Tammy is a 27-year-old civil servant. She says “My style is ‘tailored’ for work, but ‘old hippie’ for leisure.” Tammy says “I’m informative, inquisitive, and fastidious — or annoying — about some things, and lazy about others.” Tammy loves to have dinner parties, and eat out with friends. She looks for “compatibility, with enough differences to make it interesting” and says, “I’m no longer single, but when I was, I found dating challenging and unpredictable.”
I met Joju through a mutual friend, who recommended him highly. We talked on the phone and I felt neutral about him. The conversations were a bit awkward, but not unpleasant. I’m just not a phone person, andJoju tended to repeat himself — he told me the same things about the same vacation, and the same interests, several times. I decided that this was due to nervousness. I was apprehensive, too. I wondered what else, besides nerves, we might have in common. When Joju asked me to dinner, I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no.
I had suggested my favourite restaurant, an upscale bistro, but on the afternoon of our date, Joju surprised me by calling me at work to say he’d changed his mind. He was in an “upbeat” mood, and wanted to eat somewhere with a more “lively” atmosphere than the restaurant we’d agreed on. I thought that might be code for “cheaper.” A friend later informed me that this change of plan is what’s called a “bait and switch.” That night we met at a crowded, noisy Italian restaurant that seemed to be more for foreigners than romantic dates.
Joju was decent-looking, and we were about the same height. There was no lightning-bolt moment, but I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was relieved that he wasn’t some superlative-looking guy that would make me feel self-conscious about my own appearance.
Our table was wobbly to the point where I had to reach out to steady my water glass repeatedly. It was also placed in the middle of the room, under a bright light. When the waiter came, Joju presumptively ordered for me, and looked surprised when I interjected to order my own choice of wine and entrée. He nodded and smiled at me broadly, almost paternally, as if to show his tolerance for me.
We sat down and proceeded to have a very one-sided conversation. I had to strain to hear him over the crowd. He wasn’t very interested in hearing about my life or career, but he spent almost an hour telling me about himself. It seemed very self-centred, but at least it solved the problem of what to talk about. I eventually gave up on trying to hear him and settled into a routine of nodding my head at appropriate intervals.
When the bill came, he put on a pair of glasses and studied it closely. He announced that I owed more than him because of the wine I’d ordered. I’m a feminist, I reminded myself, of course I should be expected to pay half the bill. But, in regard to the evening being, if only theoretically, the beginning of a romance, it was off-putting. “Let’s just split this” would have been much more acceptable than his precise approach. He didn’t include a tip in his calculations.
The worst was yet to come. Outside of the restaurant, he grabbed my hand and tried to swing my arms around. It seemed we were liberated enough to split the bill, but not for him to treat me like an adult woman. Like a teenager, I hoped not to be seen, or to run into anybody I knew. At my car, he tried to kiss me. When I turned away, he probably interpreted it as modesty, and undeterred, made a suggestion for our “next date” — what nerve!
Culled from https://www.thestar.com/life/2016/07/09/dating-diaries-we-were-liberated-enough-to-split-the-bill-but-not-for-him-to-treat-me-like-an-adult.html