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.
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.
I can honestly say I have never lied about having a boyfriend. While traveling through South America, I did actually have a boyfriend back home.
However, when I told people about him they almost always said something like “well, he’s not here…”, only further proving that having a boyfriend, imaginary or not, does not seem to keep persistent men away or nosy ladies from asking more questions.
It’s time for girls to get more comfortable with being single. Be proud that you are traveling solo. You planned your trip, paid for it and made it this far- why weaken your character by making up a boyfriend?
If you have one 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 the men
If you’re single and ready to mingle: go for it!
I’m not here to support the Hostel Travel Slut but if you are looking to have some fun, go right ahead. Just be careful. Remember, these guys might 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 make up a boyfriend. You can politely turn down advances. If that doesn’t work, get sassy 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.
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 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.
What are your thoughts on the pseudo-boyfriend white lie?