I was at a water park with some friends one summer. (Bucaneer Bay, Weeki Wachee Florida, if you must know.) The park's layout starts with a beach loaded with tons of beach lounge chairs, and straight ahead is a roped off section of the spring for swimming. About 50 feet into the water ahead of the beach, there's a floating dock that people swim to, and hang out. (Off to the right of the beach are waterslides, but they're not important to the story.)

The water in Weeki Wachee Spring (which fuels the park) is a constant 76 degrees year-round. That makes it exceptionally cool in the summer. When swimming out to the dock, it's generally a good idea to sit and talk for a bit to let the cool water dry from your skin. That way, when you jump back in the water, it's cold again.

Anyway, a few friends and I were sitting on the dock, just talking about stuff. General bullshitting. I notice a fairly attractive girl to my left, sitting alone. I turn to her, smile, and say "Hi!"

"I have a boyfriend."

Not being quite the response I expected, I managed to utter an "Um, okay then. I was just saying Hello. A return greeting would have sufficed.", and turn the conversation back to my also-shocked friends.

Funny thing is, later on in the day, she started hanging out with us - particularly, a single one of my friends. By the end of the day, almost to the point of sex.

One is forced to wonder how important her "boyfriend" actually was...or if said boyfriend even exists.

rp: I see where you're coming from, but substituting a return "Hello" for "I have a boyfriend" is just rude. She wasn't really approached, per se, because she was just sitting there - and we were just sitting there as well.

She could have made an attempt at being polite. Instead, she automatically assumed I was interested in her in a romantic way - when all I was doing was saying hello, and being nice. Sure, she doesn't know that, but why assume otherwise?

That even borders on the verge of insulting, and it shows her insecurity.

Plus, it's not like she was the target of anything. She was just sitting there, as were we. (And she has no idea my pseudonym is Accipiter.)

Generally speaking, men are stronger and more aggressive than women. As a consequence, women depend more on their social lives, on relationships, for their own well-being.

This has implications at the social level. In many social groups, communities, cultures, this fact of life is codified into social values, and women are expected to be married or have boyfriends, they are expected not to be alone; their respectability depends on it.

It also has implications at the personal level. I know women who - quite apart from what anyone else thinks - personally find the idea of being without a boyfriend unacceptable. Their self-esteem depends on the idea of having a boyfriend.

Now consider yourself in the situation described above: an attractive woman, alone, approached on the beach by someone who carries the nickname of Accipiter, his friends lur(k?)ing in the background. Yes, she's interested in having a good time. But she's not interested in playing the role of fair game, she wants to maintain some control over the situation. Under these circumstances, saying she has a boyfriend is a sensible thing to do, the next best thing to actually having one.

PS to Accipiter: 1) yes, I agree it's rude 2) accipiter is a bird of prey

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