By Leigh Mazzagetti
I went out on a real date the other night. That’s right. Yah heard me, a real date. Not a “let’s meet for coffee or a drink because I am not sure you are worth committing a whole evening and the price of a meal to yet” date. Not a “why don’t I tell you we should hang out and then text message you from a bar at 11 pm when I am with all my friends and you can come meet us and then I‘ll offer to go home with you after I drain this last pitcher” date. It was an honest to goodness date. We met at a bar over the weekend. He took my number. He called about a day and a half later. He said he would like to take me out to dinner, and he did. Short of sitting on a porch swing and sipping lemonade it was old fashioned. The kind that I thought only happened on Nick at Nite. In fact, I looked it up and according to Wikipedia, the last real date in New York took place somewhere after Hudson’s exploration but before the first major Dutch settlement.
So essentially, this guy did everything right.
Weeeeeeeeell… almost everything.
Let me put it this way: by the end of the night I knew about his career goals, his upcoming move to a new apartment, his various interests, his workout habits, and all about his three brothers, their jobs, apartments, careers, and workout routines. But he didn’t ask a thing about me. He didn’t even ask enough to find out I had a sister living in the city, or that I grew up in New Jersey. And as far as my interests – I could have medalled in shot putting at the last Summer Olympics for all he knew or cared to know.
During the mandatory PDD (post date discussion) with my sister later that night it was suggested that perhaps I hadn’t let him have the chance to ask any questions because I was anxious about lapsing into an uncomfortable silence and in order to prevent such awkwardness had fired questions at him faster than John McGlaughlin on a Sunday morning. But I rejected this conjecture on the grounds that there had been plenty of opportunity for him to reciprocate.
For example, he could have said after finishing a lengthy monologue about his recent stint on the office softball team “And do you play any sports?” Or he could have followed the closing lines of his speech about his favorite bars with “Where do you like to go out?” But these queries did not seem to occur to the lad. And there I was, almost leaping from my seat bursting to tell him about the 5k I had just run in Prospect Park, or about how the little neighborhood bar that I like to go to had recently been lauded in Time Out that very week as one of the hidden gems of the city. “Wow,” I thought as he droned on, “this poor joker doesn’t even realize he is out with such a libations visionary. How sad, that he is so wrapped up in himself and unaware of just how interesting and accomplished I am.”
Guys “not asking” is a complaint I hear from a lot of my friends and thinking it over afterwards I was ready to write it off as a male character flaw. I was disgusted and grew increasingly furious. After all, bras had been burned! Glass ceilings had been shattered! And here I was playing the part of the accommodating little woman. I was “How was your day dear-ing him.” I may as well have thrown on an apron, done my hair in a beehive, and stood next to my seafoam green toaster while offering him coffee and freshly baked cookies from a tray. However, once my anger subsided, my head cleared, and I stopped marching around my apartment singing the “Well Done, Sister Suffragette” song from Mary Poppins, I was not so sure. I was not so sure it was universally male to be so self-engrossed, as much as just plain universal.
Could it be that this little pot was calling his kettle black? Or was I throwing the first stone when someone was living in a glass house? Regardless of the correct adage, the fact is I was barely listening just waiting for him to wrap up so I could talk and talk and talk about what I think is the most interesting subject in the world, me. I was ready to condemn this guy because he did not realize that my minutia was exponentially more fascinating than his. When in reality, it wasn’t. It isn’t. It is just more interesting to me because it’s mine.
But who is to blame? I would be a hypocrite if I condemned my date for his self-absorption. And call me the girl who cried mysogony, but after thinking it over I don’t think the entire male gender is to blame for this bad night (not this one—but I have a list of others here that someone needs to answer for), and I can’t hold society completely responsible this time around (I figure I will give society a pass on this one since I am holding it accountable for poverty, eating disorders, and all of the girls who are featured each week on My Super Sweet Sixteen!). So that really only leaves me, and how can I blame myself for my self-absorption? I can’t do that because then I might be in danger of hurting my self-esteem.
Oh, and as long as we are on the subject of me, I have a few other things I need to tell you about…