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Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'd Love to Fly to St. Barths With You. My Boyfriend, Too.

I am a social girl. If I'm not out and about a fair amount I get bored. My Significant Other is a social guy, but because of differing degrees of liking the sauce (as in, I do, he doesn't) I tend to fly solo a lot. Heck, even when we're out at the same place we're not attached at the hip. After three years, I still dig looking up mid-conversation at a party, bar, crime scene, whatever, and smiling or leering at him inappropriately, then going back to our respective conversations.

There's a pesky side effect of painting the town red with only one brush though. I'll chat with an interesting dude and walk away thinking "Nice guy...Oooh, I wonder if there's any Cheerios left at the house!" End of story. And most guys walk away from me doing the same. "Nice girl....Oooh, I wonder if there's any porn on HBO tonight!" They either know that I have a Significant Other of hulking mass, or they're not interested in anything but my knock-knock joke repertoire and ability to knot cherry stems with my tongue. But lately I'm finding that even if I've mentioned my S.O. in conversation, there is a breed of guy who seems to think it's well-advised to seek a follow-up audience.

Take the guy I was chatting with Friday night. He's a musician and plays the saxophone, which I do as well. So I asked where he played and said something to the effect of, "Oh, my boyfriend and I love live music so we'd love to see you play some time." I gave him my card. Today there was a phone message from him. So now I'm second guessing, on one hand thinking, 'OK, people need to make friends and some folks still actually use a phone to communicate, so this is totally normal. Plus, I told him to call about any shows. And he was a really cool guy so he might make for an interesting friend some day.' But then I'm thinking, 'Is this guy really choosing to ignore that I mentioned several times having a boyfriend and is he looking for a date?' A couple weeks earlier a similar scenario ensued after a cocktail networking thing in which I'd given my card out to some people in attendance, and a guy contacted me about having drinks. My best friends in the world are three guys I've known for six to 10 years. I can go out with them alone--drinking, gambling, the occasional strip club--and it's not a big deal, because I know they're above board. I'll never know with someone I've just met though if they appear intent on ignoring the fact that the S.O. exists.

[Editor's note: I should interrupt myself here. Having grown up surrounded by pretty brunettes and blondes, I am more than a tad on the "eh" side about my self-image. Let's face it, the American private school system is not one where a coil-curled redhead with a dry sense of humor gets a lot of attention from the boys and emerges thinking she's the cat's meow. When a friend or the S.O. elbows me in the side and alleges that I'm getting hit on, I am loathe to do anything but blush and make an awkward non sequitur about a New Yorker article on urban beet farming that I've just read. So this isn't me pouting my lips, jutting one hip and twirling my hair while saying "Wahh, poor me, I'm so cute I just don't know what to do."]

[One more editor's note: I find it almost impossible to do the bitchy female thing and look around the room or appear bored when a guy is talking to me. I try to be friendly and engaging because I'm genuinely interested in talking to new people if they've got something to offer conversationally. I give out my business card. I realize that this can appear from the other side of the beer bottle to be opening a door.]

Here's my question: When and how do you interject into a conversation that you're taken? More than I worry about leading some guy on, I worry about the alternative. About the guy who strikes up a conversation with me just to be nice and then I blurt out "I have a boyfriend," and he's all, "Good for you chucklehead, I'm married. Would you or your ego like a refill on that champagne?" Is it preferable to just get it out of the way right up front with some conversational cue and then move on with the discussion? Or do you wait until they call, email, etc., and explain? Or do you just ignore those follow-ups all together?

And please dear God, don't anybody suggest fake engagement ring.

21 Comments:

Blogger Velvet said...

Roosh posted something about this a while back, that he would go out and talk to a girl and she wouldn't say she had a BF until the end and he thought, rightfully so, that it was a waste of his time.

That said, I have no clue on the proper etiquette on this. You are making the "BF" statement outright. But I think some guys see girls with BF's as MORE of a challenge, so even though they hide behind the "just as friends" thing and say that they know you are attached, they still somewhere in the back of their minds, get competitive and want to see if they can get you away from him.

So, I don't really have an answer. Boyfriend or not, I get really uncomfortable when I'm talking to any man for an extended length of time so I usually bail long before the card exchange.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Virgle Kent said...

This one is soooo easy I’m on it. Make up a fake incurable STD that you have and see if the guy is still interested in pursuing something or walks away. If he stays and is cool then he’s nice guy. If he stays and still wants to hook up, that’s my roommate Pretty Ricky… you might want to run…. Run fast run hard.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous etcetera said...

(laughing to myself... i know exactly where this came from!)

9:02 PM  
Blogger I-66 said...

It shouldn't be difficult to work it into a conversation. If you're telling a story, all it takes is a mention of "my boyfriend and I..." The ring is something I look for but not everyone does, and I don't always see it right away. I wouldn't've suggested it anyhow.

Don't wait to do it. Poor form.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Aileen said...

It sounds like you are handling everything appropriately....Except-why does it have to get to the point where you give them your card? I think that confuses the issue.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

It don't matter. Guys still hit on my wife, despite her ring.

Random Dude: "You are very beautiful. Can I have your phone number?"
My wife: "I don't think my husband would appreciate that."
Random Dude: "Can I still have your number?"

9:24 PM  
Anonymous rcr said...

I've already given you my opinion on this, but I will add that said musician seemed way more into meeting you than me, so chances are he was not just looking for new friends. Plus he had a weak handshake. I'm just throwing that out there.

Okay, I have a bit more. I do know guys that do not view boyfriends as total obstacles. It's not beyond the imagination that the girl may be unhappy and looking around, or just a total cheating whore. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I once hooked up with a girl who had a boyfriend. She told me about the bf the next time I called (she eventually left him for me, b/c I'm pimp like that, and shortly thereafter I dumped her, b/c I'm dick like that... and she was insane).

I digress. In summation, casual mention of the bf is acceptable and perhaps expected, but don't expect that to be a complete deterrent of continued advances. And don't have so much faith in the goodwill of people.

But if this was all a clever ploy to get me to stop hitting on you happy hours, forget it. The courting shall never cease.

(for those who don't know, the last part was a joke)

9:47 PM  
Anonymous rcr said...

Hmm... re-reading that, I didn't mean to imply that the musician thought you were a total cheating whore. But you get my meaning...

9:49 PM  
Blogger V said...

I love this topic.

You are obligated to say it early and watch the reaction. If he doesn’t react at all, you don't need to sweat it. If his eyes immediately start darting around the room, you got your answer, too.

I'd also say it depends on where you are. If you're at a bar w/ friends and some guy approaches you and starts chatting you up, it's pretty safe to assume what he wants. At other social occasions, it's a little more difficult because he may just be mingling or whatever.

And one more thing, listen to what he’s asking. Are these questions that a “normal” straight guy would be asking under non-sex-possible circumstances? If you’ve got close guy friends, you know what they talk about, and it ain’t how you feel about blah, blah, blah.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a little worrisome. Telling a guy straight off implies that a man would never talk to you unless he was trying to hook up. And the idea that speaking to you would be a waste of his time if he COULDN'T hook up should be offensive!

The pleasure of your company and brillant conversational skills should be more than enough reward.

The answer: You wait until he asks you out and politely say you're unavailable.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the idea that speaking to you would be a waste of his time if he COULDN'T hook up should be offensive!

The pleasure of your company and brillant conversational skills should be more than enough reward.

The answer: You wait until he asks you out and politely say you're unavailable.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous etcetera said...

i once thought i made an awesome professional contact at a leading organization in my field (i was reading a book at starbucks that prompted relevant, appropriate convo). i was so thrilled that this older gentleman suggested i contact him about positions at his org!

but then he called me. 3 times. and wanted to get drinks. and it was not okay.

my mom once thought her boss invited her to lunch to tell her about a promotion. he actually proposed they have an affair.

point being - why are our choices either A. egomaniac or B. pathetically naive?

10:13 PM  
Blogger V said...

I must respectfully disagree with Frankly, Scarlett--I think it's really rude to chat/flirt away (especially if you have an inkling of what's going on) and then drop the bf bomb at the end.

If he's in it for brilliant conversation then he'll stick around even after you tell him you have a S.O., and if he's not, it saves both of you time (and sometimes embarrassment).

10:25 PM  
Anonymous rcr said...

I don't do it often, but if approach a girl in a bar, it's definitely not just to make small talk. I can do that with my friends.

And no, definitely don't wait to drop the bf bomb at the end.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Brunch Bird said...

Overall I'd say Etcetera that that's what's so meddlesome about this whole business. The idea that there seems to be a decreasing number of guys who are cool and keep us in the middle ground between egomaniac and pathetically naive: you're cool, let's just have a chill time talking. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. That sort of thing.

Velvet- Have to check his post out. I think it's a point well taken that guys looking for girls have a finite number of minutes in any night and they deserve to hear up front if I want to talk to them about The Editors' new album, or about having sex with them while listening to The Editors' new album.

Which leads me to I-66, and my realization in light of all that was said here today that early (and often if necessary) is best. Once it's out there, we each proceed at our own peril at that point.

VK- And to think, I thought the ickiest thing someone would suggest would be a fake wedding ring.

Aileen- I find in this town that folks give business cards to pretty much everyone short of the bathroom attendant. It's like the word "Smurf." It means whatever you want to mean at the time. But yeah, like I said, I realize it could get confusing.

Phil- They mess with a Playaz' wife? Brave, foolhardy men.

RCR-When I was writing this post I was thinking a couple things:
1. I think I've been putting way too much faith in the goodwill of people.
2. I hope RCR doesn't stop hitting on me at happy hours, or stop thinking that I'm a total cheating whore, because I am not cool with either of those developments.

And the handshake was pretty light, but in his defense VK might have gotten to him first and told him I have incurable STD to try to help me out.

(Oh, and I was also thinking, no guy who reads this is ever going to talk to me again for fear that I'm going to burst into tears or start talking about beet farming when they say hello.)

V-Agreed. And on your second point, you know, it's funny: I had a guy jokingly say something to me a few months ago that would have never phased me coming from one of my boys, but coming from this guy I was like, "Dude, inappropriate." I think you're right that it can be the feeling in the gut when they're talking that speaks volumes.

Now let's all brainstorm some fun, smooth ways to work it into conversation. Examples:
"Yeah, the band does sound tight tonight. I have a boyfriend."
"I'm a writer. I have a boyfriend."
"It is sad, because she was so, so young. I have a boyfriend."
And so forth.

11:02 PM  
Blogger WiB said...

"You play the saxophone? Wow. You know, my boyfriend is a beet farmer."

2:25 PM  
Blogger regs said...

I know you’ve met my friend Robert from grad school. (When I mentioned you had this hysterical blog, he said I remember your friend BB who has read everything. Yeah some of my friends do actually read.) Anyway, in his prime he was constantly saying “I met this really cool girl last night. She has a boyfriend but you know that’s just a minor speed bump.” Um no, it kind of makes you look like an idiot actually. I say if you mention the SO once or twice and the guy still hits on you shame on him. Karma’s a bitch.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Brunch Bird said...

Regs- What a sly boots he is. I would have never guessed.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Libba said...

OK, I have to disagree with the idea of getting your status out there ASAP, because MY GOD, some single guy might waste precious MINUTES in his time-sensitive hunt for some coochie. How come it's now your responsibiity for how quickly some dude gets laid? Kind of goes with the "being single" territory, doesn't it? If someone is so desperate to know, he can just ask you.

I advocate just waiting until it's comfortable for YOU to work it into conversation, if you feel it's warranted. If someone feels like you've made him "wait until the end," to reveal, then it sucks to be him.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous rcr said...

Bitter much?

8:59 PM  
Blogger Brunch Bird said...

No, no RCR that's my boyfriend's "Fightin' the Patriarchy" sister-in-law. She's cool. And a redhead. And beautiful. So that's what you're getting there, not some sort of years-of-getting-ignored-in-bars, post-Sex and the City bitterness.

10:24 PM  

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