VOL. 1  NO. 1  AUGUST 1999



Better Than Ben & Jerry's

By S. Craig Zahler


The bill comes. A key indicator of a woman's personality is how she responds to this. While there are exceptions to every rule, this is a pretty fool-proof assessment of who's sitting across from me. Does she offer to pay, contribute something? I almost always pay on the first date, but this is because I choose to; because I'd like to do something nice for whomever I'm out with. It is not, however, my responsibility to pay.

The "men should pay" logic that many divas subscribe to is total holdover garbage from a generation where women lived to be housewives and mothers, and it is not at all applicable to modern life. If anything, men should be rewarded for making the first social effort (which is often dicey, uncomfortable, and awkward), not beleaguered by it. The "he-who-asks-should-pay" logic makes as much sense as requiring everyone who votes in a major election to run for office. Please stop this 1950s idiocy!!!

So this evening when the bill comes she watches me pay. As I take moment to figure out the leave, she makes a brief half-hearted suggestion to help with the tip. Pretty feeble, but better than nothing.

We go and get drinks. She orders a pricey "girl drink" (sweet and fruity with some alcohol). We chat for a while. Unfortunately I'm doing most of the talking. When I ask her questions, her answers tend to be short and close-ended, as if in an interrogation. So I wind up putting on the S. Craig Zahler show which is a borderline stand-up comedy routine, some of which she seems to find funny while other parts seem to leave her confused. She finds it hilarious when I use any hip-hop terminology (beats, flow, wack, playa, yo), I assume because she has me pegged as such a pretentious, starched-shirt white guy; which I am, though I do listen to a lot of rap.

The evening ends and we walk out to get her a cab. At this point I've put in nearly four hours of talking and she needs to escape to her parents' home. I mention getting together with her again. She agrees. I give her an awkward, clipped, closed-mouth kiss on the lips. Two silken pillows absorb my advance; tender morsels of resilient femininity. I click off her transdimensional lips, open the cab door, say something, shut the door, and watch the cab roll away.

Now here is where I defend my superficial obsession. Do I like this woman? I don't know. She seems a little closed. She's a beautiful bore with vague aspirations. The fact that she still lives at home at age 23 ain't promising. Also, she has lived in NY her entire life but never takes subways-- day or night, alone or accompanied. She's cynical, which is fine in doses, but I prefer cynicism to be rooted in dry humor rather than in the apathetic view of life/humanity which a creature this lovely might have developed after years of foolish guys throwing themselves at her feet. She said several intelligent things, and nothing dumb; in fact she seemed to live on the brighter side of the planet, but it is doubtful that a great personality is crouched behind her forehead. But what a beauty.

...to be continued next issue

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Copyright © 1999 by THE WIRE