I had a date with Jeremy. He suggested we meet at a place near where he works, off Avenue A. It was one of the first really cold nights of the year (one of the very few, so far) and walking to the bar in the darkness I was a bit frightened. I don’t care how yuppiefied Alphabet City is, it still evokes that terror and admiration that it commanded when it really was the worst neighborhood in Manhattan, not so very long ago at all.
Anyway, it was a nice bar with an exposed brick wall and dim lighting. We sat and drank and talked. Jeremy was personable and intelligent but as he talked I thought, “He reminds me of someone…who?” Then I thought: Amy! I went to college with her. Maybe it was the nose, or the shape of his lips, which were a dark red, like he bit them. But it was hard to feel attracted to someone who reminded me of a girl. I mean, he wasn’t effeminate. And thinking of that, then I noticed who else he reminded me of: Grandpa from The Addams Family! That was definitely the nose. Or do I mean The Munsters? Anyway, gah! I mean, a very youthful looking Grandpa.
But Jeremy really was very easy to talk to and I ended up telling him about temping, and my search for a job with a steady paycheck.
When he asked for the bill he said, “I don’t believe in paying for dates, but I’d like to treat you tonight…”
“Okaaay,” I said. He doesn’t believe in paying for dates? What’s up with that? “You don’t believe in paying for dates?” I asked.
“Well…” he said, and then he went on to say that the last time he had been on a date and offered to pay the woman (I was going to write girl but no, she must be a woman) said, “Why would you want to do that?” which put paid to his offer.
“I would never not let someone pay for me,” I said rather emphatically. “I’m broke.” True. “But also, I don’t know, it’s a date. When you go out on a date you should be prepared to say, ‘This is a date. It’s important, I’m making an effort. I think rituals like paying reinforce the sense that it’s an occasion. It should be.”
I recounted this conversation later to my roommate Jenny, who pointed out that this was a bit self-serving on my part. So it is. Does being a feminist mean I can’t let a guy pay for me? I certainly do appreciate the gesture (and, let’s face it, the savings), and like the sense of formality and solicitousness it suggests. According to Miss Manners, the person who does the asking does the paying. But I don’t really ask guys out, so I never expect to pay. I think a guy should pay on the first date. That being said, I generally offer to contribute my share.
The upshot was that Jeremy paid for me, and then walked me to the corner. He was going to go in for a peck, I think, but I launched myself at him, and there we stood, making out on the corner of Avenue A and 6th Street. I didn’t know if I found him particularly attractive, but it seemed like a good idea. Also, it was freezing and he provided some body heat.Then we said goodbye and I made my way to the train, bemused, with the memory of his lips against my throat.