I once told my mother about a girl I had a crush on. At the time, I think I was about 16, and I had so much acne that if I fell asleep at a library, when I woke up, a blind guy would be trying to read my face.
“Just go for her,” my mother said.
“It’s not that simple,” I said, while filling out my order form for 25 crates of Noxzema. “She’s got a boyfriend.”“Well, don’t do anything differently. Act like she doesn’t. That’s how I got your father.” She then walked out of the room, leaving my pasty teenage complexion an extra shade of white as I actually contemplated my mother dating.
I’ve since related this story as an example of how hitting on someone with a significant other isn’t always a terrible thing. Hey, if they’re not married or serious, go for it. However, if you’re considering trying to get a guy who has a girlfriend, there are a few things you should know.
First, I’ll admit guys will hit on anything. I once observed one of my friends hitting on a street sign. Granted, he was drunk, but it did not matter to him that he was hitting on an inanimate object, or that the street sign was a little out of his league. Men do have standards, but when they’re single, they’ll hit on a woman with a boyfriend. They’ll hit on nuns. Very occasionally, they’ll hit on nuns with boyfriends.
I’m not going to defame my own kind, but women can be better at subtlety, and you should use this to your advantage.
I’m a big anti-cheating guy, so if a woman hit on me while I had a girlfriend, I’d be flattered. If she offered to go home with me or tried to kiss me or something like that, milk would shoot out of my nose and I’d run for the hills. (I have an odd fight-or-flight mechanism.) Subtlety is your friend. We’ll pick up on the signals. If a guy is interested, wait for him to honorably break up with his girlfriend before the two of you start dating. Frankly, this is just good manners.
It should go without saying that it’s bad form to hit on a guy while his girlfriend is actually there, or even if she’s in the same town. Men have a well-honed sense of panic that kicks in when someone’s hitting on them while their girlfriends are in the same ZIP code. We know that women can read us, so unless you’re hitting on a really shady guy, you’ll scare him off as he runs home to call his girl and tell the story of the Evil Homewrecking Woman.
One last thing: If you do snag a guy away from his girlfriend, be wary. The good news is that, despite the popular perception, most of us men tend to be loyal once we’re in a committed relationship. But know that if it happened once, it can happen again.