Chivalry Is DeadPosted: March 6, 2012
I might be a shitty granddaughter. Is it wrong to force your Granny to go on a date against her will? Besides my own selfish wishes to be entertained by her tales, I swear I thought it would be a nice for her to develop, at the very least, a friendship with Tim.
When he sent an email last week asking her out for dinner he added, “You said earlier that it was your treat. Think I’ll accept that… P.S. Of course I’ll pay for drinks.” She said he was self-involved and had no interest in treating him to dinner. I was convinced that he was just being cheeky in his message; I didn’t really believe he was going to have her pay. He’s an old retired English man with a boat and a large home, I thought he’d have the funds or at least the manners to treat a classy lady to a meal, especially since he was the one to ask her out.
“He’s short and angsty, you know how short men can have a complex,” she whined. Although I’m familiar with the complex, I insisted that she was being a brat until she finally caved and agreed to go.
When he called to set up the date he said he’d pick her up at her apartment. He must have heard the hesitation in her voice because he joked, “Don’t worry I’m not coming up.”
“Trust me, I wasn’t worried,” she replied without any hint of flirtation.
She told me, “Bed relationships at this age has got to be an experience and half. I don’t look forward to dealing with an old, messy, farty situation,” she gave more of a visual than I needed but I got where she was going. “I’ve had very nice relationships in the bedroom in my life, I’m not about to ruin that with this guy.”
They went to a restaurant on the water for dinner. There were some popping sounds going off, “Must be fireworks,” she said casually to Tim.
He quickly dismissed her and grunted, “I know a pistol when I hear one.”
When the waitress came up and apologized for the loud firecrackers he pretended to be busy with his napkin. For two and half hours she listened to him talk about the Bowl of Jello again. He completely monopolized the conversation. “He didn’t remember a goddamn thing about me. He didn’t remember if I had a son or a daughter or that I was from New York,” she said. “This was our third date, I’d like to blame it on his old age but the truth is he’s just a self-involved bastard.”
Granny is not one to let bad behavior slide. “Did you call him out on it?” I asked.
“I told him I had heard that some men online are looking for a nurse or a purse, the old fart got offended and said he has never heard such a thing,” she giggled, “Bullshit, he’s looking for both.”
She explained to me that older people are just more honest and stuck in their ways. “There’s no more playing games like when you’re 25. Old people are comfortable enough to put themselves out there the way they are. For better, or in his case, worse.”
“Did he make you pay?” I asked. There are chivalrous gestures that I assumed stuck with older generations. It’s 2012, I’m a money-making gal, I have no problem picking up the check or at least paying my half of the bill when I’m on a date but to me that feels like a modern development that wouldn’t apply to a date between two people in their seventies.
“As soon as the bill came he pushed it in front of me.” I gasped. “Let me give you our order,” she began practically snarling, “I had a piece of cod and a glass of wine. He had a salad, a two glasses of wine, crab legs, and a coffee.”
Of course Granny being the penny pincher that she is, remembered the cost of every item. “My fish? Thirteen dollars. His meal,” she began, stretching out the vowels, “It was forty-eight dollars.” She put eighteen dollars on the table then went to the bathroom where she told me she contemplated calling a cab or my mother to come pick her up. “I wasn’t far from home, I thought it would have been cheaper to take a cab than pay for his dinner.”
When she came back to the table he rudely stated, “You owe more.”
“What is more?” she asked.
He pushed the check in front of her again; she reluctantly took out more bills.
“Apparently this is the way it is here,” she said to me as if she was discovering a new tip in a magazine, “If a man takes you to dinner once or twice then you have to take him to dinner. That’s what’s happening these days.”
If he were a gentleman that wanted to continue things she told me, “He would have said, ‘You get it next time’ and that repertoire would have continued just so he could get some more time with me. He played it all wrong,” she said. I had to agree, the jerk should have paid for his own crab legs.
When he dropped her off at her home she said good-bye, “I meant it, kid. Good-bye. That’s it. Never again,” she told me.
“What I’m realizing is that when you’re older, because sex is minimal or a non-existent part of the equation, you really need to like each other. Character matters so much more. I don’t like this man.” I didn’t blame her. “The positive thing,” she began, and boy was I glad to hear there was an upside, “It’s nice to know it’s a learning experience even at 70-whatever, I’m still learning.”