The problem with “I have a boyfriend”

Of Means and Ends

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Many of us have probably met a woman who wears a fake engagement or wedding ring to avoid advances by men. Often times women will offer up “I have a boyfriend” as a magical phrase to get men to leave them alone and stop hitting on them. It’s understandable that women want to avoid a conflict, especially when men often won’t take “no thank you” for an answer.

But there are disturbing undercurrents to this practice. Women are conditioned to be “nice” and not cause problems. While of course we should all employ basic human decency and politeness, when that doesn’t work it’s often hard for women to be firm and unequivocal when they want to be left alone. There’s an assumptive attitude that some of these men have in assuming that a stranger they just decided to talk to owes them some kind of explanation for not being interested…

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