A Guide To Making It Known You’re In a Relationship
*“I don’t have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who’d be mad at me for saying that.” – Mitch Hedberg
It was like most Saturday afternoons at Sons of Essex. I made a quick lap around the place, dapping up folk I knew, exchanging pleasantries, taking a welcome shot while my boy Doc went straight to the bar to open up a tab. The entire place was well into party mode, people who were seated at tables were getting up from them and dancing if their jam came on, the pit was a sea of people. She was one of the first people I saw when I walked in the restaurant, sitting down with one of her girlfriends, mimosa in hand. Cute, I thought. Then I kept it moving back to where Doc was seated.
I received a text from Gina that read, “I’m probably going to be there in an hour or so.” This meant she wasn’t getting there for at least another 90 minutes, so I got comfortable.
That girl, the one with the mimosa in hand wasn’t the only attractive woman I saw. Saturdays at SOE are usually crawling with eye candy of all shades and varieties, but, for some reason, she was the one I noticed; the one I knew, if my circumstances were different, I would have approached her and introduced myself.
My behavior when I go out without my girlfriend is only slightly different now than it was when I was going out as a single man. My default setting is social. I will talk to women whether I am attracted to them or not. A large part of this has to do with my job, which as I’ve explained before, requires me to net people who might be willing to participate in my column. Seeing as I have that built in excuse to talk to women, even my girlfriend knows her boyfriend will talk to other women. She also knows she can trust me to draw the line somewhere.
When Gina is with me, that line is much more noticeable simply because of her presence. She knows I will talk to women, but she also knows I will introduce her fairly quickly into a conversation I’m having with another woman. When she is not with me, when I don’t have her present to introduce, my boundaries expand, but be clear: My boundaries are alive and well and self-imposed.
No one is going to know I’m in a relationship unless I actually say I am in a relationship, so now the question becomes when is the right time to say I’m taken? The freedom to use my own judgement as to when I should say I have a girlfriend varies from situation to situation. I’m not married so I don’t wear a ring, but I also don’t wear my relationship on my sleeve (except of course, when I wear this t-shirt, which is more of a satirical double entendre than a serious sign to broadcast my status).
So if I wanted to approach that girl I saw with her mimosa in hand, I knew I was well within my bounds. Not only did I have my “job reasons” to fall back on, she was also with another cute friend of hers that Doc spotted. I could have played his wing man.
As it turns out, I did not have to do any of that because as I was sitting at the bar, drinking what was my third Jack and Ginger, I noticed mimosa girl headed my way sans mimosa. Her walk was slightly aggressive, as she bumped Doc out of her way. She looks directly at me and says, “I know you.”
“I know you,” I said, telling my first lie for the day.
“No you don’t,” she said. “But I know you, we’ve met.”
“Well, if we met, then we know each other,” I said. “So, I know you.”
“Okay, then what’s my name,” she asked.
“Now that I don’t know,” I said. “What’s my name?”
“Jozen,” she said. She crossed her arms and smirked. “Now what?”
“Well, this is embarrassing,” I said.
Obviously this was a fun exchange and obviously we were flirting, but no line had been crossed. There was no need for me to get my Dave Hollister on, at least not yet.
Nothing makes us persona non gratas quicker than stating we’re in a relationship. For women, I understand why they may feel the need to say this to a guy who has approached them, but I still roll my eyes at a woman who feels the need to say it. Now I have to go on the defensive and clarify I don’t care or I have to ask her outright if her share is her way of saying the conversation is over. If it’s the latter, I would prefer she say that, because it’s more polite than being passive.
This girl and I were enjoying our back and forth, playing a subtle game of cat and mouse, all the while I remained in complete control. She ended up giving her name, and before she walked away, she asked me if I was going to another party that was happening after the one at Sons of Essex wrapped up (it was a day party, after all.) I told her I would, but I did not tell her I was going with my girlfriend who was on her way to meet me.
“Whew, she wanted you bad,” said Doc.
That much was obvious to me, but I shrugged it off. “Yeah, she’s cute,” I said. “But you know, I gotta let that go.”
The party was winding down, with more folks exiting than entering. My eyes exchanged glances between my phone and the door. Gina still hadn’t arrived, but she sent me a text to let me know she was close by. Doc has decided to leave early, so I’m standing by myself. Mimosa girl appears in front of me, her friend standing by. They have on their coats, purses slung over the shoulder. They’re on their way out the door, but not before Mimosa girl stops to speak to me.
“We’re getting out of her,” she says.
“Okay, well it was nice to meet you…again,” I said.
She stepped closer to me, and put her right hand on my shoulder. Then that hand started dropping, stopping at my pecs. “You’re coming to the next party right?”
I remember the music kept playing, but my internal record immediately stopped spinning. This was the point where I knew I had to say something.
“Look, this attention, really flattering,” I said, as I removed her hand with a smile on my face. “But at the next party, I’m going to have my girlfriend with me.”
“Your girlfriend,” she said with a slight purr as though she either thought it was hot or a lie.
“Yes, my girlfriend,” I said. “So if we see each other at the next party, she’ll be with me.”
I can tell she knew I was serious now, but she kept staring at me. I said, “She’s actually on her way now.” Then, I looked over at the door to indicate I was serious and to also make sure Gina wasn’t walking in at that moment because from the outside looking in, I knew the positioning between Mimosa girl and I looked suspect.
“But seriously, I’m glad you re-introduced yourself to me,” I said. “You’re cute, but I don’t want to disrespect my girl, or you, or myself.” Mimosa’s girl friend chimed in, “That’s nice of him,” she said. Mimosa girl still looking at me says, “Yeah, that is nice of you.” Then, she walked out.
Gina texted me moments later, letting me know she was outside and couldn’t come in because they were shutting everything down. I walked out to greet her and we went first to get something to eat and then to go to the next party. When we arrived, I fully expected to run into mimosa girl, but she was nowhere to be found.
If I run into her again, I’ll remember her real name, and if I’m with Gina I’ll introduce her accordingly. If Gina is not around, I won’t bring up my relationship again to remind her. That is unless she feels the need to get all touchy-feely, then I have to blow the whistle. Because, boundaries.
*I never actually said that Mitch Hedberg quote, I just like it a lot.