Give them head! Let them eat cake! I don’t know! Listen … I could give you a contrived answer like “Politely decline, yet smile brilliantly” or “Tell him your boyfriend wouldn’t very much appreciate that,” but what is this, a cotillion guide from 1950? The reality is, that when you’re in that situation, it’s much harder to avoid giving your number to someone than a sex columnist you earnestly wrote to (me) would like to admit.

Plus, people that ask you for your number are usually also people who are well-versed in foiling your excuses not to give it out. For example, if your response to the number question is, “I have a boyfriend,” most jabronis today will be like, “Yeah? Where’s he now?” Those jabronis think of everything. 

I am so … so very bad at evading number giving that all I can do is tell you some excuses I’ve made up to get around it, and some bodily jerkings and flailings I’ve exhibited to make someone retrac their demand. These include, but are not limited to: “This sounds crazy, but I’m actually getting on a plane to Borneo tomorrow morning to study the androgen upregulation in homogenized wind cave bats and I’ll be gone for 40 years.” What can you say to that other than “Oh, nice?” Exactly.

Another one: “That’s a spicy meat-a-ball!” Self-explanatory.

And lastly, “We just met, and this is crazy, I’m super fertile, I have a baby.” Yeah. Also, I find dragging one leg while walking or grabbing at things in the air that aren’t there to be effective deterrents. Although many men and women find this behavior endearingly quirky in a wacky Zooey Deschanel kind of way, it’ll at least make them second guess their desire to know you.

The bottom line is that this is a case-by-case kind of thing, and it’s hard to dole out standardized advice. If all else fails, the fake getting a phone call during the number exchange, then run away, or tell them you’re not really attracted to their gender. You could be mature about it, but life is short and the goal is to never see that person again. So do what feels right.