Since kindergarten, girls are told that if a boy is mean to you, he likes you; that if boy pulls your hair in class, he likes you. If he picks on you and calls you names, he’s trying to get your attention because he likes you. No matter how you say it, it always sounds problematic. Hmmm, maybe because the notion that treating someone like shit is an appropriate way to convey affection IS seriously fucking problematic.
Because eventually that mentality leaves the harmless teacher-supervised playground; it becomes engrained in the minds of men and women, who then use it in the un-chaperoned real world where people can actually get seriously hurt. Sure, some grow out of it, they realize that teasing another or “harmlessly” pissing them off is not a particularly romantic way of getting another’s attention, but some hang on to that old notion, and that’s when a so called “harmless” mentality turns into an actual threat to women. Now the pushy aggressive guy who won’t give up is someone that we apparently shouldn’t be mean to because he just really likes you!?!? If that actually makes sense to you, I suggest you reevaluate your life.
Third-grade me got held upside down by my ankles by a boy in the fourth grade. I’m pretty sure he had zero intention of being my boyfriend. And then when he unceremoniously dropped me on my head and I slumped my way back into school when the bell rang, I’m pretty sure he STILL had not even the slightest crush on me. As much as some truly idiotic adults of the time might’ve liked to sugarcoat that experience for me by suggesting that he totally had a thing for me, third-grade me was able to identify that this was not the truth. It doesn’t take Sherlock fucking Holmes to know that if a boy flips you upside down and drops you on your head, he’s not Romeo to your Juliet, he’s a goddamn pain in the ass.
It’s like how in romantic comedies, the irritating guy who never gives up and practically stalks you to get your attention is portrayed as this really touching hopeless romantic who won’t quit simply because he just knows that you’re the one. Aw, how cute! Let me just file for a really adorable restraining order now. Seriously, movies manage to make that seem totally normal, if not fantastically romantic. But if someone did those things to to you in real life, it would actually be kind of alarming. If you actually have friends who encourage you to give that guy a chance because his threatening advances means that he soooo likes you, then ditch those friends because they’re bad for your health and safety.
You would think this is common sense, but I’ll say it nice and clear anyways: if you like someone, you should be nice to them. Yes, many like a sense of playing hard to get; some people are really not into the 24/7 doting puppy dog. But inappropriate, unwanted aggressiveness and cruel, tactless teasing are not the way to get anyone to fall for you. Pretty damn simple.