So the year has finally reached its denouement. The air is cathartic and reflective. Everyone is either espousing life theories or sharing revisionist nostalgia of their halcyon days at the wonderful University. Although I can’t partake in the latter, I have a clearance sale on the former. So let’s jump into the fun.
Men and women aren’t and can’t be neutral friends. The Hussain dictionary defines friends as people you talk to outside of places you have to be, that know your thoughts and that you associate with outside of Ann Arbor. Sadly, this excludes Chad, who talked to you in the laundry room, and Jeffrey, who helped you set up Mulberry your freshman year. So with this idea in mind, also know that friendship between men and women is inherently different from that of two people of the same sex. Surely no man wants to hear about your period, nor does any female want to hear the details of the rare beautiful women who appear in Angell Hall once per undergrad. More often than not, people gravitate toward those they find attractive. And if that is the reason two people are together, then you’re already heading down that street. Being a general misanthrope, it is hard enough to find people who can generate and sustain my interest over a period of time, so once that is found, why banish them to the level of friend?
Every friendship is not a Meg Ryan movie waiting to happen, and all relationships end – except maybe the last one you have. After hearing this theory, I usually must add I have no female friends and that there is one exception, gay friends. And even Will got Grace. If two people associate a lot, someone will be attracted.
Going onto dating. Here’s the idea that has kept me single in Michigan (along with many other issues, I’d need the whole Daily for that): I don’t pay for dates. Before I get an animal porn virus, I will give one exception, and that is in regard to a relationship. If you are in a meaningful relationship, then there is nothing wrong with treating each other. But what I say no to is the sole funding of the introductory and courtship stages by the male. During my highly scientific and formal study of female dating opinions (I was awake in two statistics lectures) I’ve seen that most women – and to my dismay, men – take it as a given that a man must pay for the first date. To this I say nay. I took a step, or leap, back from the situation and said, “Why?” For what reason should I bear the financial burden of the date? It has to date back to some paternalistic view that men should take out women because they can’t themselves. And these are the responses I got: “He should be happy to be out with me.” “He should feel good paying for me.” “I’m worth it; he should be a gentleman.” Even sadder was the guy who told me, “She’ll think I’m cheap.” Jesus Christmas … This can’t be the state of gender relations. This attitude furthers the misunderstandings and purports the idea of men as the providers and women as the recipients. Although no one is owed anything, if a man pays for a date or three, logic can occur which would enable him to think he is making a sort of investment with future returns. It is also disturbing that the women I talked to considered their time something to be bought or paid for. There’s a specific job for that. I would sincerely hope that a female on a date would be there for the reasons I am: because she’s interested, not for monetary compensation.
And on top of that I’m broke and cheap. It’s a vicious cycle with complexity of chicken/egg proportions. Dates are not free, and if I sponsor one and she has a better time than I do, with my winsome personality and all, I’ll feel jerked. Since men have to do the bulk of initiating, dates can resemble favors from women. If we are both interested enough to see where this could go, at least we could split the date. If it goes poorly, we can shake hands and call a truce. If it goes great, don’t spoil it by sliding off to the bathroom around bill time. To the women who told me they approach men and pay for dates, pat yourselves on the back, for you are a rare breed. And to the men whose manhood is destroyed by the notion of a woman opening her purse, come out of the cave and try out the 21st century; it’s nice out here.
Newly discovered and parting information: Ali G and Larry David are your daddies, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” may be better than “Seinfeld,” The new Harry Potter book will kick your ass. Who can resist a little British boy with magical powers? Illmatic is the best rap album ever, as Nevermind is the best rock album ever.
If you agree or disagree with any of Rahim’s musings on life, he can be reached at email@example.com.