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“I have a boyfriend”: A lie as old as time

I have a boyfriend.

Why do we say it? Because of the time-honoured strange conviction that the female ‘no’ actually, to all intents and purposes, as a matter of fact, veritably means ‘yes!’ Contrary to popular belief, this no=yes equation was actually not left behind with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, where Mr Collins’ unyielding marriage proposals do not take into account Elizabeth’s determined refusals. But today, we’ve found the perfect loophole: “I have a boyfriend”. And it is truly a magic wand. 

Obviously, the thing fundamentally wrong with this is that it is founded upon the premise that this non-existent boyfriend of yours is to be respected over your basic right to not want to cuddle and kiss some street urchin. How dare you not want to instantly marry this five foot four, faux-adidas-tracksuit-wearing, bow-legged charmer? If you were lucky enough to be desirable to him that should be reason enough to fall straight into his sexy little hairy arms and swoon – and maybe even go for a pre-marital sensual massage at his place then and there. 

There are various types of “I have a boyfriend” street urchins. There’s street urchin number one, who cedes and fucks off immediately. You’re ugly anyway. Then, there’s urchin number two, who has a whole equation of his own which looks something like no=please=no=pleaaaase=no. He requires ample pushing and cajoling till you begin to feel like you’re harassing him.

Then there’s the occasional guy number three who, after grovelling forth to ask for your number, looks at you in horror as if to say it was your mistake to insinuate he wanted anything more than an innocent bosom friend. This guy has a parental figure standing outside the sandpit whispering “go on Rupert! Go play with that kid! Make a friend!”, and for that he can only be forgiven. 

Guy number four: the inspector. It can get quite fun when they go into inspector mode. With a raised brow they want to know everything about your very existent man so you get to invent a whole character. Your boyfriend lives in Berlin and is training to be a physiotherapist, and he visits every time he gets the chance, and he dogsits a dalmatian called Timothe, and is extremely possessive, and the way he treats Timothe the dalmatian is similar to the way he treats you, which you find deeply interesting but you don’t love it when he asks you to bark in bed. This can go on and on and soon the inspector will have more important investigations to tend to and will eventually fuck off. Great fun!

Finally, guy number five. The worst kind, I find – but worst is in the eye of the beholder. This guy, upon your rejection, sees your loyalty and drools over it like a virgin-Mary-worshipping impotent bishop. He now not only wants to get into bed with you and cuddle and kiss you, but he’s also ready to whip out a sword (and actually no, not that one) and go full duel-to-the-death mode with your boyfriend after a long arduous quest to find him. This guy is likely to fall into will-follow-you-onto-the-bus-and-excessively-call-you-“dear” category and is the one I’d advise you ladies to stay the furthest away from. Even if it means ending up in the middle of nowhere with 4% on your phone having to try and find your actual bus home from there. We love men that take you on spontaneous adventures, push you out of your comfort zone and spice up your daily routine. 

So, let’s explore the alternative option. The one that deceptively seems the easiest. The simple one-worded “no”. Or even a no-worded shaking of the head. Not that hard right? Wrong. It is that hard. Eighty-eight percent of the time you are then faced with the broken ego of an anger-management-needing childhood-broken manchild. And this is not a pretty sight. If you’re lucky, this can include some generic insult, which you just put down to Suzan from the playground who didn’t clap when John ate the mud – and actually is just easier and expected. 

But upon occasion you find yourself transported to an X Factor fail audition. The kind where the auditioner just refuses to leave after receiving four no’s. But in this instance you don’t have the two bald bodybuilder bouncers waiting on either side, nor 10,000 people watching and a camera panning round – you only have your rapidly speeding little legs to carry you away from a plethora of “why”s and “what’s wrong with me”s and “I don’t understand”s. Sometimes, when not aggressive, it is actually poignant. Because you did not mentally prepare to have to determine a whole being’s worth in the space of four seconds, nor were you trained as a therapist, and so there you find yourself, in the middle of the busy boulevard, in front of an imploring stranger whose value is completely at your mercy. 

Oh, and a little generous disclaimer: “nOt AlL mEn”. I’m sure there are some wholesome little urchins out there. But they aren’t as fun to write about. And they get lost in the urchin crowd, behind all the no=yes algae.

Of course, there’s always the obvious solution: having a boyfriend. But cut a girl some slack. And I also recently found out that guys don’t wash their hands after pooing and I think this warrants a little recovery time. But it’s completely fine, because “I have a boyfriend!”

Image by Kaique Rocha on Pexels

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