How To Say No If You Must

Stop it ~ I'm serious. I'll scream.Let’s take a look at the fine art of saying “no,” because I am aware of quite a few people who have a difficult time with this issue. I think this advice from Nina Farewell’s The Unfair Sex might help us out. Um, I mean ~ help you out.

1953: How To Say No If You Must

Sometimes despite a carefully selected locale and well-executed evasions, you somehow find yourself encircled, and your only out is a direct verbal rejection.

A light touch is the prime requisite. It is ridiculous to get annoyed with men for trying. If you object to their vulgar advances, you had best stop associating with them. Maintain a sense of balance. Realize Man is your adversary, and that you must fight him, but realize it with a catch in your breath and a little thrill of anticipation, not with anger or resentment.

A man will be much less hurt if he is teased or gently discouraged from carrying out his dishonorable intentions, than he will if you sulk, struggle, or lose your temper. . . .

Sprinkle the combat with small favors and soft words. This will lessen the bitterness of the struggle and charm your foe into liking you regardless of who the victor may be. Above all, never let him become depressed. Do not let him see you distrust him. Keep smiling. Smile with your eyes, or dimple at him if you have dimples, or chuckle or giggle ~ and once in a while you may laugh outright ~ especially if you have pretty teeth, or if someone is tickling you ~ which someone may very well be doing. But be extremely careful that your gaiety is the right sort. He must never suspect you are laughing at him, even when he is making a fool of himself.

Your objections should seem carefree and artless, an effect one must be very artful to achieve. Here is a little experiment which you might make in front of a mirror:

First, say the following words with a scowling face and an angry voice:

Stop it ~ I’m serious.
I’ll scream.
If you don’t stop I’m going home.
Oh! Now I’m angry.

Didn’t you seem mean and stubborn? These are not qualities that will endear you to a man.Now ~ say the same words, but say them with a charming smile, and in a gently chiding tone. Or seriously, but interspersed with little giggles. Or with reproving but loving looks, as if you were speaking to a naughty puppy.

There ~ you have said the very same words ~ but how delightful you looked and sounded!

If may be argued that this is dangerous, as it makes you doubly desirable, and the man will want you neither more nor less. But the How and Why he wants you will be different. He will be determined to have the mean and stubborn girl out of spite. But the smiling, charming girl he will insist on having because she is so adorable. For Which Reason Would You Rather Be Had?

Any tyro can bluntly reject a man and thereby lose him. It take study and practice to acquire the agility to send him away happy though rejected. An accomplished girl can do this. She can hold him off, yet bring him back for another try. And bringing him back is essential. For unless a man is a complete boor (and sometimes, alas, even if he is) you will want to hold on to him for purposes of entertainment or advancement, or as a marital prospect. When you can, without offending, deny him the pleasures he so understandably desires, you will know you have mastered the delicate technique of passive resistance.

Source: Farewell, Nina. The Unfair Sex : An Expose of the Human Male for Young Women of Most Ages. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953.
~ pp. 127-30 ~