Yall know that scene in the notebook where Noah is hanging from the ferris wheel and tells Allie, in front of her boyfriend that he is not taking no for an answer and that if she doesn’t say yes to a date with him, he’d let go; thus plummeting to a gruesome bloody death, that would OBVIOUSLY be her fault, right? Listen, I know that as a member of the female population I’m supposed to find this super romantic, but from the time I watched the film at 17 to this very second, that scene annoys me to my very core. I remember whispering “do it”, much to the aggravation of my friends forcing me to watch. I still stand by that. The phrase “don’t take no for answer” is about not giving up when it comes to reaching your goals in life. What’s it’s not about is harassing and manipulating a woman to go out with you. Threatening to harm yourself or someone else if she doesn’t is a form of abuse; and the very opposite of romance. Now, I’m aware it worked out for these two in the end. Welcome to fiction.
Moving on to some NON-fiction. I present to you the video for Get Her Back by Robin Thicke. Robin is clearly also not taking no for an answer. This dude isn’t even taking “you ruined everything” as an answer.
Those texts that appear throughout the video are real, according to Thicke. Which makes it worse in my opinion. No one can know exactly what is going in either of their heads in this situation, but from what we can tell Paula has made her decision and he responds by making a pathetic plea in the most public way possible. This being bad enough, he then publishes private text messages, possibly without her knowledge. Is harassing and publicly embarrassing someone the new form of wooing?
Actually, it’s not. This idea that romance is when the guy would do anything and everything to ‘get the girl’ (‘anything’ obviously includes ignoring her constant ‘no’s) has been around for ages and is constantly finding itself into many pop culture narratives. Doesn’t matter what she says lads, keep trying; she’ll give in eventually! And if that doesn’t work, just threaten to kill yourself and you’re sorted! That is one of the most disgusting forms of emotional manipulation and abuse one could attempt, and it can be seen in this very same video. Thicke imitates a gun being pointed at his temple a few times during this video. Perhaps a subtle threat? That, accompanied with the images of both of them drowning and him being splattered with blood, (his or hers? I don’t know) is enough to make your skin crawl. Still, we’re expected to see it as romantic. What is Paula expected to see it as?
When I first saw the video I thought how unfair it is that she would be forced to see her lying, cheating, drunk ex climb the charts with an album that’s got her name on it. Then, yesterday as I was driving home, the song came on the radio. I thought, shit, what if I was Paula? What if she’s just dropped the kids off at a playdate and is on her way to yoga when BAM she hears this plea over the radio. And the person in the car next to her is singing along. What special brand of torture is this?! First she’s treated poorly during the relationship and then after there’s no escape. ZOMG how romantic. Let a woman be this romantic. She’d be called every form of ‘crazy’ and ‘pathetic’ that exists before they even start recording the songs.
Can we please redefine what is considered romantic? Cause none of this is actually romantic, it’s bloody terrifying. There is nothing sweet, and cute about not taking no for answer; it’s threatening. One of our own Mix Up writers has had an experience of unwanted advances lately herself. Last week, just about everyday, flowers were sent to Kimberley at her place of work; with no signature. She has no idea who is sending them; it sure as hell isn’t the one person she wants to receive flowers from; her boyfriend. Yes, this isn’t as awful an example as Paula: the album, but it’s still VERY creepy. What’s she meant to do? Sit there wondering who the hell is watching her go to work? Perhaps cooing and swooning as women do over the possible handsomeness of her would be-gentleman caller?
Who knows! What I do know is two things: 1. She doesn’t want them. I wouldn’t want them. I don’t know many women who WOULD enjoy receiving flowers from NOBODY. 2. If she was to send flowers to a man in the same fashion (hypothetical universe where boyfriend is not present) she’d be considered an absolute lunatic; sad, delusional, and desperate. Instead of those things, this guy is sitting there thinking he’s being romantic. “Chicks dig this kinda thing”…*ahem*… or rather “gals likes dis type ting”. Buddy, if you’re reading this… you are so very welcome for the harsh truth/good advice. And on behalf of Kimberley: