Recently, I went on my 4th date with a guy I had liked, and by the time I stormed out, I knew it would be the last.
This is where it gets tricky, because I really thought he was a great guy. Every time we would hang out he was so attentive and kind. He always reminded me how cute I looked or how happy he was to see me, he made me feel special. I met his friends, who were equally great, and I for a moment I allowed myself to think, “Maybe this could be something.”
That night was different, though. We were both tired from working long days and all I wanted to do was talk to him and finish off a bottle of red wine I had treated myself to. “You drink a lot,” he commented, glaring at me as I poured myself another sizeable glass. His comment struck me as bold. I realized in that moment that I didn’t really know him like I should. We had spent most of our time together discussing surface things, such as which books we enjoyed and which female vocalists were the voices of our generation. “Yeah, well, you’ve seen me maybe four times so I guess you wouldn’t be the most versed on my drinking habits,” I responded.
We sat in silence for a while until he suggested that we watch The Hunger Games. I agreed and as the movie began to progress, I couldn’t shake off his side comments of “stupid bitch” or “she’s so dumb!” as we watched Katniss gallop across the screen. This comments seemed, to me, misogynistic and rash. “Is this how he speaks about women?” I wondered. Growing skeptical of him, I decided then and there to shoot this date in the foot and see if it could survive.
I was raised with the ideology that you should never discuss politics or religion with friends because it’s apparently tacky and openly invites dissent. As someone who is firm in his beliefs, I’m usually open to debate and I’m always genuinely interested to hear people’s opinions on things that may be deemed controversial. However, I knew deep down that I could probably never date a man who didn’t share the same core beliefs as me because the idea of me spending my youth with someone who thought racial and gender stereotyping was okay made me sick to my stomach.
“So, can I ask you your opinions on some things?” I asked him, pulling his attention away from the television. “Sure,” he responded as he kissed my cheek.
“What is your opinion on gay marriage?” I asked this question first because the answer, to me, seemed like it would be simple.
He considered me for a moment, then looked me dead in the eye and said, “I don’t plan on marrying a man. I want to have my own children one day, my biological children.” He then proceeded to tell me that dating men seemed more like a youthful phase to him rather than something that was a part of who he is.
It was here that I began to get pissed. “So, what exactly am I doing here?” I asked, motioning to his broken futon and cat box, litter streaming out of it. “Well, I like you, cutie,” he said, flashing a toothy grin. I responded, “Yeah, okay, thanks, but you’re also saying you have no interest in being with a man in the future.” I would like to point out that I am completely comfortable dating a man who is bisexual, because that’s their sexuality and I refuse to let that effect how I see them as a potential lover.
However, this was different. He was stating that being with a man in the future just simply wasn’t an option. Even if he met the most amazing man and fell madly in love, he was at a stage in his life where he would draw a big X through that relationship. I’ve been this man, I’ve been in his mindset, and it’s a dark place I never want to go back to. By him explaining he had no intention of ever exploring the possibility of building a life with a man, I felt fetishized and objectified. Even though I had taken a shower before I came over, I felt like I could use another two.
“Yeah, I dated a guy for a few months, but he was a gay activist and that just wasn’t for me,” was another gem he laid on me. “Well, you know I’m a writer and that’s kind of what I do, “ I replied, my anger building. “Oh, well, maybe I just won’t read your stuff then” he chuckled. It upset me that he was so flippant about being against gay rights. Maybe he wasn’t actively trying to stop equality, but his complacency might have been worse. I tried to explain my opinion, how I believed that gay marriage should be legal because I didn’t like feeling like a second-class citizen. I also didn’t like feeling like I was just a place for a man to stick his penis while I’m on a date.
I decided to press matters further, and we began to discuss abortion and the death penalty. More hot button topics, but at this point I knew I had started down a dangerous path and I was determined to get all his personal beliefs out into the open. I think it was around the time that he equated the government having the right to control a woman’s body to the government keeping him from using his body to stab my own mother (which might be the most deranged connection between the two topics I have ever had the unfortune of hearing) that I looked him in the eye and said “get fucked” and let myself out the door.
I felt a little sad leaving his apartment that night, but mostly just pissed. It’s strange how you can spend time with someone and have no idea who they really are. It’s a realization as old as time, but it never ceases to amaze me. This was the first time I had encountered a queer man who did not advocate for furthering gay rights in some way. I’m not saying he needed my help — or even wanted it. I just felt sad that he felt so trapped by society that the idea of marrying a man was outside the realm of his possibilities.
Maybe he felt like he was being put into a category of men who could not lead an accepted lifestyle or have children if he wasn’t with a woman. Maybe he felt like society had put him in a box in which there was no escape. Then again, maybe he wants to be in there.