Female Dopers: The "My boyfriend. . ." name drop

Inspired by the “I don’t wanna have sex right now-- do you?” thread here, I wanted to raise an observation of mine, and see if there is any truth in it.

For the record, in my experience, I tend to observe the “ten second” rule discussed in the previous thread: most women will rule out getting involved (sexually or romantically) with a man in a very short amount of time. Ruling in may take longer (ten seconds to ten years), but most women size up a man in a very brief period of time.

Starting from that vantage point, I’ve noticed an odd occurence over my life.

Basically, when I meet a woman for the first time, I’ll pay attention to how quickly they name-drop their boyfriend/husband. Randomly, for no reason, they will find the most awkward way of inserting into a conversation the factoid that they have a boyfriend/husband.

WTF is THAT all about? It’s a complete non-sequitur, but it happens, often enough that I notice it.

It’s funny, because it just seems like such an obvious and awkward way to immediately throw a man off the trail. It’s even funnier when it’s done when I (the man) have no interest at all in the woman I’m speaking with.

It appears like there’s just this quick logic trail at work in women’s minds:

Of course, the flip side is, men never do this. We wait a long time to mention our girlfriends/wives because we (the negative view) like to keep the options open or (the charitable view) don’t bother to even think of it, because we’re not naturally worried where flirtation might lead.

So. . . women, have you ever done this? Intentionally, or by accident? Men, have you run into this behavior before?

No, but I have intentionally mentioned the man’s wife - even though he seemed to have forgotten her.

LOL, that’s awesome.

Generally if women do this it is because they feel like you might be coming onto them and this gives you a signal not to ask her out so she doesn’t have to reject you and you don’t have to be rejected. If he really just wants to talk it shouldn’t impact him at all but if he was looking for a date it lets him know not to bother. You have to admit it is a lot more polite than yelling, “I have no desire to ever let you touch me in any way!” :smiley:

Are you asking why this happens? There could be a number of reasons. Either she thinks you’re trying to hit on her and she’s not interested, or maybe she just wants everyone to know she’s taken.

It doesn’t happen as often but I’ve seen guys do it too. You ask them for a pencil and they reply, “Here’s one my GIRLFRIEND gave to me.” Jeez, dude, whatever. Just asking for a pencil. In those cases I usually suspect a very jealous girlfriend.

I hate this. The “boyfriend” drop (and, for that matter, the “girlfriend” one, from the other angle) is inevitably like a cymbal crash. Do it too early and it seems obvious, but you have to do it sometime, and the longer you wait the more awkward it will most likely be.

I guess this is a benefit to wearing a wedding ring (altho that doesn’t always ward off attention either, I am told).

I did this on purpose when I thought the guy was about to start hitting on me. It’s a pretty deeply ingrained defense mechanism from back when I was young and pretty and got hit on alot.
I always thought it was the polite thing to do, so the guy wouldn’t be wasting time. It also saved my time, in that I wasn’t trying to make friends with a guy who would not speak to me again as soon as he realized our relationship wasn’t going to be sexual.
It was also a useful filter so I could fool myself into believing (if I dated him later, which I occasionally did, I wasn’t monogamous with most of my boyfriends) he was actually interested in my brain and what I had to say.

One time, a really cute girl gave me this hint in a more subtle way (and I have to give her props for it). In this case, I was definitely attracted to her and after talking with her a while I sat next to her at the next class.

She doodles for a minute, then moves the paper she was doodling on in such a way that it was obviously for me to see and read it. It said “Soandso hearts [her name]”. Just to make sure I asked “Who’s Soandso?” to which she replied “My boyfriend.” Gotcha. Very clever (and did I mention cute?) girl. A shame.

I did it when I was younger too for all the reasons that have already been mentioned because it usually felt like the kindest and least awkward way to head someone off at the pass before they asked and I had to turn them down. As I got older I realized that it’s pretty insulting to guys that aren’t trying to show that kind of interest in the first place and along the way I got a lot more comfortable with turning men down in a way that didn’t embarrass them.

Like the other girls, it’s an immediate symbol that I have one! I am trying to be nice and not lead people on. Can’t win either way I guess.

Agreed. Indicating lack of availability is hard to do naturally if the SO isn’t around, so some slight awkwardness is really the best you can hope for.

As I guy I do the “my girlfriend” thing sometimes.

This actually happened to me when I was working at a restaurant. A girl named Cheryl who I liked was washing dishes while I was slicing tomatoes and we were talking about work. I did like her but never pursued the attraction. Right out of the blue she says her boyfriend and her were saving money to buy a house. This was like strange because we were not talking about anything remotely about that topic. Maybe she did sense my attraction to her and was warning me off.

This comic came to mind as I was reading this thread. It seems like most of us have been on one of the two ends to the “I have a significant other let me mention them awkwardly!” moment.

Couldn’t she have been sharing an exciting moment in her life with a co-worker? Jeeeez.

I’ve name-dropped before, but always when its obvious someone is making a non-verbal move. It’s happened lots of times. I think most people can tell when they’re being hit on.

I’ve done it, and for exactly that reason… Spares us both a potentially uncomfortable moment. If you weren’t interested in me, no harm, if you were, now you know I’m not available. If I am interested in a guy, and I am single, I will find a way to innocuously bring up the question of a partner… “Oh, did you go there by yourself or with your wife or girlfriend?” If he’s not interested he’s now got an easy out by admitting to or inventing a girlfriend and if he is interested we can go from there with sorting out each other’s availability.

Thanks for the the thoughtful responses.

To clarify my OP, I know why it’s done-- or at least, I think so, insofar as I’ve always suspected a conspiracy.

It’s the inelegant non-sequitur aspect of it that’s always made me chuckle. I guess I notice it most when I don’t find the other woman attractive (or, at least, not immediately attractive-- I am a guy, after all ;-). Even with no intention to flirt, even if I’m not putting any vibes out there, it still happens more often than random chance would provide.

I dunno, maybe it’s because I would never think of asking out a woman I just met a minute before, so I don’t understand why a woman would be so defensive about pre-empting a deliberate shootdown. Most times this happens, my first instinct is, “Wow, you sure think highly of yourself, don’t you? I wasn’t going to hit on you, but now I may do it just outta spite” ;-).

Actually, it creates one. It says, “I know that you’re not hitting on me, but let me reject you anyway.”

Hoo boy, I’ve had this happen. Don’t have anything against it, though. It communicates the relevant info, while allowing everybody to save face.

Y’know what makes me laugh? When you and someone are talking and one of you drops the bf/gf line. The other one always feels compelled to drop a bf/gf line right back to prove this was not a flirt!

He: Have you read “The Watchmen” yet?
Me: Yeah, I read it a few month’s back. Actually gave a copy to my bf for Christmas, too.
He: Yeah, my wife had her hair done yesterday.


You maybe. We women have been asked out plenty within a moment of getting to know someone.
Why, someone asked me out the other day when I was returning cans at the grocery store. I barely said two words to him. :smack:
And then, if we don’t come out with immediately, we’re accused of leading people on, like I have seen so many times here on the board. Apparently girls shouldn’t even talk to guys unless they want to bed them right away! Because being friendly with a guy=romantic interest, when someitmes we’re just being friendly.