Thursday, March 24, 2016

"No" Is a Complete Sentence

To the 7 people who saw this title and nothing more yesterday, here's the rest of the story:

The Lady Lawyer said it at lunch, and I stopped chewing.

"Say it again," I asked and she did and Amster tried to explain it further and we both turned and said "No is a complete sentence!"

It's a powerful concept.

Apply it to sexual power and it obviates the need for explanations.  No means No; it is complete within itself.  Don't ask why or what about; No is a complete sentence.

But it became more interesting the more I thought about it.  Narcissists can suck the life out of you; remembering that No comes with its own period can be a tool to break the cycle.  Refusing to engage is the best strategy, but sometimes its just too hard to turn your back.  No and nothing else might be a way to take care of all the pieces of yourself until you are ready to walk away.

Being able to say No to a restaurant which allows guns and alcohol or guns and pancakes or guns and anything ought to be dispositive.  My whole sad story shouldn't enter into it; I'm a member of the I Don't Want to Get Shot Today party and my No ought to be taken as enough.  Explanations are for those who think drunks and weapons make a wonderful combination.  I'm weary of explaining it.  I'm going to say No and leave it at that.

The brevity of the word acts as a full stop. The listener is brought up short.  This is a different No than the one in No, thank you.  This one says that I am done, finished, unwilling to pursue the conversation.    

Being able to stop at No might not work if you're trying to teach a lesson, but remembering that No is a complete sentence might stop you from trying to reason with a 2 year old.  Sometimes they're going to need No and nothing more.... well, that and a big hug until the tears stop.

No is the best answer to Ted Cruz's plan for surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods.  Anyone who needs more than that is unlikely to listen, anyway.  No is perfect in response to ad hominum attacks on candidates' wives and children.  No should have been said to Adrian Peterson when he came at his son with a stick and No is my response to everything Donald Trump has said in his campaign thus far.

It's remarkably liberating.

Of course, it's important to remember that Yes is a complete sentence, too.


  1. Too bad we can't do that in an election-- no!

    I'd want to add onto it though-- no, to all the above, try again.

    1. I do think that None Of The Above would win this year, Rain!

  2. I agree with all of this, but I want to throw out a new concept on the "no"-"yes" spectrum. Your lesson about "No always means no" with regards to physical intimacy has obviously always been a guiding light of mine. However, moving forward I think there's a better approach and it's instead that: "Yes means yes". It's the concept of affirmative consent. The problem with "no means no" is that the absence of a "no" can suggest a yes. Forcing there to be a "yes" as the bar for consent means that silence isn't consent, and it takes out the ambiguity. Plus, "no" is not a fun thing to hear in that context, where as "yes" is what everyone is going for.

    Long story short, I think that "yes means yes" should replace "no means no".

    Other than that, totally agree with all of the above.

    1. Hmmmm.... ignoring, for the moment that I am your mother and might be quite interested in the person to whom you are saying yes :-), let me suggest that I'm not considering the absence of anything. I am suggesting the implementation of No.

      As to what is implied, the AP story today about men looking for justice in sexual misconduct suits where Yes was construed, perhaps, and then rescinded, gives credence to you argument.
      I love that you agree with all of the above.


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