Not sure this story makes a top 5 of horrible dates, but it came up the other night and has been bouncing around in my head since. Sorry for the readers who heard this tale (numerous times) before.
So a few years ago I was set up with my neighbor’s cousin Stew. He was a vegetarian, an architect (or civil engineer, something along those lines) a rugby player, and a young widower. I list all these attributes to illustrate how out of my comfort zone I was, but he was super friendly and quickly put me at ease. It was fun to hang out with him, and it didn’t hurt that he had the most adorable spaniel (Hildy!) that got along nicely with my beloved shihtzu. Hell I even ate a portobello mushroom sandwich for him, and I HATE mushrooms. That is how charming this fellow was.
Weeks quickly passed by (as a football hater I somehow found myself on the sidelines of rugby games, oh my) and things were starting to get more serious. One night we had plans for him to come over after work – I was stopping for Papa Murphy’s (god how I love take and bake) and he was going to bring a bottle of wine. After some joking about what I got on the pizza (I mean come on, I ate mushrooms for him, the least he could do was eat some sausage for me) we popped it in the oven. I got to work opening the bottle of wine while he excused himself to use the bathroom.
For those who have never been over, there is a women’s liberation poster hanging in my bathroom. It basically lays out the catch-22 of being a woman. Most people smile or roll their eyes at it and one guy plainly declared he didn’t like it because it was too pessimistic (uh sorry sir, try being a woman then tell me about it.) Stew emerged from the bathroom clearly bothered and I mistakenly asked if everything was okay. It wasn’t. Turns out that he really couldn’t stand that poster and everything it represented. You know, like the fight for EQUALITY. Now I have a history of dating guys who skew conservative – I am open minded and like banter. I had never actively dated one who downright didn’t feel men and women are equal.
I was completely blown away. How had we managed to get to this point and not had this come up before? Apparently he was silently fuming every time he took a leak at my place? He said he was initially attracted to my feisty ways because they reminded him of his wife, but not being recognized as the head decider caused a lot of problems in his marriage (hmmmmm, you don’t say) and he wanted to avoid that struggle. I was looking forward to a night of couch snuggles, heavy petting, and delicious wine, but instead I was arguing in my kitchen that my ovaries do not make me a second class citizen.
Whenever I am accused of being too passive, whenever I hear celebrities tout their subservient marriages as successful, whenever I hear foreign sports coaches say women belong at home, I think of that night with Stew. In a blink of an eye, all his charming ways and cute smiles vanished. I asked him to leave and enjoyed a very expensive bottle of wine on the couch by myself.