Hi, sexy guy. Hooray, you’re just as cute in person as you were on Mesh! We exchanged some fun messages, and now we’re finally meeting at that neighborhood bar you or I suggested.
Nice to meet you. I’m a feminist. I believe in wage equality, paid maternity leave, and Black Widow’s right to sleep with or not sleep with however many Avengers as she chooses. Being a feminist is a large part of how I identify. But I still want you to pay for my drink. I know, I know, it’s an outdated representation of a reinforced gender binary.
Here are some outdated representations of a reinforced gender binary I promise you in exchange!
The First Date Level
Here’s what you’re guaranteed. Before a first date, I
- Put chemicals all over my face. My “date face” consists of foundation, concealer, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, and lipstick. I spend about $150 on these chemicals a year, a little more than half the average rate.
- Wash my body with products that cost more than yours do and dress up in clothes that cost more than yours do. Cool button-up shirt! Oh, you bought it back in college? Literally nothing I owned in college would be considered fashionable now. No, not even the socks.
- Shave or pluck almost every inch of my body that grows hair other than the top of my head. I just pondered with happiness that our culture does not require me to shave my arms. For now.
- Trust you with my personal safety. I recently went on a date with a very odd man whose response to my disinterest was to caress me and lean in for a kiss. I have friends who have been roofied, groped, and raped by dates. This is not to malign all men, but please don’t take this trust for granted.
- Am (probably) younger than you. The minute I hit 30, my inbox shrank. Men in their 40s message me and I see that they don’t have their age range set for their own age. I always take that as a red flag and ask why. Men’s responses range from “I want to have kids” (as if male fertility didn’t also drop off) to “I like to have sex with younger women.”
- Give you massive bonus points if you make me laugh even once (all of my beloved men have been funny) while accepting that my sense of humor probably does nothing for you.
I don’t resent you for these things, sexy guy. These are part of the culture we both inhabit. Oooh- I’ll have a wheat beer. Yum. Hey, let me bend your ear a bit about the benefits you’ll get once you’re in a relationship with me.
At the exclusive dating level, I will
- Have orgasmless sex with you many times. This won’t be all your fault. Women are complex and I will still definitely want to have sex with you, it’s just that you’re probably not going to get me there for at least a few weeks of trying. Please keep trying!
- Put myself at a much higher risk from STIs than you from this sex we’ll be having.
- Pay to adjust the hormones in my body to ensure that we won’t have kids. Count yourself lucky that I’ve tried just about every kind on the market and I’ve finally found the one that fucks with my body the least.
- Deal with my period (since we’re briefly on the subject, I’m so sorry) without any interruption in our daily lives, even though it’s a literal monthly trauma. This costs me around $120 a year.
Alright, I can see that you’re interested. Let me spin this into a bit of the hypothetical, while we’re still having a nice time.
I know, I know, like I said, hypothetical. Here’s what you can reasonably expect from me if we get married. I will
- Take your name. This one’s pretty much guaranteed, unless you have a name like Fartblatt or something.
- Keep our house clean and beautiful. Please help, but I’m not counting on it.
- Consider having your child, in which case I will utterly destroy my body in order to give you the miracle of life. I won’t even make you try on a pregnancy suit.
- Probably be the one taking care of our little sprog.
- Statistically, make you much happier than I will be. Who knows, maybe not, but in general men benefit significantly more than women from the institution of marriage.
Look, these are all choices. Plenty of women, better feminists than I, don’t do any of these things. I know I don’t need to wear makeup or sexy clothes or laugh at your jokes so earnestly or pluck the blond hairs that grow over my lips. But you contacted me because that’s the person I present on my dating profile, and here I am. If I have to pull out my wallet right now, it’s not a deal breaker. You’re educated, handsome and single. I ain’t running from that. I can afford to pay for this wheat beer. I will, if there’s a second date, and I’ll buy you one too! But if you don’t reach for the check tonight you will be telling me tacitly that you reject the paradigm we’re a part of and I’ve done a lot of work this evening to present the gendered romantic signals you expect from me.
So please, for this first date, just buy my drink.