Why I No Longer Use The Phrase ‘I Have A Boyfriend’


Ladies, we’ve all been there: You’re standing at the bar, waiting for a drink, and some guy is coming on to you. You smile politely, say, “No, thank you,” and stare at the bartender as they make your drink, continuing to purposely avoid eye contact with the very persistent man trying to get your attention. He doesn’t take the very clear hint your “No, thanks” attempted to give him, and out of exasperation, the phrase slips through your teeth: “I have a boyfriend!”

Maybe it’s the truth. Maybe it’s a lie. The guy doesn’t know for sure, but what matters is he disappears through the crowd, and you can wait for your vodka soda in peace. Right?

Wrong. I hate defaulting to “I have a boyfriend” because it implies that my rejection isn’t reason enough for a man to leave me alone. It perpetuates the belief that my wants, needs, and comfort aren’t worthy enough to be respected, and that I need to provide confirmation that I belong to another man to ensure he’ll leave me alone.

Hell. To. The. Nah.

Whether I have a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a dog, a cat, or am a nun has no relevance to whether I am obligated to engage in conversation with someone who is a stranger. If I clearly state that I’m not interested, that’s enough. No ifs, ands, or buts: You should turn around and leave me alone because I’ve asked you to. Don’t keep pushing, don’t assume I’m playing hard to get (newsflash, fellas: Women who are interested in you don’t play hard to get), and don’t try to dig for a reason that I’m not interested in you. Sometimes, women just want to go out to a bar. Or the gas station. Or to the Target Dollar Spot. Or any one of the other dozens of places women frequent on the regular.

In 2020, I’m not going to tell imperceptive men in bars, supermarkets, or coffee shops that “I have a boyfriend.” Instead, I’ll look at them with my head raised, shoulders back, and tell them the truth: “I’m not interested, thank you.” And they had better listen, or they’ll have more than my polite rejection to deal with.