I love Grace Potter. I turned the volume up and sang along rocking the same old streets in a new bright car, new grey dress, same old boots. New restaurant, new dinner company. In a paraphrase of The Cure “It’s Friday, I’m not in love.”
On first dates, I have a strict rule that I drive myself. There are a few wonderful reasons for this. On top of the fact that I’ve got a dizzying schedule, it provides me with much needed escape routes and a mobile method of travel tunes for recovery. Dull conversations mixed with Midwestern Mock Up Mexican make Laura a bored, exhausted girl who just wasted her push up bra. You know what I mean?
Don’t get me wrong. He was perfectly charming. Opened doors, gave compliments, let me bat my eyes….the whole bit. Rolled up button down sleeves gave way to hint of tattoos and I lost my mind between ink, straight teeth and pop culture filled banter. Ovaries go boom! We all know how charmed this particular lady is by nerdom don’t we?
He was perfectly kind and funny and then the check came and just as I thought he’d reach for my hand he said “So, shall we go Dutch or do you want to take it?” Record scream. Stop. Rewind. What!? He must have seen my befuddlement as he explained. “Girl works hard. Drives herself. Kept sober. Glasses on. Only laughed at my good jokes. I’ve read your blog, love. Feminist, right? I don’t want to step on your toes baby, but, Feminists make shit housewives.”
I didn’t play it cool. I didn’t pay the check. I didn’t walk out. I didn’t even throw my drink in style of every classy soap opera diva (though, my my I wanted to!) Instead, I started to ask questions. I sat down, ordered us another drink and focused. Tell me about how your heart broke, sir.
Being the Bible College graduate that he was I knew the rhetoric, as I had spent four years having it brewed into my coffee. I was always aware that there was something in the water. I had had plenty may of the men I knew had shut down my offers to pick up the tab, or open my own door out of the kindness of my heart because I was a woman and they were men and big strong men were the only ones allowed to do anything nice.
He smiled and gave me this glorious speech about how precious women are and how it’s only fair to treat them like precious little petals of perfection and cared for and that was all well and good but, here’s my problem…why do men use my ability to care for myself as reason to terrible dates!? I mean really. It’s not that I can’t pay for my own meal. I can and do gladly but, if you call me up and want to take me out the planning, preparations and payment are your deal. That’s how it works. If I had called you, we’d be having and entirely different conversation. I promise!
There’s so much more to supporting Feminism than “allowing” a woman to pay for food or coffee or drive a car she paid for with her own well worked hours, Christians. There’s so much more than forcing yourself between her and a doorway or walking on the street side of the sidewalk. It’s giving her moments of weary, it’s understanding how hard she works to fight glass ceilings. Give her the night off once in a while? Understand that gestures should come from warmth and kindness and not proving points.
I kissed his hand, thanked him for the dinner and walked out on the check. It was that simple. Know that you are worth so much more than being put on a pedestal. But, that doesn’t mean you’re not worth being treasured.