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Friday, May 9, 2008

Going Halfsies

As I've written in the past, I always pay on the first date. In fact, I always pay during the courting process - you know, the part where I'm trying to impress the woman enough so she'll want to see me naked. So when I went on date #3 with today's blog specimen, I had every intention of paying. I asked her out, I picked the place, and I actually liked I was paying. But then the check came, and she grabbed it before I could.

"I insist," she said.

"Please. It's my pleasure," I responded.

"You paid the first two dates. Let me get this one."

I took the check holder from her. "I asked you out, I picked the place, (and I want you to want to see me naked)," I said and thought.

"Come on. Let me," she persisted, trying to pull the check holder like we were playing tug of war.

I grabbed her hand, smiled devilishly, and said, "Next time. I promise."

"No!," she said, as she forcefully yanked the check over to her side.

No to next time, or no to me paying?, I thought. Was she fighting so hard because she wanted to make it clear she wasn't interested, or did she want to pay because she actually wanted to treat me? The back and forth started to make me uncomfortable, and the couple sitting next to us had heard enough of our conversation. I had to give up.

"Okay. Thank you. But I'm definitely treating next time....How do you feel about Gray's Papaya," I said, trying to get at least a smirk, and a fourth date.

But she zoned me out. She was completely focused on the check. In fact, she looked shocked. I knew it wasn't gonna be cheap, but her's was the look of an angry old lady being charged twenty cents too much for something at the corner grocery store. As she studiously examined every item on the bill, I was expecting her to blurt out: "$1.49 a pound for apples?! For $1.49 I don't need them. Some nerve these Koreans have!"

Instead, she looked up at me, and said, "Why don't we split it?"

I put an end to the insanity right then and there. I placed my American Express card in the check holder, and handed it to the waiter. But not before I caught a glimpse of the total. It was $68.42.

I wondered what her limit was when it came to picking up the check, and how much she thought dinner for two at a Manhattan restaurant costs? There were no arches in the front, or a "Try Our Popcorn Chicken" sign on the building. Was she only willing to pay, if the bill was like $8? I gladly signed the credit card receipt when it was handed to me because like I said - I asked her out, I picked the place...only now I didn't know how much I liked her. Now lest you think she couldn't afford it, keep in mind that this chick owns her own apartment in the city, and has been working at the prestigious law firm of Jew, Jew, Token Wasp, and Jew for at least seven years. She graduated from NYU law school, a school from which I was rejected, and started making six figures right after graduation. I'm not a lawyer, but I have friends who live that fancy law firm life, and I know what they make. $68.42 is what they bill for farting in the direction of a client...and that's only if it doesn't smell. Now this chick wanted to go halfsies with me?

Maybe she's in debt, and lives way beyond her means, but if that's the case, what's another $68.42 to add to the heap, especially after she was so insistent on paying? Her Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, or whatever the hell it was handbag alone cost 20 times that amount. Was she just selfish, or was I not worth $68.42 in her eyes? The question troubled me as I walked her back to her luxury building. I got my answer when I asked her out again, and she began to hem and haw.

I'll now have a charge on next month's Amex statement for $68.42 (plus tip), and a reminder that there's yet another woman out there who doesn't want to see me naked.