The Corporate LawyerPosted: August 18, 2011
Last night I had drinks with Paul, a man with a flesh-toned beard (it was too pale to spot in his pictures). Paul’s profile attracted me because: a) it stated that he was 6’3 and b) included an in-depth declaration about his love and frequency of travel. He even went so far as to specify his passport as the number one thing he could not live without. I’m a lady who loves adventure; I indulged myself, imagining Paul and me trekking through Patagonia, cheering each other along as I stared up into his adoring eyes (a good eight inches above my own). Oh the escapades ahead of us…
Unfortunately he is not a traveler, not even a vacationer, it would be a stretch to call him a weekender. He is a corporate lawyer that measures in at around 5’10. I’m aware that it’s rude and close-minded to judge someone based on his or her job but Paul felt no qualms about stereotyping me so I will pay him the same respect.
Prior to our face-to-face interaction Paul and I exchanged emails back and forth to get acquainted. His first question to me was, “What do you do for work?” I understand that what someone does is a big part of who they are but I don’t think it should define them. I danced around the question because my answer felt too long and drawn out for an introductory email and I thought it better to save getting to know each other until we met in person.
As soon as I sat down at the bar Paul wanted to talk work. With his blackberry (in my opinion, the number one thing he cannot live without) clutched in his hand he told me all about his hectic day in the office while frequently taking breaks to scroll through emails and shake his head at the phone.
Once we exhausted all the thrills of mergers and acquisitions the spotlight was on me. I went in to my film school background, the freelance work I do at a production company, and the non-profit I founded and operate in Kenya. Then unbeknownst to me, I dropped a bomb, “I also work in a nightclub.”
Paul shifted in his seat; behind his translucent whiskers I saw his mouth smirk with a sense of superiority. “What are you a dancer?” he asked with a smug tone.
Of course a rigid corporate lawyer like Paul would jump to that assumption, but no, I just cocktail. “Well you must get in to some seriously shady situations. Do you drink every night? I bet you do a lot of drugs, huh? What do they make you wear? Have you ever gotten laid at work? Has any one ever made you an offer you couldn’t refuse?”
“Paul,” I said, as calmly as possible, “I sell alcohol not sex.”
He bombarded me with ridiculously inappropriate and offensive questions, I tried to keep my cool and answer each remark eloquently and articulately to assure him that I wasn’t the working gal he had in mind. I explained that I don’t work in nightlife for my health or to dance on tables shaking sparklers like a proud patriot. It’s a flexible schedule and pays my bills, end of story. I took out nearly $100,000 in loans to go to NYU, I love to travel, and although I get loads of gratitude and fulfillment from my organization I don’t make any money from it. The nightclub is a means to an end and sustains all the much more interesting aspects of my life. I tried to bring the conversation back to my other work.
Paul didn’t give a damn. He wanted to hear something much more salacious then I had to offer. I felt like I was on trial defending myself. If Paul was my boyfriend I might allow some of these questions but he was a stranger and I was getting ready to pull out his beige face hair.
I very obviously tried to change the subject, “So tell me about where you’ve been traveling recently?”
He scratched his head, “Me and some buddies went to Boston in May,” he began. I nodded encouragingly, “Yeah we went to some soccer game, it was pretty lame.”
I was confused. Paul was a self-proclaimed traveler and his best story was about a soccer game in Boston. “Anywhere else?”
“I went to London for work about two years ago, it was pretty cool. Haven’t really done much globetrotting since college though, been busy with work, stuck behind the desk, ya know?” he said. I sensed some sarcasm in his tone.
He was letting me down left and right. London? Two years ago? For work? I wanted stories about monks in Asia and shark diving in South Africa. I know I am very fortunate to be able to travel often but come on, Paul was not an adventurer, he was a corporate lawyer.
I guess to Paul I was not a philanthropist or filmmaker I was just a cocktail waitress. Before I could end the date he took the honor. Less than 45 minutes after we sat down, Paul scooted out his chair, did a dramatic time check on his beloved blackberry and suggested that it was getting late. It wasn’t even 8:00pm.
At first I was in shock, my ego almost bruised that this man didn’t want to spend more time with me. The nerve of this corporate lawyer! Then he said, “So maybe I’ll text you sometime if I want to get in to the club you work at.”
I laughed in his face. The idea of seeing Paul for another five minutes at that bar let alone the bar I work at was something I definitely did not want. I kissed him on the cheek and said, “That is an offer I’m definitely going to have to refuse.”