Lovelies:

To catch up anyone who might have missed them, my posts on Friday and Tuesday were about an awkward (yet enlightening) flirtation experience: I went over to a complete stranger at a bar and said "I thought it'd be nice to meet you, so here I am, saying hello"; and after about five minutes of pleasant chit-chat, I suggested we get coffee sometime. He then proceeded to introduce me to his fiancee--who'd been standing next to him the whole time.*

This raised a minor ruckus: Some of my friends and readers (like Deborah) were annoyed, on my behalf, that the dude didn't mention the wife-to-be sooner. Others (like Rae) pointed out that maybe he didn't rush to do because he didn't want to presume I was hitting on him.

This question--WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR A PERSON WHO IS NOT SINGLE TO ANNOUNCE THAT FACT, IN A SITUATION THAT COULD BE FLIRTATIOUS?--is one that I have come up against a number of times in the past.

CASE STUDY #1

In December, my friend Daisy Milliner and I left a swinging holiday party thrown by my Marie Claire editor to go on to the next fiesta on our agenda. We arrived so late that there were only a few stragglers left ... but it just so happened that, almost immediately, I fell deep into conversation with one of them. A male of the species, no less. 5 minutes into our chat, my heart was aflutter: This guy seems like the real thing! 30 minutes in, I'd calmed down a bit, while also growing increasingly amazed by how awesome he was. After almost an hour had passed, I was thinking about how I'd decorate our first apartment ... when, all of a sudden, he mentioned how I should stop by the gathering his GIRLFRIEND was having the following weekend.

I almost told him he should stop by the Brooklyn Bridge and fall off it whenever he had the chance, but I held back.**

CASE STUDY #2

Another time--and this is a story that I should tell in much greater detail eventually--I was back at a guy's apartment, smooching him ON HIS BED after we met at a party, before he said, 'You know, I should probably tell you: I'm engaged. My fiancee lives here--"

I was like, "Wait. You mean ... she sleeps in this bed with you?"

He nodded. "Yep. See, we have an open relationship."

I rolled away from him ... right onto the floor.

"Are you all right?" he said.

"Are you?" I responded.

Obviously, both of these are examples of WAITING TOO LONG TO TELL SOMEONE YOU HAVE A GIRLFRIEND!

And I'll admit that last week, in that bar, when I marched up to that guy and introduced myself, I kind of wished he'd just introduced his woman to me right off the bat, and saved me the trouble. (Sorry, Rae.) ... YET ...

At the same time, I've also been in the situation where I'm standing next to a guy at the drinks table at some party, and I say, "Hey, can you pass me the bottle of club soda?"

And he responds by saying: "I COULD EXCEPT I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND, YOU HOME-WRECKING WHORE!"

Which never feels very good.

Okay, okay. So I exaggerate--mildly. But I have had at least a couple experiences where a dude blurts out his not-single status so quickly that it makes me wonder if I have a "DESPERATE" sign on my forehead?

Anyway, it can be tricky. So ... ladies? Gentlemen? Any thoughts about when it's best to drop the news? And under what circumstances?

xxx

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*We've actually become buddies, believe it or not, and he's a sweetheart--whom I've quoted once or twice in this very blog!

**You can read about why I actually think this was a completely worthwhile experience here.

What Do You Think?