I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I was just trying to drink my coffee in peace but my local Starbucks is always so overpacked that it’s not even worth going to anymore. Known as the “best day time pick up spot” in my neighborhood as told by Yelp reviews, it has become increasingly more annoying finding a spot not directly situated next to the guy who screams into his phone, the loud eastern europeans who feel the need to yell about world politics, or the yuppies intent on making sure everyone in the place knows just how much they paid for dinner. Unfortunately, the latter makes up about 80% of all seating areas.
So there I was, just trying to relax and drink my damn latte and drown out the noise by listening to Taylor Swift but it just wasn’t working and since they were starting to ruin my song, I took my earbuds out and just went with it. The brunette was complaining about two octaves too loud for such a small environment about how her boyfriend didn’t even pay for drinks that night. Something about him being cheap while the other blonde woman just nodded along in agreement. I paused Taylor to see if she would justify her disdain. I needed to know – was he the one that invited her out? Did he continue to order drinks and just walked away at the end of the evening? No. It turned out that he dropped by her post-work get-together at a local bar just to meet her friends and introduce himself. Apparently, the brunette had been on three dates with him so far and he mentioned that he wanted to introduce himself. Sounds sweet enough, right? That’s why I wondered if he had swooped in, downed everyone’d drinks and then rolled out of there without even offering to pay. Nope. Apparently he didn’t even have a drink. But that didn’t matter. She said, “He should have paid for our drinks anyway. I mean, what kind of man is he?”
Now this isn’t about the ridiculousness of gender roles. Because it’s 2015, and if you “expect” someone to purchase your goods simply because you have a vagina and the person with the wallet has a penis, well honey, you’re part of the problem. Yes, I am fully aware that people have expectations of our significant others, but what this is about is entitlement. I do nice things for people if I can and when I can. If I can’t, my “manhood” shouldn’t be subject to semi-public ridicule.
The way some women see the expectation of men to buy them drinks is a similar mentality to the expectation some men have for walking in the door and expecting the woman having the dinner ready. Now if you have agreed to that relationship dynamic and it works for you, hey, cool. But I’m sure poor Ryan didn’t have that talk with the brunette otherwise they wouldn’t have spent a solid 10 minutes clowning him and debating whether or not she should see him again.
I have washed a woman’s dirty panties. I have done her dishes. I have scrubbed her shower for hours. I have rode a bicycle eight miles in the winter to bring her dinner. Not because I needed a pat on the back, not because I knew I could use it to write about years later, and certainly not because I felt obligated – I did those things because I cared about their happiness. I wanted to see the smile on their face when they walked through the door. That was my payment. And yeah, I know that sounds corny as hell but so what. That’s what love is. Finding happiness in the unconventional areas of the personality of the one you love. The smirk, her messy morning hair, her crying outbursts at commercials. We find happiness in the little things. And it is the little things that truly make up a person’s character.
But where love isn’t found are in obligations. It is in the desire to put a smile on the face of the person you love. It isn’t found in buying drinks for a bunch of strangers but in the desire to turn those strangers into friends. It is the desire to meet your friends. The desire to go out of your way to show that you see her as an investment. That she is worth the effort. And maybe I misunderstood the entire conversation, but what I didn’t misunderstand was the air of entitlement that spewed from her mouth. And the best way to ruin the sentimentality of love is by loading it down with obligations.
I left that table wanting to tell that women that Ryan was clearly not compatible with her expectations and that she would be better off by just throwing him back. For someone else to come along and pick up. Because his efforts would be appreciated so much more by someone so much better. But I didn’t. I simply walked out the door and back on to Clark Street wishing someone would have told me that years ago.