Over years I have found myself participating in various groups with diverse demographics. Some groups were cool and felt safe and other groups, well, not so much. The reason? Well, I’m single and it seemed that being single makes you a target of unwanted attention … especially the married kind.
At some point in time I found myself being part of a particular group for a number of years where I found that some of the ringbearing ones have an inclination to flirt with the newbies especially. From there my decision to start calling them uncles. So when I introduced the men to the new women (be they married or single or partnered or … ), I would introduce all the married and partnered men as Uncle … and all the single / unpartnered men as … (insert name). I didn’t explain this to any of the men, only to the women.
Infuriating to some of the parties, it was.
Kept safe the women, it did. At least the ones who chose that way.
If I am being judged because of this, it’s okay. I’m really okay with it.
The secret was amusing because somehow the men never seemed to find out.
I was puzzled by that.
What was a concern to me is that I had to work out a code to keep my sisters safe from pouncing. That was infuriating. And I didn’t really say anything, but in silence shook my head. This was years ago.
It’s not funny at all. In reflecting on this, years after, I must admit that was quite disappointed in myself, but I also realised that I’ve been conditioned from a young age to not rock THAT boat. And I started thinking about whether or not I’ve grown, what I would say if something like this should happen again and … well … it still happens.
What do I do?
There’s a married person in my life who has for years called me to ‘check in’ on me every 3 / 4 months. Looked me up, rocked up at my place of work, … the list is endless – ways to find me. Thinking about it, talking about it … yeah … I’ve done many things about it. At some point in time (before marriage) it was kinda nice knowing that someone checks in every once in a while. If the conversation was kept on a friendly, superficial, old acquaintance / friend kinda style it would have been acceptable and nice. The conversation sometimes is that – like an older bro checking in on his younger sis. But then there’s the other times …
Uncle. He’s not even that much older than me. Uncle.
He’s intelligent, attractive, caring, happily married and has beautiful children. He’s also a chain smoker, highly functional alcoholic, exceptional worker, dedicated husband and father (I think).
I’ve met his wife, she’s lovely, and I know his parents. Nice people, great people actually.
So, what am I actually telling you? And why am I telling you this? Hmm …
I have, for years, adjusted my life around the fact that there is a man on earth who chose someone else to do life with, but supposedly also cannot let me go because I haunt him. (Shall I laugh now or later? Mcxm!)
Please note: We never dated.
Also not: I am not remotely interested and never was and never will be.
I don’t need help or advice, neither am I asking for it.
I’ve handled it.
And sometimes I am still handling it.
Every person is living a life that looks very different than mine. We handle things differently. We view things differently. Many of my friends have no tolerance for the above situation(s). We’ve had plenty conversations.
There was a time when the situation felt somewhat threatening in a haunting way. I was vulnerable during that time for other reasons. I’m not anymore.
I specifically thought of these stories above and other moments and times in my life around the time when the #metoo movement started. I was wondering what happens to the ones in our communities who feels captured in these situations by people.
The invisible threat.
Do we speak up when we see it?
Do we ask questions?
And when we do, do we speak loudly?
Or do we whisper?
There are lovely uncles in my life too. They genuinely are just friends. I support. They respect themselves and their partners and choose their relationship and show it’s importance. Examples. Safe spaces. Shout out to those uncles. Big L. The H. The D. The other L. The G too. Big R. The list goes on … grateful for them.
And to those in the process of loosening the uncle strings … strength for the process. The journey is not always a nice one, but it is freeing. Be gracious.
Some uncles are married to The Aunties … that’s a whole other conversation.
For now, rest.