Kinder, please

If you are single, what is on your list? You know, the list – mental or actual – of qualities you are looking for in a man. ‘Kind’ may, by the time you’ve passed 35, be on that list. It could be in the top three even. Exciting but mean? So last generation. Sexy but cruel? Just to keep you on your toes? So you don’t get bored? Not so much these days.

But wanting and getting are different. Clarity in communication is all. Boundary-setting. So, what about being properly up-front about kindness way early on? Not just wanting to be the fun girl and rolling with the punches until you are in the middle of something that feels a bit bewildering and not altogether safe.

We are not talking about being the Vibe Killer Woman and wanging on about respect. We are certainly not talking about constantly demanding that you are treated like a lady. This is different. It’s about making it clear that you might just need a bit of soft-handling now and again. Because your feelings can get a bit hurt. And you might be fun and bubbly and witty but you’re not actually ‘one of the blokes – with more interesting bits’.

So here’s a technique: when a new man, or an old man, or a friend says something that stings. Something that is hard to process without your solar plexus getting all knotted and your colour rising. You could just gently say, “Kinder, please.” We’re always told to direct men in bed. To tell them what we want. Well, “Kinder, please” is clear. It’s not bossy. It’s a bit vulnerable. And if it’s not OK for you to say that? Well, maybe it’s not OK to be in this thing. Whatever it is….

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