I was waiting in line for the bathroom at a bar recently when a guy approached to talk about the can of Schlitz beer in my hand.
He seemed pretty amused when I explained that I liked drinking beers that reminded me of Milwaukee, and so for the next few minutes we went on to engage in what I thought was innocent, lively banter about old school beers and other fun.
About a half hour later, when I was back talking to my friends, the guy approached carrying two cans of Schlitz. One was for him. The other he handed over to me with a hopeful smile.
Shoot. I thought, feeling equal parts gratitude and dread.
Of course I appreciated the gesture and thanked him. But I realized that the gesture required me to do something I’ve never been very good at – telling guys that I have a boyfriend.
It’s a tricky situation, I think.
Because you never want to be too presumptuous and assume someone is making a play for you. (Maybe he was just generous and liked buying beers for people).
But you also never want people to accuse you of leading a guy on, or milking the attention.
So I’m always left wondering when the best moment to insert the information would be. And hoping to God my face doesn’t flinch or make embarrassing apology-expressions that would make me seem arrogant.
I’ve been on the other side of this equation, too. When I’m the single girl, and a guy I’m talking to never mentions his significant other. Sometimes I actually KNOW he has a girlfriend and he still never brings her up.
In those situations, I usually feel like, Just spit it out already, I’m not going to be devastated.
And yet, when it’s the other way around, I just clam up.
Luckily, that night at the bar it was easy. After handing over the beer, Schlitz Man asked me who I knew at the party that brought me to the bar.
“My boyfriend,” I said, pointing at him across the room.
The guy nodded his head and stuck around for a few minutes before politely excusing himself.