Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Verdict On Courting


“Seeing you feels like flowers growing in my heart.”

Those were the first words this old(er) gentleman; we’ll call Mr. Ray, said to me as I walked down Spring Street in SoHo. The comment did make me slow down and smile. He asked my name and we shook hands. Then he said that seeing me made him feel like…this is where he started singing “Shining Star” to me. I really like that song. Have I ever had a stranger serenade me on the street before? No. Did I want the attention? Eh…it’s New York. The folks at the table in the restaurant right behind us looked for a few seconds then went back to their conversation. Mr. Ray wants to be my friend. He said he’d court me if I let him. He loves to go out. He invited me back to the restaurant where he’ll be performing Doo Wop (he totally dated himself) and also said he’d buy me dinner.



I bring this up because this past weekend I had friends over for a potluck dinner and it ended in a heated debate over the dating game and the fact that men spend money and women expect that. One (straight) guy who was over that night just wasn’t getting it. He wondered why we were putting a price on our time, why the man had to do “all of that” to get to know you, why we couldn’t sit in the park for 8 hours and talk. Listen, even a broke nucca will scrape together a few dollars to take a woman out that he likes. Even if it’s just to give the illusion that he got a little something so she’ll see him again. A high school girl will accept it if her guy takes her to get some pizza and ice cream and then they hang out past dark. However, the boy she went out with still spent something. He’s trying to “get” me, impress me, show me a good time, get to know me—you see the theme? When a guy meets a woman he’s interested in and wants to get to know her he takes her out, which implies spending money. You may even do things you don’t want to do. 8-hour Park Boy asked, “What about me? What about what I like?” It aint about what you like in the beginning (except the woman). It really isn’t. My preferences are always put first. After I mentioned to Mr. Ray that I liked the restaurant we were in front of and had been there before, he knew where he’d take me on the first date, should I choose to accept it. I’ve been lucky to date honest enough men who will admit having never tried something before or that they dislike a certain cuisine but they still go.


How did we get on this topic that night? Two of my friends had gone to a book party and the book of discussion was Steve Harvey’s “Act like a Lady…Think like a Man”. I haven’t read it but they explained that in the book Harvey states if a man is interested in you, he will spend money on you. In my personal experiences, that is absolutely true. Park Boy thought that was bullshit. After a very long time of several of the women potluckers stating their case and the facts and explained how it had nothing to do with gold-digging, he still wasn’t getting it. So I launched a general yet personal attack. I said if he couldn’t take care of his wife and children he would feel like less of a man. In the extreme, men commit suicide over losing their jobs and the not being able to take care of their families. It’s a sense of identity. If you asked me on a date, I wouldn’t even consider paying for anything. I can go out with platonic friends and they cover me. With my younger brother, same thing. I don’t pay. Call it society, traditions, whatever, but I know my role and I’m not going out with a man who doesn’t know his. At some point the other (straight) guy chimed in that he tests women to see if they’ll offer to pay when the check comes. That is a man that won’t get a second date. Don’t test me. If you’re interested in me, ask me out and don’t play games like leaving your wallet at home. Mr. Ray asked if I knew what courting was. I smiled at his use of the word and told him I knew. “I say courting, ya’ll call it dating.”

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