I’m single. But if anyone asks, I DEFINITELY have a boyfriend.

I’m single, and actually pretty happy about that these days. Which is why whenever anyone asks me if I have a boyfriend, I say yes.

You might think this is strange. I’m not a pathological liar, but I’ve realized that telling people that I’m single causes one of a few undesired reactions.

If a girl asks if I’m single and I say yes, I’m met with pitying looks (because apparently I’m the last single girl on the planet), then the girl either tells me she knows the perfect guy for me (even if she just met me and knows NOTHING about me), or else she tells me to hang in there because Mr. Right is just around the corner.

After I’m done throwing up, it’s pretty clear that I don’t want to be friends with this girl.

If a guy asks me if I’m single and I say yes, I’m immediately claimed as his future girlfriend, despite any protests that I may make explaining that I don’t WANT to go out with him. Somewhere along the line guys decided that saying no is the equivalent of playing hard to get, and it starts to feel like I’m getting date raped into going out with them. No means no.

And the problem is that if I say no, guys ask why I won’t go out with them. I hate that. I don’t want to hurt your feelings by telling you that you’re not cute or that it’s because you didn’t go to college and drive a pickup truck with NRA and George W. Bush stickers on it. Actually, if it’s the latter, I probably will tell you that. But you won’t understand what I’m saying. Because you’re an idiot. And I don’t mean because you didn’t go to college.

So it’s easier to lie and say that I have a boyfriend. I’ve been doing this for years, but unfortunately, technology has made this harder to do at times.

Now, when I tell someone that I have a boyfriend, that’s suddenly confirmable on Facebook, where I am listed as single. And yes, I could remove that whole relationship status from my page, but what if Bruce Springsteen is looking? I don’t want HIM to think I’m in a relationship! (Bruce, I’m TOTALLY available! Seriously. I like being single, but you’re the exception. Along with Leonardo DiCaprio and Eric from True Blood. If any of you are checking out my page, trust me, I’m single.)

Unfortunately some men seem to have caught on to the fake boyfriend trick and start asking questions about him to see if he’s real. I’ve NEVER understood this. If a girl says she has a boyfriend, CLEARLY she’s not interested. Do you think she’s going to magically become interested if you can prove she lied? Do you really want to go out with her THAT badly if she’s making up a fake boyfriend to avoid going out with you? Seriously, that’s just sad and pathetic.

Although it may be more sad and pathetic that I play along. I’m like a guy with that. Once I’ve told a lie, I’m going to stick to it until the bitter end. (Which is why I will NEVER tell my dad what happened to my car when I was sixteen and it got that big scrape on the side. Someone must have hit me in a parking lot, dad, I swear.) So my fake boyfriend has a whole history.

For example, his name is Mike. He’s an accountant in DC for some firm that I’m always forgetting the name of. We’ve been dating for almost a year and I think it’s starting to get serious, which is good because I REALLY like him.

Of course, I’ve been using the same fake boyfriend for about eight years now, so sometimes it gets a little fishy why we’re not engaged when guys ask about him much later. When that happens, I explain that we broke up for awhile, but worked things out. I wanted us to move in together, but he wasn’t ready for that, so I broke up with him. But then we ran into each other and he told me how much he missed me, and now things are going much better than before.

Once in awhile, this backfires spectacularly. For example, if you lie to a guy you meet at the gym about having a boyfriend (and yes, I’m speaking from personal experience here), then he sees you out at a bar one night, clearly single, flirting with several guys, and giving your number out, he’s going to catch on. I was accused of cheating on Mike one night when that happened. And nothing scares off the guy you’re talking to faster than some other guy telling him that you have a boyfriend and you denying it.

Another time, I told the boyfriend lie, only to become friends with the guy who had originally been going to ask me out. But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and tell him that Mike wasn’t real, so I had to stage a whole breakup, just so that I could date someone else without my new friend figuring out that I’d lied to him.

So it’s not always worth the hassle, but most of the time, it saves me a lot of annoyance. But whenever I start to tell someone the truth that I’m single, I think of this scene from Ghostbusters and mentally substitute the words “if you have a boyfriend” for “if you’re a god.” Although I’d rather deal with Gozer than a guy who won’t accept that I don’t want to go out with him any day.

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