The Courtesy Winch

You’ve endured three hours of their bland company and consumed two bottles of cheap wine – finally it’s time to say goodbye. In fear of being deemed unchivalrous he walks you to your night bus. You knew almost instantaneously that you didn’t fancy him, and the highlight of your evening was that haphazard and half-cut swipe through Tinder as he pardoned himself for the bathroom.

As you bid him good-riddance, he leans in to hug you. Desperate to end the facade, you humour him and pitifully fill the silence with a graciously insincere remark; “we should do it again sometime.”

As his grip tightens, you attempt to peel away from his protruding gut but he has other intentions.

Oh god, here we go. The pity-kiss.

If you passed me on the street, the last word that would come to mind is ‘intimidating’. I’m just shy of five foot and my face is disarmingly symmetrical and innocent. Yet, that’s how men describe me.

Rightfully so unwilling to settle for someone, I’m what one might call a serial dater. I’m fortunate to have the advantage of knowing what I want from life; I want to write, I want to be successful, I want to comfortably afford Chanel handbags and I want to achieve it entirely on my own. I can understand why a man might find my arrogant self-assurance intimating – at what point would he fit into my perfect life? Certainly behind the Chanels.

What I’m trying to say is that I have no qualms snubbing a potential suitor’s advances.

So why is it I still reciprocate the kiss of a man that I’d sooner flee?

Why? Because I’m British and I’m afraid of seeming impolite.

A nation renowned for its tight-lipped nature and enthusiasm for queuing, this politeness epidemic has now infiltrated our romantic inclinations, pushing us to lock lips with strange men in bad shoes so not to risk offending them.

For a long time I thought I was the only woman that pity-kissed, but it turns out I’m not alone. A deed so desolately common, this act of kindness has attained its own turn of phrase in Scotland – the courtesy winch.

Last weekend I (willingly) kissed an old acquaintance on the stickied dance floor of a club, and as we parted lips he remarked, “My mate told me to watch out for you, he said you’re a prick-tease.” I knew who his friend was – a man that I had once dared to reject and failed to kiss back – the perfect case of a boy-scorned.

Not wanting to be coined a tease, frigid or uptight, us pity-kissers reluctantly reciprocate. But where does it stop? Before we know it, we’ll find ourselves waking up next to them, accepting their marriage proposals and bearing their children, all because we were too polite to say, “No thanks.”

If you read this and deemed me pathetic, you’re right to. My incessant need to please like a British poster girl is woeful. But for those of you who read this with a familiar empathy, it’s time to embrace the art of jilting. Get on that night bus and never look back.

Published via LAPP, as seen in i-D online.


Images via Giphy.

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Ramblings of things I think about. Some insightful, some not so.

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