What is the best way to turn a guy down? This was the question up for debate among my friends this past month. The consensus, at least according to a quick Google search, seems to be pulling the old “I have a boyfriend” card, for various reasons. But to be honest, I think they all come up short.

TIME‘s Eliana Dockterman argues that when you want to ditch a man’s advances at a bar, efficiency rules. The best thing to do is lie and tell him you’re in a relationship. According to her, this is the most practical way to wrap up any awkwardness and cut to the chase when you’re not interested.

Dockterman’s “How To” was written to defend the move against feminist Alecia Lynn Eberhardt’s critique. According to Eberhardt, using the boyfriend excuse is anti-woman. “Male privilege is ‘I have a boyfriend’ being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another male-bodied person more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest,” she writes. Eberhardt says this move disempowers women and asserts men should respect a woman’s “no” on its own accord.

Sure, some men are stubborn in their pursuit. Some men might be clueless at reading signs. But Eberhardt and Dockterman both miss the mark here. They fail to see the opportunity such a situation provides to showcase feminine grace and virtue, neither of which require efficiency or misguided anger.

In Eberhardt’s case, one might read a man’s retreat from a woman who has a boyfriend (even a fictitious one) as a demonstration of respect for monogamy. Isn’t that something to be celebrated? He could, in fact… >>READ MORE




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