When you're single and you meet someone of the appropriate age and gender there's a kind of dance you do.
You smile, you flirt, you ask questions and listen patiently in a friendly, non-committal/unneedy sort of way. You let the conversation develop, sometimes helping it along. You laugh at the right jokes, you fire back witty (but not to witty) remarks, your eyes take on a extra little sparkle and then, it happens. The 'P' Bomb.
"Oh yes, my Partner is doing something similar for their PhD"
"My Partner's brother is really into motorcycles"
"My Partner and I recently went to Europe"
Or as it sounds in your head "My partner" followed by sound of static. You smile politely, maintain the friendly facade, make your excuses and quietly and quickly wander off – never to be seen from again.
It may seem callous and unfair, but when you're single you really do have better things to do than spend an excessive amount of time barking up the wrong tree. And as irritating as the 'P' Bomb is, I would argue that it is a social responsibility for all those in relationships to drop it. Because there is nothing more inpolite than a delayed or ill-timed 'P' Bomb.
Truth be told that in the absence of a wedding ring, it is fairly easy for single folk to go from an enjoyable conversation to a number swap or even a bed hop. We move swiftly. So in this rather crazy world of ours an early, yet delicate 'P' Bomb is absolutely vital. No one likes spending an hour or two flirting with someone only to be introduced to their fiancé as they arrive to pick them up. Nor does one like to being told of a spouse after having slept with someone.
And worse than those, are the overly agressive 'P' Bombs. You know the ones – they're of the accusatory "I have a girlfriend, I'm not going to f*** you" variety. These statemeants are at once overly presumptious and overly paranoid. But in many ways, these particular 'P' Bombs are the most useful – there is nothing quite so unattractive as being sworn at by someone you've just met and were just being polite to. These are the sorts of encounters that leave you both baffled that someone is actually dating this person, but also relieved – as you will never have to.
Ultimately, while both annoying to hear and annoying to drop – the 'P' Bomb is a fundamental necesity in the modern world. Although at this stage, I'd like to think that us single folk still reserve the right to complain dramatically and publically via social media whenever it is dropped. There's gotta be some perks to being on the receiving end, right?