Boston's a great walking city; whether it's socializing, shopping, studying, or just getting outside, I spend a lot of time on the sidewalk, and so do lots of my neighbors. When I go out alone, people talk to me. Friends say hi, tourists ask for directions, street people ask for money, shop clerks say "can I help you?", cellphone salesmen make obnoxious pitches, clipboard people ask for signatures and donations, and people randomly comment on the weather and whatnot.
When I go out with a guy... friends say hi. Sometimes. Everything else goes through the guy. It doesn't matter who the guy is--a guy my age looks like my boyfriend, an older guy looks like my dad, and a guy with a group looks like the leader. Anyone with a question to ask goes to him.
Maybe it's just me. I do have a meek side. Sometimes I let the other person do the talking when I'm with female friends too. I went back and forth over whether this post was a little too paranoid, and it might be.
But every time a man and I walk up to a counter together and hear "can I help you, sir?", it serves as a very subtle, polite little reminder that I've been transformed from "a person" to "a person and the girl with him."