Not long ago, I was at a “networking event” with some people I know in various professional capacities. The post-business-drinks-and-music part was held at a fancy bar-lounge. There, I spotted a married guy I know talking to a hot Mediterranean-looking girl. Naturally, it wasn’t long before he gathered his things and left the bar. I didn’t hesitate for one-crumb-of-a-second, and subtly swooped in to take his place. I wasn’t overtly hitting on the girl, but her attractiveness was the only reason I was talking to her.

Early in the conversation, the dialog took a weird turn:

Tuthmosis: So, how do you know him [my married friend] anyway?

Girl: My boyfriend is Canadian.

Tuthmosis: OK, it was good knowing you. [smiling politely, waving, and starting to walk away]

Girl: What? What do you mean?

Tuthmosis: You used the magic word. You were giving me a cue.

Girl: Yeah, but… [stammering]. Well, you didn’t have to make things awkward.

Tuthmosis: I could tell you the same thing.

I said all of this with a smile on my face, but she knew I was being more serious than joking. The conversation pretty much ended there, but I quickly learned that this girl was going around the room and complaining to anyone who would listen about what I’d “done to [her].” Several people asked me about it throughout the night, much to my own mirth.

I explained.

This girl made things awkward first, for me, by forcefully and transparently inserting her boyfriend into the conversation. It was obvious that that she was trying to prevent me from hitting on her, even though I’d made no obvious overtures. I merely bounced her awkwardness back at her—apparently to her great discomfort.

So, let’s see if I have this straight: a man is somehow supposed to ‘play it cool’ when a girl eliminates the possibility of a romantic connection? Look around. There are at least a dozen cute, stylish, single chicks here. Yet, I’m supposed to continue to regale this girl with my stories, make her laugh with my jokes, and lavish her with validation, despite the confirmed fact that I have zero chance of getting with her? She can use the social weapon of selectively withdrawing from part of the conversation, but I can’t?

I was surrounded by girls the rest of the night. I became famous in that room.