We’re at a coffee shop (not Starbucks, but any of the countless far superior and less racist alternatives) or the bus stop or a grocery store, or anywhere else I happen to be simply existing. You approach and ask my name and I tell you. You ask if I have a man and I tell you “yes” (which may or may not be true. I just want you to go away.) Then comes the inevitable, “so, you can’t have friends?”
I roll my eyes and think about how to answer.
The long answer: Yes, I absolutely can have friends. I am an adult, a sentient being who functions fully independent of any other person. My (possibly non-existent) partner does not determine whether or not I am able to cultivate friendships with men. I simply don’t wish to speak to you.
And more to the point, you don’t want to be my friend. You wouldn’t even know how to be my friend. You see friendship with me as some entry level position that will allow you to “get your foot in the door” until you’re “promoted” to a more-than-friends position. You aren’t interested in building any relationship with me that doesn’t eventually lead to me repaying your efforts with sex.
Because men are socialized to view women as commodities, as things to be acquired, and you aren’t interested in getting to know me, but what you can get from me. You don’t want to hear about my day or partake in any of my interests, except as a means of bringing you closer to your true objective. You don’t respect and to value me as a person separate from any desires you may have. Let’s be honest … you don’t know how to be my friend.
Which brings me to the short answer: No. Just no.
I’m not interested and no we can’t be “friends.”
Leave me alone and let me drink my coffee.