I'm curious about the dynamic of couples after a cute little lunch incident with Matt yesterday.
We went to Chipotle and ordered burritos. We told them to ring them up together. Back at the office as he's peering into the bag to see which one is mine, Matt rolled his eyes and said, "They labelled our burritos 'his' and 'hers.'" True enough, the foil wrappers were marked with big black letters so we'd know which one was which.
While that doesn't necessarily mean anything about couples, since it was pretty obvious that we were a he and a her and it was a handy way to label them quickly, it made me think about how a guy and a girl out in public together can be perceived. A boy. A girl. Together...why, they must be a couple!
But if the scenario is: A girl. A girl. Together...they're usually considered just friends (unless there's any obviously coupled behaviours like smoochering or hand holdering or something). And girls will often say, "My girlfriend and I went shopping," and no one will think they mean anything but "My female-gendered friend and I..." whereas if a boy says "My girlfriend and I..." it means they're a couple.
Guys seem to travel in packs more so than in pairs. They don't say, "My boyfriend and I went bowling..." they just say, "Mike/Bob/Fred and I..." A few weeks ago, a guy introduced me to his boyfriend by saying, "This is my partner." That always makes me wonder when they're opening up their practice because it doesn't sound very coupled. It sounds clinical and business-like.
The guy at the sandwich shop often teases me and Matt when we go in, telling Matt he should be driving us (but of course, even when Matt offers I won't let him drive us anywhere) or buying my lunch for me. One time the sandwich guy said something that made it sound positively as though Matt and I were dating and I just laughed. As we walked out I asked Matt why he hadn't corrected the guy. Matt said, "Well, why didn't you?" I couldn't think of a good reason other than, it's nice to be thought of as part of a couple even if it's just one that hasn't got its own label other than "friends."