He’ll like you. You’re a helluva piece of furniture – Charleton Heston, Soylent Green
I think I am, unbeknownst to me, giving off some kind of pheromone that is attracting the North American/Northern European Preppy Manchild. (The Europeans wouldn’t use the word “preppy,” but whatever they are is roughly the same thing, and, being American, my limited Northeastern United States vocabulary gives me only that term to describe it.)
So. I went out on this blind date last night. Taylor met me at my building, and my doorman, understanding exactly what was going on upon his arrival, would barely let him in the lobby. I don’t want to sound like any more of a jerk than I already do, so I will refrain from providing a physical description. Suffice it to say, it would’ve been impossible not to recognise him: white shirt; blue blazer; patterned tie. The schoolboy uniform of preppies.
We walked to dinner.
By the time we hit the mid-Seventies, he had run through my educational and employment history, and had clucked approvingly on the quality of the schools I had attended. We proceeded to dinner, at which point, he enquired about the country club to which my parents belonged; revealed that he was divorced; and asked me if I knew the brand of his tie (I did, in fact, know the brand and it took everything within my power not to roll my eyes).
You know this. That’s great! I have all their stuff. It’s all I wear. (He slipped off his blazer and pointed to the embroidered whale on his pocket, at which point, I suppressed a groan.)
Yes. I, um, like the sand dollars?
Nice! You can see it! You wear contacts? I wear contacts.
Um. Yes. -4.50 in each eye?
Was it nerves or was it a lack of anything else to discuss that led us to meander down the memory lane of his college drinking memories? I don’t know. Was it a kind of peacock display that meant that everything came with a pricetag and numbers? Not sure. I was raised not to discuss things in that manner. I joke; I mock myself; I talk about the silver and the crystal and the expensive candles…but for the most part, those kinds of hard, numbers-based conversations are reserved for very private discussions, with people I trust.
But with a stranger, over dinner?
The thing is this: I get sick of talking about golf games, and how, if we’re going to keep dating, I have to tolerate golf Saturdays and Sundays and weekenders. (Though there are some exceptions to that – I don’t like being told what I have to do.) I tire of talking about the house on the Cape, or the ski house, or the beach house in godknowswhere. I bore of the assumption that I am just some lawyer, doing just paper-pushing until I find a husband.
I suppose that there was a time in my life when I was willing to be an idea, or an ideal. Where I wanted a husband who would prattle on about renovations to his Park Avenue apartment, or where his parents summered (verb). But I value myself more now; I know that what I do personally and professionally is worthy of being someone’s partner, not someone’s accoutrement; someone’s accessory or furniture.
This kid was clearly smart, and had a great family, and was hard-working despite having grown up very privileged. But he was, again, a variation on the theme of my ex-husband, and was looking for something that is not me.
Also, as it turned out, he was a cat person.
When I arrived back home at the end of the evening, I apparently had a look of such bewilderment upon my face that my (very sweet, kind, religious) doorman openly guffawed upon seeing me. I had to laugh too. And then I wanted to cry, because now I will have to find a new tailor.