Being a single girl anywhere can result in seemingly endless questions, but if you are traveling without a male counterpart, the questions and raised eyebrows can really start to get to you. So here’s the big question: Should you just invent a boyfriend?
I think pretty much every female traveler has at least considered this. And our short and long answer is, no.
In many other countries and cultures, single women (especially single traveling women) are a strange and unexpected occurrence.
Sometimes admitting you are single can make you feel like an outcast or, in some cases, much more vulnerable. Inventing a boyfriend might ease your mind and save you an interrogation, but I’m not convinced it will truly make your situation any better.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Invent A Boyfriend
If you say you have a boyfriend, you might be forced to defend that. Nosy and persistent men are often hard to shake off, so your best bet is then to just be more forceful with your boundaries.
When I first started traveling I was so concerned that people would perceive me as a “rude American.” If you feel similarly, let me tell you: this is something you need to drop RIGHT NOW.
It’s time for girls to get more comfortable with having a stronger voice and stronger commands. Be proud that you are traveling solo. You planned your trip, paid for it and made it this far- you don’t need to make up a boyfriend to get out of an uncomfortable conversation. You need to get comfortable ending that conversation.
Embrace Being a Solo Traveler
If you have a boyfriend back home, rave about him and tell those foreign men you are happily taken. If you don’t, don’t make it a label or part of your personality. You are not a “single girl” you are a Solo Traveler Extraordinaire – embrace it.
I must warn you, though, this attitude will not be an easy one to maintain. Men and women alike are going to be all over you with questions, so you need to prepare yourself.
Do you have a boyfriend? Start simple and just tell the truth.
Yes: Smile and tell them that yes, as a matter of fact, you do. He is waiting for you back home and you have no intention of doing anything abroad you wouldn’t do at home. Make it clear you don’t believe in this whole “if he’s not here you’re single” attitude.
No: Tread lightly. Start with just no, don’t offer any extra information.
Dealing with Persistent Men
If you’re single and ready to mingle: go for it!
If you are looking to have some fun, go right ahead. Just be careful. Remember, there are guys out there who get a kick out of how many foreign girls they can bang. They also might be total psychopaths. Just limit the information you give them and be smart about it.
If you are not interested and feeling pressured, just remember that no matter where you are in the world, it’s your choice.
You can be single and uninterested, no need to invent a boyfriend. You can politely turn down advances. If that doesn’t work, get stronger and make yourself a little more clear.
Dealing with the Biddies
No matter where you go, there always seem to be old, grandmother-type characters ready to scold you for being alone. They tend to make you feel inadequate, as if your womanly whiles have failed you and you need to try harder.
Let’s get things straight – There is nothing wrong with you. Maybe you love being single or perhaps you are looking but not willing to enter a relationship just for show. Either way, that’s your choice and you don’t need to invent a boyfriend just to make them feel satisfied.
We’re not in the 50s anymore ladies, you are more than a baby-making machine. Just smile at the old ladies and tell them, as politely as you can, that you haven’t found the right one just yet. Hopefully you find this easier than I do. I don’t get along with the elderly all that well.
If you still choose to invent a boyfriend and have a photo of a male friend handy and spin an elaborate love story for all your interrogators, I won’t judge you, but make sure you are doing it to make things easier on yourself, not just to please other people.