I always wear my engagement and wedding rings. Men still don't believe I'm married.

Cropped hand of woman using mobile phone at bar counter
The Good Brigade/Getty Images
  • I went out without my husband to a bar, and a man asked to buy me a drink.

  • I explained I was married and he insisted that he didn't believe that was true despite my rings.

  • When my husband showed up to pick me up, I wanted to tell the man "I told you so."

"I'll have a gin and tonic," I'd told the bartender after taking the last seat at the bar. A man next to me was in a blue suit and multi-colored tie. He looked up at me, draping my coat across the chair, and said, "Hi."

"Hey," I responded. I sat down and texted my husband, Jon, that I'd made it to the jazz club. I wore a black and white polka dot dress and red flats. I was happy to support a friend performing with her swing band. As I sipped my drink, the music flowed, and I relaxed.

"Excuse me," the man said, turning his body to me. "Can I buy you the next one?"

I looked at him, confused. Then I realized he didn't know my status.

"Oh, no thanks, I'm waiting for my husband," I disclosed — raising my left hand with wedding and engagement rings.

"Well, uh, I don't see your husband here," he said, with a smile.

He kept insisting

I almost laughed and thought better of it.

"He's picking me up soon," I replied, wondering if it was a joke.

There was no response, so I figured that was the end of it. At least I hadn't lost my mojo. It had been years since a stranger offered to buy me alcohol on a Friday night. Coffee from a work colleague was more likely. The crowd grew larger, and people came and went from the bar. I hummed along to a song I loved. Later, when my tongue hit the ice in my glass, I heard him say,

"I don't think you're married, or your husband isn't coming."

Now, I was annoyed. That wasn't funny. I was about to tell him off, but I didn't care about this person. I did think about Jon. Where was he? Maybe his gig went long. Drum cases and gear could be a 20-minute load out. My brain snapped back to the bar.

"Hold on, what?" I blurted out and turned around. Chomping on an ice cube, I couldn't decide If I was offended or amused.

I was flattered but also confused

On one hand, I was flattered. I had been married for over a dozen years and was not a size eight anymore. I'm not going to lie and say it didn't make me feel more confident and younger. Guilt seeped in as well. Did I give off a single vibe?

When I entered the club, my eyes scanned the bar, hoping to run into friends. I mulled over every action and image afterward; nothing stood out.

Maybe he'd heard women wear rings to discourage unwanted attention or test relationships.

I also considered the women who might not feel as contemplative. Too often, persistent men are no joke. Women alone are vulnerable anywhere. But rather than prove anything now, I let him buy me that drink. We chatted about the band and their tune selections. Rick mentioned he was divorced and had a son who played tenor sax and moved to California. He missed him terribly. We both agreed Sara Vaughn was underappreciated and Nina Simone was the top.

Then, he apologized for not knowing my relationship status and just "took a shot." I just nodded.

When my husband texted that he was on the road, I replied, "At the bar." Rick and I sat in silence, enjoying the band's last set. I saw Jon come in through the door, and his eyes found mine. He walked straight over and did not look anywhere other than my empty glass on the bar. Rick looked up at him.

"Oh, hey man, is this your lady? I was just keeping her company," he offered.

Jon barely acknowledged him. I gave Rick my best I told you so raised eyebrow. He held up his drink for us and then began a conversation with the bartender.

"You ready to go home?" Jon asked, taking my coat.

"Definitely," I said, and I meant it.

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