18 February 2006

When Do You Mention You're Married?

A few weeks ago Carl was in New York working on color correction of Another Gay Movie. I, at the same time, was working on the second draft of my poetry manuscript. Since I'd been holed up all day in my home office, I decided to take the manuscript to my favorite bar, have some dinner and just read through it cover to cover. As a side note, the bar used to be called Duffy's and truth be told about half of the poems in it had been written in a booth in Duffy's from 1998 until 2000. It was a prolific time for me.

Usually, on a Wednesday night, there aren't many people at the bar but, on this particular night, not only was the bar quite populated, but the booths were full. I sat at one end of the bar and Frankie greeted me by pouring my glass of wine before I ordered it and telling me that the soup special that night was my favorite. I ordered it. While I read, the 20 something boys on my right chatted with me about the soup that they wished they'd ordered instead of the hot wings and generally flirted with me which wasn't unpleasant. Before they left, a very sweet, handsome man sat to my left. I continued reading my manuscript. During the course of the few hours I was there, he asked me questions, told me he was a restaurantuer and that he was Greek of Greek and Armenian parentage. It was pleasant but at last I said that I really enjoyed talking with him but needed to get back to the task at hand. Before he left, he invited me to come to his cafe the following Sunday and hear him play the bouzouki. I told him I would try but that I had a reading to attend. He left. That's when I started to feel bad.

I never told him I was married. The truth is, it never came up. I wear a wedding ring, a unique band that is tough not to notice. I figured he was sitting to my left, he should have noted it. I also remember that at some point in the conversation about his busy life, I asked if he was married and he said no. He never asked me if I was married but I suppose at that point, I should have said "I am."

The truth is, if you're a chick alone at a bar, I think guys assume (a) you're single; or (b) you're not happily married. Neither of those are true of me. What is true of me is that I enjoy going to my favorite bar to hang out and either write or read. I've never been a coffee shop kind of girl. That said, if a guy starts talking to me, is it my responsibility to tell him that I'm a waste of time? I like meeting new people. I enjoy conversation. I figure if he wants to know whether it's a waste of his precious "meet a chick" time, he should probably check the left hand and/or ask if I'm with someone.

So, guys, I guess I'm asking....should I, if it's obvious I'm being "chatted up", turn to the chatter and say I'm married? Do I have to do the "we" thing in conversation? I hate the "we" thing, it suggests that I am not an individual in my tastes and opinions which is actually a pet peeve of mine with married couples "We think the price of gas is outrageous!" What is the proper thing to do? Is it my responsibility or should guys stop assuming a woman alone in a bar is automatically single? Oh, and if you answer stay away from bars when Carl is out of town, I'm going to have to go into a whole diatribe on men who are married who go to bars all the time after work or while the little woman is travelling and they don't have to deal with this because we don't assume a guy is single if he's alone at a bar.


Nicole said...

Never having been married, I have no clue what to do in that situation. I think you wear the ring and that is enough. It's his responsibility to notice it and act accordingly. Now, if you go to the concert alone, then you may be sending him a clear signal that you are available. Go to the concert with Carl, or don't go at all. Lots of guys don't care if you are married and you don't want to give him the impression you don't care either.

On the other hand, musicians will invite anyone to come hear them play, and it may have meant nothing.

I've had that situation come up when I've had a boyfriend, and that is even more difficult because there is no obvious mark like a ring that tells guys I'm taken at the moment. I always find myself having to work in the 'my boyfriend' preface in some way, but it always feels awkward.

The Retropolitan said...

I'll give you a little insight on the other side, from my experience: although I'm not married to the Lady Retropolitan, I still occasionally go to a bar and read.

The difference: no one ever, ever hits on me. Ever. I'd say that for the majority of bars I go to, it's mostly men who're hanging out there, and women tend not to aggressively flirt with the lonely gentleman at the bar. Especially the one who's reading Chandler novels.

The perfect solution: the "I'm taken"-only bar, where you can assume everyone is married or dating, and can just order a drink in peace.

Sanora said...

Retro! Great idea...I'd go halves and hustle up a bunch of investors for our new establishment but when it came right down to it, we'd argue the L.A./New York location question.

The Retropolitan said...

Yeah -- on further thought, we could call it "The Adulterer's Lounge." ;)

Neil said...

I don't think there are any rules to this, but it's probably good to give some signals once it becomes clear that he is interested, just to make things clear.

Jorge said...

Here are some things you can say that will curb any interest...

I am a lesbian. (Although, on second thought, this might not work).

Once I clear up my schedule of ritual human sacrifices, I'll come by.

I really like Jerry Lewis Movies.

Matt said...

If you wear a ring, that's a perfectly clear signal everywhere in the civilized world, as far as I know. For myself, I can tell you that I rarely look at any woman for more than 3 or 4 seconds before checking. It's just instinctive for me.