And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. There are a million examples of why he is great. (He saved a person from a burning building. Like, you don’t need this example, per se.) But, it stuck with me, so I’m writing it here.
Obviously, I have become very sensitive to being pressured.
There’s always a bit of pressure in our lives – friends telling you to “come on and try this!” at a restaurant or “do this thing with us!” or whatever. People trying to court you or get you in bed can sometimes feel a little pressure-y. And I’ve never really noticed it all that much, because nobody’s really super crossed a line before. There’ve been just a tiny handful of instances where a couple of people have been a little more pressure-y than I would like – where I felt maybe a little uncomfortable or annoyed, or even slightly angry. But never legitimately unsafe and/or furious, before sexual assault guy.
But now, when I see it happening to other people, or I feel it myself, I notice it more than ever. I have definitely caught myself saying, “No thanks,” hearing “oh, come on,” And going straight to raising my voice, “What did I just say?! Stop asking!” And rightfully so, people get weird if you do that, because societally, we often have a couple of back-and-forths of mild pressure before somebody either finally gives in or somebody else backs down. And sometimes I just stop it straight at round one now. (I think I can find a happy medium to this, ’cause that is a weird societal thing we do, so I do have a right to stop at round one if I want, but also, I can be a little more polite and live through some mild pressure in a low stakes situation without freaking out. Not everything is high stakes.)
Aaaanyway, the point is, when I was in line to talk to Cory, this woman in front of me got her turn. And I try not to listen too closely to what people are saying, because it’s their time with the Senator and everything, but they were close to me, and I was able to hear him ask if she wanted a picture and she was like, “Oh, oh no, thank you. I don’t really like the way I look right now and I prefer not to be in pictures.”
Now, I feel like a general response that people often give to that is, “What? No! You’re beautiful, come on.” Or “who cares what societal beauty standards say?” or whatever. And they pressure for a photo to be taken. But no. Not Cory Booker.
He gave her a very sweet face that implied that she looked fine. And he thanked her for her time. But he very kindly just let her go without pressuring for a picture.
I know it is such a tiny thing.
And I do understand that if someone is our friend and we have an issue, that person who knows us well and wants to help, may broach the subject of “Would you like to talk about your aversion to pictures, because I think someday it’s possible you’ll wish you had more and you can always delete ones you don’t like,” or whatever. There is a way to have a conversation with a friend to show a different point of view and show you care (without forcing them into anything). But that wasn’t this. They’re not friends out having a big conversation. This is in the moment, she said she didn’t want something, and he said okay.
And I just thought that was really, really nice to see – someone so respectful from the jump.