Monday, May 19, 2008
When the Steakhouse Becomes a Metaphor for Dating
My boyfriend and I had dinner at Strip House on Saturday night. We were celebrating his 32nd birthday but it was a last minute sort of thing and we didn’t have a reservation, so we ate at the bar. About halfway through dinner, three women rolled up and stood on the other side of Nick. They were in their mid-30s, drunk and ringless. Even though Nick and I were clearly on a date, they kept coming up with excuses to talk to him. One blonde was particularly transfixed. She said they’d gone out to dinner earlier and decided to come by Strip House afterward for a drink. “Wow, that smells really good,” she said, gesturing to his steak. “Why do you think it smells so good?” Nick was friendly but trying not to engage too much.
“Er, I dunno,” he said. “Because it’s a steak?”
I’m the first to admit that I have a jealous streak. There was a time when I might have leaned over and said something cutting, or at the very least, “Excuse me, can I help you, ladies?” But they seemed harmless so I said nothing. When Nick left the table to go to the bathroom, the blonde plopped down in his seat and looked at me with accusing eyes.
“How old are you?” she demanded without introducing herself. I knew where this was headed.
“28,” I said. “Turning 29 in two months.”
“Oh, sorry,” she said, taken aback. “Wow. You look great, honey.”
She continued: “I thought you were, like, 19. We were over there like, ‘Why is this guy with her? What is he doing with someone that young?’”
I, by no means, look 19 so she must have been extraordinarily intoxicated. But it raises a point I made last week about how women are hardwired to view all other females as competition. You would never see a guy go up to another guy at a bar and demand to know his vitals. The scenario reminded me of that episode of Sex and the City (why does it always come back to SATC?) where Carrie’s Vogue editor, Enid, complains about the injustice of thirty-something Carrie dating fifty-something Aleksandr Petrovsky.
"It's not fair,” she says. “When you're a successful fifty-something woman, all the men your age like the bimbos, and so it's a very small pool...it's a wading pool, actually. So why are you swimming in my wading pool?" It’s true: As men get older, their dating pool gets bigger and the women’s pool gets smaller.
So why is it that I didn’t take offense to those women? Maybe it's because I’m confident and secure in my relationship. Perhaps I’ve gotten more mature with age. Or maybe I've also realized that could be me in a few years, trolling a steak house for a prime piece of meat, wishing all these damn kids would go back to the baby pool.
Posted by Noelle Hancock