thought he was adorable – a word I use a lot. I use it in the literal sense of referring to something I do or might adore. Just that weekend, I had referred to a pair of really hot boots and a rather interesting bruise pattern as adorable.
Now, in all fairness, I have no way of knowing if I had been the only person to hit this nerve recently, but instead of responding to me, he wrote a journal post to the world. I saw the post by, once again, following a mutual friend’s comment to his profile. When I read of his irritation at being called adorable, I was a bit annoyed that he hadn’t chosen to tell me this directly, but also, I was saddened that I had caused someone any sort of (non-consensual) pain. So, I did what I do. I apologized.
I wrote him another note explaining how I hadn’t meant the word in any diminutive sense and that I was sorry he’d been offended. I didn’t receive a response. I wouldn’t really have given it another thought, except that, being in the same metro area, we’ve run into each other in person since then. It may be my ego talking, but he seems to be actively avoiding me.
So in an interesting turn of events, this month my complaint is not with something someone said to me, but with something someone didn’t say to me.
He has every right to decide who he does and does not want to engage with, but it brought home a lesson for me. Maybe it’s because I fancy myself a writer, but I appreciate people who actually communicate. I can’t help but feel that expressing your own needs and feelings is the most effective way to have those needs and feelings respected. I find communication empowering. I think not telling people how you want to be treated is to resign yourself to experience the same hurts over and over again.
Use your words, people. Use your words.