engagement rings

I thought an engagement ring was some form of deterrent.  Usually when a random man at a random bar began to make small talk with me, he’d make a big face upon seeing my engagement ring.  I was wasting his time and should have been holding my wine goblet with my left hand, so it was all the more obvious that he should talk to someone else.  No single guy at a bar wants to talk to the married chic.  And part of me, the insecure part, found it a bit unfair that I wore this symbol of promise and commitment but my fiancée did not. Because as much as an engagement ring is about love and a future, on some level it also says off limits almost as efficiently as museum glass.  That’s what I thought.

Some married women take comfort, thinking their husband’s band of platinum is a sign to the single indicating, “keep off my grass,” but it’s not.  If someone wants attention, they don’t always care about the source, or whom the source is married to.  I know women who date married men, and I judge them.  Harshly.  I exhale bits about karma and some part of me, the once betrayed part, wishes them a life where the same thing will happen to them.  That they’ll eventually marry, maybe this same married man, maybe another one, and it will come back to haunt them.  He’ll now tell another woman how his marriage is on the rocks, how it’s only “technical at this point.”  I want her to know the hurt she’s causing.  I feel guilty for wanting these things.  Judgmental, yet justified. 

Being married or engaged, wearing that symbol, not wearing it, in a bar, it means nothing to the people who see it, and that sucks. Yes, it means the world to the wearer, who would never cheat, but they would flirt, just to see.  Harmless, right?  Without an exchange of numbers or fluids, no one has done anything wrong.  I have another theory on this, but for now, we’ll keep things tidy, to the facts, to what happened.

“I don’t care if you’re married,” he says.  “One better, you’re only engaged, which means you’re still fair game.”  Now I’m game.  I see, like deer or pheasant. 
“Hunt this,” I want to say, but I don’t because I’m eating at the bar, and my food has just arrived. 
“But you’re so hot and tight and young; how can you be settling down now?”  Because.  “Because I know when he rubs you through your bed routine later tonight, you’re going to think of this conversation, think of the span of your entire life, and you’re going to come to one conclusion: that it’s short, too short, and you’ll remember this conversation as he touches you.  The way I touch your arm ‘innocently enough’ right here, in the inside of your elbow, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t pull away at my touch, and then you’ll wonder why he never bothers to touch you here.”  And when he says, “here,” he presses his thumb into my pulse.  I’ve had too much wine and can almost forget or forgive the fact that he actually said "young and tight."  If he were sober and I told him he’d said it, he’d knit his brow and smile, denying it.  "You must have me confused with an infomercial," he’d say, and it wouldn’t make sense, but it would.  This is what a mistake feels like.  This is what alive feels like.  “And you’ll get off on this, and I can tell from your face you think I’m cheesy or cocky, or whatever you want to tell yourself to make you feel better, slime, even, but tonight, I’ll go to bed thinking of him touching you, knowing you’re thinking of this, these words, my hand on your pulse.”  And he’ll be right.  Because when someone slaps that down, when they ride that confidence, they’re in there, on the brain, and all you remember is the glance across the bar, the way he made you feel.  The attention and the idea that he could really know you.

And then you remember He, your He.  He’s getting the same talk from the other line, the opposition line, the female bartender who likes his dimples or his jokes or the way he’ll tip.  Or the girl with the back tattoo who smokes clove cigarettes and drinks Irish whiskey and wears too much coal eyeliner.  And if you were there, you’d think, but I’m much prettier.  Looks have nothing to do with any of this.  It’s attention mingled with confidence.  He sees it in her cleavage, the way she presses herself off the bar, and walks toward the bathroom, aware that he’s watching.  He’s sure he could if he wanted to, and it excites him, watching her eyebrow and hemline, the way other men watch her. Knowing if could turn to yes, without the words, if he wanted, if he allowed for it.  He’s still got what it takes, and that makes him feel good.

Maybe you’re wrong, though.  Maybe this shit only happens to you.  He just talks about whatever sport it is and whichever players.  But you get jealous when he says he’s going out because you know exactly what happens to you when you go out, and you’re the one with the ring, with the symbol, with the sign saying, “nah uh, no way.”  If he knew, really knew, the things men said to us, the way they made us feel and want, he’d never let you leave the house alone.  If he was a fly on the bar wall, he’d shake his head, tighten his lips and be pissed off in that way that’s not overt, in that “everything’s fine” way.  But she wasn’t doing anything wrong.  She was eating a meal.  And she did pull her arm away; you weren’t watching closely enough.

"When you finish your meal… Stephanie? Was it?  Come have a drink with us.  Our table back there is now ready."  And so many women say okay, then get stuck having to hear about his townhouse and how he’s friends with Kate Spade, as if that’s some grand selling point.  "Do you know who I am?" gets spit out too often without those exact words, in the way he stands or pushes up a sleeve to not quite check the time, but hopes you’ll notice his brand of watch.  And in my head I think, "Yeah, I know who you are; you’re human, just like I am.  Except you’re sucking at it."  You’re insecure and worried and trying to impress your friends at that table, and you’re older and have more to learn.  I wonder when you’ll realize it’s not all about your client Tony or the blond with the fake fur and lips.  It’s about integrity. 

And it would be so much easier if this were the case, if he turned out to be a Mister.  But instead, the man who touched your arm at the bar while you were eating, paid for your bill when you weren’t paying attention.  And he was a good guy you could have spent your life with, speaking in coincidences and shared interests.  He was only provoking you that night because he could tell you were like him, with your need to think and feel.  And now you still think about him, the one you hardly knew, the idea of the other, who for a night, saw you in a perfect way.

*As an aside, today I found Married To It, written Sept. 12, 2005, and found it ironic and heartwarming.  Especially Phil’s comment.  I also suspect the idea of monogamy might be called "unnatural" in the comment section.  And it really might be, in fact, it probably is.  But we make our choices and we live with them, moving and looking forward, even if we sometimes stagger and breathe in a little too much nostalgia.  There’s also something natural about life-long partnership, growing with–even though it sometimes will feel like away from–your beloved wife.



  1. I watch men, and women, do this. Play with people they shouldn't be playing with. I hate it when the woman giggles. And I want to take a hard bag of granite to the man who slips his wedding band in his pocket.

    I know a guy who does this. And he's cocky enough to do it in front of me and assume I wont tell his lady…because she's close to me and I wouldn't want to hurt her and she wouldn't believe me anyway…because he's such a liar and calls me one.


  2. Excellent post.

    I had the same experience as you did – being cheated on by my husband – and I completely agree with your opinion of women who knowingly get involved with married men. Obviously the husband has committed a greater betrayal, since he is the one who has broken his vows, but the other woman is still morally culpable and lacking integrity.

    I also like how your story illustrates the boundaries we maintain when we are in committed relationships, and the difficulty of sometimes knowing where to draw the line. It's not easy.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

  3. it is important to me to have a symbol to protect me from sending the wrong message, even though i smile too much. my boyfriend recently got me a promise ring, and we've discussed which hand i'll wear it on, and for me – it's not an issue wearing it on my left. i'm not available, and that's it. he told me he'd wear a ring too, which made me feel amazing.

    it's so strange how that symbol can mean so much but mean so little in the realm of confident cocky so-and-sos.

    and it's great to feel desired. to know the option exists because having a ring doesn't turn you into a newt.

    all-in-all, i think it's fabulous to enjoy being young and wanted while having the one you love in mind to keep you at arm's length. attention is all i need sometimes.

    great writes lately. how are things coming along with moose?

  4. Interesting post.

    Almost sounds like you're reminding yourself of what it feels like to be desired.
    Or trying to make Phil jealous! ;)

    That's so cool that you can go back before you guys were married and look back at his comments.
    Imagine your grown children reading this… interesting.

  5. I have found, in my experience of going out to bars with my single friends, that the engagement ring and wedding band around my fingers do zero to ward off unwanted flies. But I have also noticed that when I actually invoke the words, "my husband," said flies move quickly on to other things. I could explain this many ways, but my husband believes that it is a simple reason — guys are simply too oblivious to see the jewelry around your finger, but that the words, said aloud, are too obvious to ignore.

  6. I've never bought into blaming the "other woman." You (the wife or fiancee or committed sig. other) do not have a contract (legal or emotional) or understanding with her; the husband/fiance/boyfriend is the one who fouled you out and should get your anger or confrontation or divorce summons.

  7. I loved this post. For so many reasons.

    I also, being married, at times crave the excitement of another person's touch, but I also know that a fleeting two minutes of pheromones is not worth compromising the thing I hold most dear- which is my marriage.

    Though, admittedly, sometimes the attention is nice. Sometimes I long for that first kiss, that first touch to the small of the back, that first rush of desire. But its so fleeting, and nauseating, and complicated. We always seem to forget how hard falling is, how hard first sex is, how awful brief connections can be. It's the real love that lasts- the love that does laundry and has in-jokes and sees each other at your best and your worst. That's better than anything. Not that it doesn't get hard, or lonely, but its worth fighting for.

  8. Barbara E –
    I agree that the real issue is between the wife and the husband who betrayed her. Yes, he's the one that broke his vows. But simply because the "other woman" doesn't have a contract (legal or emotional) doesn't mean that she's not behaving unethically. I believe that we have certain ethical obligations about how we treat other people in general, whether or not we have some contractual obligation, and a woman (or man) whose sleeping with a married person is violating those basic ethical principles (unless it's an open marriage, in which case it wouldn't be cheating anyway). Both parties involved in the cheating are wrong. I would also wager that the "other woman" is violating her own integrity by participating in an affair.

  9. Many women seem to be more flirtatious when they learn you are married. I always attributed this to the fact that a married man is "safe" – at least in theory there is no expectation of anything more.

  10. Marif — The ethics of others (except my daughter's in that I hope I taught them to her) are none of my business. Presumably the ethics of those in my life are in the right place; otherwise, they're fired! (See SK's recent post.)

    It seems to me that in the disaster of a broken vow/commitment/whatever, one has enough on one's hands dealing with the one who betrayed you. To bring the 3rd party into the equation (unless necessary in the context of a fault required divorce action — such as NY State)is pointless. If anything, it takes some culpability away from the cheater and places it on the "other". . who, quite frankly, owes the betrayed party nothing. I've seen among my acquaintances spouses who've reconciled — it seems — in the spirit of a shared contempt of the woman he cheated with. Now there's a healthy basis for marriage

    Geez, Marif. That's more thinking than I've done all week. I'm going back to SK's T'giving post. I have more computer screen licking to do.

  11. I've been involved in a lot of conversations about this lately. Both my professional and personal life takes me to Europe quite a bit. Stepping outside of the marriage in Europe is fairly common practice and has been for generations. I have mixed feelings about all of it. I used to say, "well why bother getting married?" The standard response seems to be for companionship, being with your best friend, and that the "other person" has nothing to do with love, but rather the human race wasn't meant to have sex with just one person for the rest of their life. To which I respond, does that mean I'll need to send my (future) husband out with condoms everyday in the hopes that he doesn't bring home any deadly diseases? Beyond the obvious, I always thought one of the perks of getting married is so that you don't have to use condoms anymore! Human nature…sigh…

  12. I guess I found myself wondering why you're in a bar by yourself after becoming engaged. I realize this is a "past tense" post, and maybe NYC is different from the rest of the world, but the act of going to a bar (good quality, hot food can be garnered anywhere, I would imagine, especially in NYC??) at the basest level, telegraphs you're available and looking. So that's what the guys are assuming, ring or no ring. I think perhaps if you'd been there with a group of GFs, you wouldn't have been approached this way. Dare I suggest you might have been sending it out, perhaps as a test, even tho' you were engaged at that point?

    I read through your archives, and I know your first hubby done you wrong, but I also do agree with some of the previous commentors..it's too easy to blame the other woman. I'll just add, It takes two to make a marriage work, two to make it not work, and sometimes having affairs are a symptom of a problem that one person can't express their unhappiness– and wants out. That's not to defend infidelity, it's just an observation.

    Glad your new guy is someone you like, love and trust and that things are working out for you.

    FROM STEPHANIE: You so clearly have not read Straight Up and Dirty yet, where I most certainly don't put blame on the other woman. I put it on myself, for some time, and most certainly on him, too. The point here is, I know women (not the men) who date married men, and they make me sick. And, now I really have something to say: if a woman eats or drinks alone at a bar, it doesn't mean she's sending out a signal, the same way if a man is at a bar alone, it doesn't mean he is. It's ABSURD to assume a woman alone is asking for it.

  13. Barbara E –

    We obviously disagree about the ethics of the other woman. But, I agree with you that, in order to repair the marriage, the focus needs to be on the two people in it. I agree that any reunification cannot be based on a mutual loathing of the other woman (in fact, it shouldn't be based on the OW at all). I also believe that in most cases, and certainly in my own, the other woman could have been anyone. She's a character in a dysfunctional relationship between husband and wife. That said, I cannot imagine getting involved with a married man, knowing that I was participating in the deception of his wife.

    Okay, I think I'll head back to the Thanksgiving post, too!

  14. i agree stephanie. i enjoy going to my favorite bars on occasions to read my book and drink a good beer or two.. just like i do at cafes. i keep my head down and when i feel like it, i look around and people watch and day dream and just zone out.
    i'm very independent but crave to be around other people at times and am able to get my fix at bars, cafes etc.
    sometimes people just need that energy from other unknown people to get recharged. not everyone is looking to get picked up or be flattered or whatev.

  15. Kris,
    I would have to agree with your comments. I often tell my husband why I will not wait for him in a bar or go to a bar without him. It is, simply put, not appropriate. I am by no means a "looker". In fact I'm afraid I would fall off any stool if approached by anyone other than a geezer. Would it boost my self esteem, of course but my priorities are family not personal gain. Walking that fine line is a dangerous line that is so easily crossed by the willing and the unwilling. When one looks back one may have to ask, how and why did that happen. Why place yourself in that position. It may be old fashioned. I should be able to conduct myself in a manner that would allow me to go to bars without hubby but it isn't worth it.

  16. But my point is NOT that you were asking for it, but that if you wanted to avoid this kind of attention entirely you could have had your meal in a restaurant. I think it's idealistic to think that a woman alone in a bar is not going to be vulnerable to hitting. A bar is a place where men feel socially comfortable hitting. And a ring won't stop them. Even when they find out you're "taken," it presents a bit of a challenge to them, and they get more inquisitive, thinking they might have a shot if you're married but unhappy, say. As I said, NYC might be different from most places, and it might be customary to eat in a bar alone and not expect hitting? I don't know. But like it or not, if I were to go home to Southern California, where there are a lot of high-end bars that serve food, and I were dressed to the nines, and I sat down alone to eat, drink or whatever, I would reasonably expect to be hit on. Even if I were only there for the food! It might be "absurd"and unfair, but it is just the way the world works.

    You're right..I haven't bought or read the book.

    FROM STEPHANIE: It's sexist, what you're saying. And that's fine, but it is. You think it's reality that a woman alone at a bar should be expected to be hit on. I don't expect it. I also don't give a shit if it happens. I'm certainly not about to avoid eating at bars, where I enjoy eavesdropping and observing people, because it's somehow inappropriate for a woman to do, but not a man.

  17. Exactly! And a woman deserves to be/asked to be raped because she spoke to him or because she wore a low cut blouse.

    It is inapproriate for a woman to be out after dark as well. She must be a prostitute.

    And for the record, if a woman is in an executive position she must have either slept her way there or she's a lesbian.

    So word to all woman- stay inside, only go where you are allowed, get those knees padded if you want to succeed. It might sound "absurd" and unfair, but it is just the way the world works.

  18. so many things to say….
    I think a real couple should be strong enough to trust the other person whether at a bar, club or work. Let's face it, many affair start in the office innocently enough. It's what you do when someone is looking at you and flirting towards you that matters. My fiance wears a ring by his own choice. He's a model who is always on shoots with gorgeous women however I know that the second he starts talking to a women he speaks in we's and us's because he's proud of our relationship and he knows the line same as I do. That's what I took from Steph's blog. That there's a line in a couple. If you know where it is and not to cross it then a friendly conversation isn't an issue. We are humans, put on this earth to interact and live as well as respect eachother and (here's the hard part) ourselves.

  19. Kayla–now you're putting words in my mouth. I said nothing of the sort. Of course the world is sexist and unfair, but if you're an attractive woman, and you go to a bar alone, in most places, you can reasonably expect male attention you might not get in other circumstances…Whether you wanted it or not. That was my point. It's not the same as asking to be raped, good grief. A little defensive aren't we?

  20. women are hit on all the time. i am hit on looking fugly as hell in droopy sweats, no makeup, acne scars, walking back home from the gym in my non gentrified brooklyn nabe. i said hi to the construction workers that have been in front of my building for the past few days and you know what? i got hit on. i look people in the eye (a no no in nyc for folks of any gender, but sometimes i forget) and i get hit on. and i'm not wearing skimpy clothes, i don't have a fantastic body, in nyc, at least, you get hit on all the time. if i were to not do something because i wanted to avoid beiing approached by men (or women), i'd be trapped at home with my knitting. i'm sorry, going out by yhourself, whether it's at a bar or resturant, is not overtly sexual behavior, unless you decide to make it so, and from her post, it clearly wasn't. you meet attractive people at work, at the gym, at the bookstore, the important thing is that if you are in a committed relationship you affirm it by not going along when you are approached. not to mention, in nyc, eating at the bar is pretty much the only way to eat at some of the better resturants with out a week-ago rerservation…

  21. I'm a reasonably attractive woman and guys hit on you EVERYWHERE! The supermarket, DMV, a bar. So my fault is that i'm reasonably attractive? I plan on going anywhere I want to go. Kris, wanna join me? It might be reasonable for men not to hit on two women together at a bar for proclivity assumptions. New rule- buddy system only.

  22. I recently became engaged and have noticed I am approached much more often now than before. I would think men would notice the bling and leave me alone? Maybe O.P.'s husband is right, men are just oblivious. My girlfriends say it's because I am not "trying" as hard, seem more relaxed and confident. (My fiance says it's simply because I'm hot. What a sweetie.) After I was approached several times while out with my single girlfriends who were definitely on the prowl, I thought that maybe I would stop going out with them- I didn't like the feeling of taking attention from them, but also felt so uncomfortable being approached by men when I was clearly unavailable. I know that I am not doing anything to attract this attention, and there is no reason for me to stay at home while my single friends have a good time. So I go out. And it doesn't matter if I am approached- I can't help what others think, or how they choose to behave. What matters is how I respond, and I always make it clear that I am not looking for a romance. A few men have continued chatting with me even after I made it clear I was in a happy relationship, which was great because I didn't feel like "game" anymore (loved your analogy to deer and pheasants!) and more like myself- a real, intelligent and interesting person. And others walked away to hunt elsewhere, which was fine by me.

    And I agree with you Stephanie– women do not need a husband or boyfriend or a flock of women to chaperone them to social locations.

  23. stephanie, now that you're married and living it, do you still consider a woman, who stays with a husband that confesses to 'doing something he wouldn't have done in front of her,' a coward?

  24. Not to stray from this heated topic, but….
    Stephanie, are you planning any readings in Denver?? LOVE your book. I was late to work today b/c I couldn't stop reading.

  25. I agree with Stephanie and Vanessa… and anyone else out there who believes that a girl should be able to go to a bar, eat, drink, do whatever, ALONE- in a relationship or not, and that be okay.

    I'm single now, and I enjoy doing this for some of the very same reasons you mentioned Stephanie! People watching, observing, etc. Oh, and because I like bars?- the scene, the getaway, the atmosphere, etc.- and I am not going to choose to go to a girlie tea house because it's more "acceptable" and maybe then there won't be the potential to be hit on.

    And when I'm in a relationship, I will still choose to go to a bar, alone, or with girlfriend's etc. I do believe that it's one thing to go to a bar, eat, chill, whatever… and quite another to go, flaunt your stuff, flirt with everyone, etc.- which isn't the issue here, I don't think.

    Hmm… but that's just me! :)

  26. That's just the point. In my post, "Back and Whacks" I make it clear that it's innapropriate to have certain conversations even, if they're of an intimate nature, the kinds of things you wouldn't want your spouse to know. It is cheating, on some level. And as a married woman, if my husband admitted to behaving in a way that he would never behave in front of me, we'd need to understand why it was happening, and quite frankly, I'd be happy he admitted to it at all. But it's not something to be taken lightly. I still believe that.

  27. Kayla– Clearly, we are debating apples and oranges. Because, as I said.. Things are PROBABLY different in the "Big Apple." I'm used to Hawaii, where, for some reason, the catcalling you describe walking down the street just doesn't happen. Perhaps because everyone is dressed in skimpy clothing all the time as it is the tropics… young women, teenagers, attractive women of all types, and there just isn't cat calling from men. Local men are taught to be respectful to women, and they generally are. It's not the same as the Mainland. So this whole thing could be cultural.

    I also agree with all of you that a woman CAN and should be able to go to a bar alone without getting bothered, but we live in the real world, folks, and we all know that guys go to bars to hit on women, because a bar is a "safe" and socially acceptable place to do so. I didn't make up the reality of that… it is simply the truth.

  28. I totally agree with you Stephanie, right on. There are waaay more ways to cheat than just the "physical" aspect of it.

  29. the thing is, what's wrong with a man coming up to you and hitting on you? walking alone late late at night is one of those situations that feels much more dangerous for women than men, one of those "real world" issues where gender may dictate my behavior, and it shouldn't, but sadly sometimes it does. at the place i work, we have an obscene caller who likes to scare women, and it stinks that we may want to start only hiring men for the dark and lonley closing shift when you work alone and the streets are emptier. so sometimes things are different for women, because the possible bad secnario is being a victem of a violent crime. but going to a bar? so you get hit on. so what? people hitting on other people is normal, not abberant behavior, and not even really annoying. you say "i have a husband/boyfreind/girlfriend whatever" and you go back to your drink. it's not horrible that people are sexual and want to meet other people, and sometimes talk to them in order to do so-it's not something to avoid, like getting your purse snatched. i mean, when i was single, sometimes i wanted to be hit on. being bothered, him not going away after you say you're not interested, being aggressively persistent, now that's a whole other story, but that can happen anywhere. basically, some men don't think women are people, or that thier opinios matter, and those you can run into anywhere.

  30. Kris in Hawaii, I'm sorry to pick on you but come on what kind of statement is this? "I guess I found myself wondering why you're in a bar by yourself after becoming engaged."
    Are you kidding? This statement is wrong on so many levels. Why shouldn't she go to a bar? I've read all of your responses and I still don't get it. Is the goal to find a fiancé and then never go out again? Or that an engaged or married woman is expecting to get hit on when she goes out.
    Should she only go out when her fiancé or husband wants to go to Applebee's?

  31. Stephanie why do these women that date married men make you feel sick? You should feel pity for a person that they carry themselves in such low regard and that they would accept so little from another human being. They're a complete red herring and as you've said they could be anyone really as long as they're not the spouse. They have no allegiences to someones wife. They are not the betrayer. They didn't stand with you and take a vow. He did.

  32. I agree with uberswell..what's the big deal with getting hit on? Who cares? people often go to bars to meet people. It happens. In most cases it is harmless. Sometimes it isn't.

    But that's life and there's absolutely NOTHING you can do to control it. People make choices. Every day. Every hour. Life is unpredictable. Roll with it.

  33. Steph,
    I loved what you said a woman alone in a bar is NOT asking for it! I travel a lot for work usually alone, too. So many times I've been in the hotel restaruant/lounge grabbing a bite to eat and have had these slimeballs slide up and think just because they buy me a drink I'm all up for a romp in their room! We're considered teases if we accept the drink or a bitch if we deny it! I've resorted to room service! It may be a little more expensive, but that's what my expense account is for, right??

  34. I have to agree, somewhat, with Kris. It's not sexist to point out that the world is sexist. A woman should be able to go to a bar alone and not get hit on, but it is somewhat unrealistic to assume that she won't. Hopefully it will change, but that's just the world we live in. I should be able to ride the subway with a wad of money hanging out of my back pocket without anyone stealing it – we can all agree that stealing is unconditionally wrong – but it is unrealistic to think that no one will.

    Where I disagree with Kris is the impression he leaves that engaged or married people should not go to a bar alone. Go wherever you want, but have realistic expectations about what happens there.

    When I'm in a bar I find that many more women talk to me now that I wear a wedding ring than they did when I was single. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm not a threat, that the goal is just chit chat, and not an exchange of phone numbers or a ride home.

  35. Mia– because in most cases, not all, bars are singles scenes. They just are. And sure, she should feel free to go to bars if she choses, married, engaged or whatever. But then she shouldn't be surprised when a drunk guy approaches her and makes creepy small talk like that one did ("tight and young")and feel free to touch her? shiver. Personally, I'd rather go to a nice bistro or cafe for a meal alone (Applebees? Give me a break) as that sort of crude approach would make me plain nauseous and not want to eat at all, no matter how good the food. I can't tell from her post, did she know the man, or was this a stranger?

    This was a past tense post, I know. But I think once the twins are born, she might not have the time or inclination for bars any more. In fact, Applebees might not be such a bad choice after all.

  36. A– I am NOT a "he,"– I've been a "she" all my life…;)

    And I never said someone married or engaged should not go to a bar alone. I never said that. I've done it. In fact I agree 100% with your statement:

    "Go wherever you want, but have realistic expectations about what happens there."

  37. This comment string has really surprised me. I can't believe anyone would criticise a woman for going to a bar alone when she is engaged. Your social life does not end when you commit yourself to a relationship. If women were to avoid every situation in which they were likely to be hit on once they were engaged or married, most women would never be able to leave the house. Who cares if a man hits on you? As long as you don't cross any lines, no harm is done. I can't imagine how sad and restricted my life would be if I followed those rules. And I am in a very happy and committed relationship with a very healthy and independent social life to boot.

  38. Just wanted to let you know I read your book and made my sisters and friends read it too.

    I also wanted your advice on what kind of camera to buy for a beginner. I'm going to take a class and will use it for fun and also to submit photos to go along with articles I write.


  39. your comments have really hit home lately…My ex recently married the "other woman" whom he met when she was 24 or so and he was 39. At the time, (while he was out looking to meet someone else) i was home taking care of my 3 year old daughter and 5 year old son. I have no respect for a girl who gets involved with a man who has two young children! Total housewrecker! If it was me at that time in my life, i would run the other way if i new there was a family involved. But like you mentioned, women don't care either way!


  40. This post is very intriquing, especially so because of your comment war.

    I found men did NOT notice my lovely engagement ring unless it was firmly pointed out to them, verbally. Men apparently do not have the same guidelines as women, checking out the ring finger and the like.

    Then again, maybe some of them (him?) did notice the ring and thought he might have some safe flirtacious fun with you? A fun time with a pretty taken woman?

    Still, coincedentally so, I used to wear a lovely ring from an ex boyfriend on the wedding finger. To say I was taken I suppose. It looked impressive enough to be a wedding/engagement ring by anyones standards. I am now cursing myself for wearing it even when our relationship was in the toilet and on a 'break'. Not because any guy would have noticed but because he was so not worthy!

  41. Pardon me for saying so but men who speak that way are gay men or females creating their own dialogue in their heads. Is this the kind of dialogue you are writing for your NBC pilot because if so….oy.
    While I totally think a woman can and should venture out on her own without fear of reprisal, any man who either touched me without invitation or called me "young and tight" would have been wearing my drink.

  42. wrt to the whole going to a bar and getting hit on debate–there's being hit on and there's responding to being hit on. Two different things. And while you can't stop someone from approaching you (and I think the notion of having to stay away because you're married, engaged or in a relationship is completely ridiculous) how you respond is totally within your control.

  43. thank you for this — what an interesting post that has sparked some true emotions from readers. sometimes i feel sick over guilt when i realize how i was excited by another man's compliments, his "hey gorgeous". it's all so shallow, why do i/we constantly need the reassurance? as a young, married woman i've definitely been hit upon many times and have an ongoing flirtation with an older, married man. are we really both that bored? it's disgusting, even to me.

  44. The bar scene you describe reminds me of much of the dialogue in the book — the concept is good, but the dialogue is just too contrived to believe. Who talks like this???

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