It’s quiet for a bar, or maybe I’m just not used to being out on a Tuesday night. There are six of us sitting around the table, loudly debating the relative merits of mathematics and the sciences.
I end up huddled over the table with the one person I hadn’t met before, earnestly comparing notes on data analysis software. Two members of our party take this as their cue to stand and say their good-nights. He said something apologetic about this being a really nerdy conversation to have in a bar. I retorted with “I need someone to talk stratified sampling with. Also I’m wearing a t-shirt with a TARDIS on it. Nerdy is not a problem.” At this point I should note that I have no idea when people are hitting on me until it’s comically obvious to everyone else.
“I’m going to get a drink, can I get you something?”
“No thanks, I don’t really drink.”
“You drink something. Soda, water?”
“I’m good, thank you.”
“You sure? I’m only gonna ask once.”
“Dude, you already asked three times. Get your beer already.”
He walks to the bar. Spouse and his friend-with-sexual-tension wander off to play a game. I take the moment alone to text the Techie without being rude, and ask if he’ll be able to join us.
The statistician comes back before the Techie answers, so I leave my phone on the table. He looks surprised. “I didn’t realize they were getting up. Seems awfully rude to leave a pretty* girl alone at the table.”
I shrug. “S’ok, I needed to text someone anyway.”
“Still–” At this point the Techie texts back. I don’t have my phone set up for previews, but he’s programmed in under an overly adorable pet name. The statistician looks at it. “Is that your boyfriend?”
“Something like that.” He visibly deflates. It’s so cartoonish I have to bite back a laugh. I pick up the phone and message the Techie back. I’m breaking my text message etiquette rules, but I need a moment to decide what to say.
I could gently explain that he’s made an erroneous inference: the fact that a person is in a relationship does not always mean that he or she is unavailable for another relationship. I’m not looking for a new partner right now, and certainly not a monogamy-oriented vanilla male, but in a city with a significant poly community and a huge swinger community, it’s worth knowing.
But then, he was a bit pushy about that drink. If I admit to nonmonogamy, the rest of the evening could be more annoying than I want to deal with.
“Well, you’re pretty and geeky, no wonder you’re taken.”
Nevermind, it’s going to be annoying no matter what. Lucky for me, Spouse and FWST come back and announce that they’re getting tired a few minutes later.
The poor statistician looked very confused after Spouse and I kissed on our way out the door.
* The word “pretty” bothers the hell out of me, generally because it evokes an image of femininity to which I do not conform, in this case because it implies that it is less rude to leave a plain woman (or a man) alone in a social situation.