I had a date last night. You heard that in your head correctly. A date. I will withhold this poor guy's name—he’s been through enough already—so to protect the innocent. But, I will tell you this, prior to the big D-A-T-E, I had actually met this man… in real life (as opposed to say, through 14 exchanged emails and a Match.com profile listing his career, salary, and eye color), and I knew he and I could have a conversation (as opposed to say, awkward silence).
That's a good start, right? I thought it was. And so, last night, at 7:30 he showed up in a cab at my apartment to take me out to dinner. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Allow me to digress…
You guys know how I operate. I am—at heart—an independent woman, bordering on burn-your-bra feminist (I wouldn’t actually burn my bra… trust me, no one wants to see me go braless), so I’ve never been a stickler for dating "rules" and chivalry. I don't expect grand gestures—overcoats tossed elegantly over mud puddles so I can daintily cross without dirtying the heel of my shoe and the hem of my pants; it’s simply not necessary. And, like most independent women bordering on burn-your-bra feminists, I don't appreciate machismo— i.e. ordering my dinner as though I am incapable of vocalizing my desire for food. I can always vocalize my desire for food.
However, there’s a gray area here. I am not a fan of having doors dropped on me, and I certainly don't think it’s appropriate for a man who requested my attendance at a meal to look up from the check and say, "You owe…" (Another aside here: I once dated a guy who never—either because he suffered from extreme social retardation or because he was simply an ass—looked at me when he took me out to dinner. Apparently, regardless of where we were, just to the left of my head something fascinating was always happening. Perhaps he was hallucinating, because at various points in the evening, while I was attempting to make the situation less awkward by telling a terribly witty and clever story, I would glance to the left to see what had captured his attention. And… nothing. It was infuriating. Needless to say, he and I did not last.)
I suppose the point is, there's a balance. I'm not helpless and I have no desire to be treated as such, but if I’m worth the time and trouble of asking out in the first place, there’s an expectation of respect and common courtesy. Otherwise, why bother? I don’t think of it as old-fashioned so much as having standards (and it’s not anti-feminist; it’s neo-feminist… we deserve equal and then some).
Back to last night… it's 7:30 and my date shows up with a cab at my apartment. I meet him outside, and like a gentleman, he opens the cab door for me.
What happened next is rather surprising. There’s a little known code of etiquette when it comes to men, women, and cabs. If you’re entering the from the same passenger door (if say, you are on a busy street), the man should get in the cab first. Seems counter-intuitive, right? Logic and history would suggest that the man should hold the door open for the woman; however, when you are dealing with a cab, the rule changes so the woman is not forced to “scoot” across the raunchy, plastic seat. Scooting is unthinkable!
I’ve taken a lot of cabs in my life and I’ve been on a few dates. I’ve never known any man who actually knew of or adhered to this rule. So last night, when this man held the cab door open for me, I didn’t think twice before I began make my way to the other side of the bench seat. But, as I looked back at the passenger door through which I had just entered… I literally did a double take. The door was closed and my date was walking around the back of the cab to the other side. I didn’t have to scoot.
“Wow.” I actually said that. Apparently his mama taught him how to treat a woman.
I have to admit… I was kind of impressed.