I had some extra time to fool around on Facebook because my favorite morning gas station is shut down from Covid, and I happened upon an article, basically screenshots of a woman letting a guy down gently, and him blowing his stack. To his credit, he didn’t pull out the slew of words to describe unsavory women that don’t bear repeating here, but he did try to call her twelve times in two minutes.
Let’s pretend for a moment that I needed an excuse to fool around on Facebook early in the morning. Guys have a huge problem with rejection. And I don’t think we’re looking at just a simple case of toxic masculinity warping the mind of a young incel. I mean, I think it’s bigger to the extent that we all have a problem with rejection in our society that’s not in proportion with the basics of rejection.
See, basically, rejection (and acceptance) are a continuum in the process our species has for improving itself. If you do something, or put yourself out there in some way, you may get a blanket acceptance, a blanket rejection, or somewhere in between. You get the blanket acceptance? Great. What you’re doing is working. Keep it up. No real need to improve. Blanket rejection? Damn. But throw it away; it can’t help you. But anything in between, especially on the rejection end, says ‘you’re almost there, you’re close, keep perfecting, keep taking chances, keep taking shots.
I’m a writer. Obviously; you’re here. And I get more rejections than I get acceptances. And it sucks. But after I ice the wound a little with some [BLANK] I get back to the drawing board and take whatever I learned from the rejection, and I tweak the offering, or start something new. And as far as literary rejection goes, rarely do the agents and editors you submit to even write back, and when they do, they simply say ‘it’s not a good fit.’ Remember what I said about rejections that don’t offer you anything? Bingo. Also, don’t be a writer unless you’re familiar with the receiving end of a cat-o-nine-tails.
And the mechanism of rejection is instructive, but once you’re putting acceptance and rejection in the brine of competition, is all turns sour. And every thread in every American flag is competing with every other thread. Capitalism? Rich people competing over money. Democracy? Well-suited people competing for votes. Game shows? Hell, even most literature is based on a loser becoming a winner or vice versa.
So, back to Sir Calls-a-Lot, yes, he is unduly possessive, and he definitely couldn’t take even mild rejection (and it was constructive rejection, by the way.) I think we really undervalue the fact that we’re going to see stuff like this is a society based on competition. The worst insult one can be called in America is ‘loser.’ So when we look at people who have gravitated to the most pungent aspect of the male gender, the gender that designed the underpinnings of a hypercompetitive society, rejection is “losing,” and it ends up getting handled as such.
So my prescription, aside from an exorcism, which I always prescribe, is that we realize, in all areas of life, that rejection doesn’t make one a loser any more than acceptance makes one a winner. You’re either evolving or you’re not, and that’s all acceptance and rejection are for: road markers on life’s journey.
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