Summer 2007, Bryant Park. It was my first time visiting New York City. At a happy hour event I befriended several males in their late 20s to early 30s. We talked about guy things like women, women and women. I was 24, but I still didn’t know how to approach these creatures, so the guys jumped at the opportunity to teach me the etiquette of the approach in this metropolis saturated with beautiful women. They started by telling me not to ever refer to women as creatures. Then they shared their views of the game.
“There’s an unwritten rule, if you want to pick up a woman in New York, you must first send her a drink. She’ll look back at you, and if she approves, she’ll smile and then you can approach her. If she turns away without smiling, she’s not into you, so move on to the next woman.” Logically, what these dudes told me didn’t make sense. I have to buy some chick a drink just to have a chance? To have her judge me by my looks and not by the content of my character? Have these women never listened to MLK’s I have a dream speech?
A beer cost $7 at this place, and that was a happy hour discount. These women didn’t want beer though, they wanted a Martini or Cosmo or another colored drink in a fancy schmancy glass. That’s at least $20 to get a woman to notice me, which can accumulate to hundreds of dollars throughout the night. Prostitutes give more attention for less money. I was peeved because I didn’t have the expendable income to splurge, plus I am
cheap frugal, and more importantly, I don’t drink myself.
Thirty minutes had gone by. I struck up a conversation with a 28 year old woman who was a transplant from Philadelphia. After chatting for a while, my curiosity led me to ask her if the rule about approaching women in NYC were true. She smirked and nodded her head in approval, it was common sense to her. I laughed and said, “Well, I didn’t buy you a drink, but we’re talking.” Her pupils ballooning, and her smile cracking into a flirtatious giggle, “You’re right, I didn’t think about that!” She stroked her hair back, oh yes, she was allll into me, and I didn’t spend a dime on her. If I had just followed the axioms others had set before me it would’ve left me impoverished, when all I had to do was use words to get the girl.
These outdated and mindless social constructs are not just limited to dating. They are disguised under the terms tradition, etiquette or chivalry and can change based on your geolocation. Buying a drink to get the woman in New York may equate to buying a woman in exchange for three goats in Tajikiafghanikhajakistan. It’s one thing to follow these dumb ideas, but it’s another to push them onto rational members of society.
It especially peeves me when a rule can be so contradictory. I’ve stopped counting the amount of times I’ve sat on a packed train when a pregnant woman jumps on and one of us men has to give up our seat because all the non-pregnant women felt entitled to continue sitting due to having a vagina. Rules like that should be updated. If a pregnant woman gets on the train a WOMAN has to give up her seat because she’s going to need the same treatment if she ever decides to have a child. Yeah, I’m biologically a “man”, but I have long difficult work days too. I want to sit and let my feet rest for the duration of the train ride sometimes. Consequently, if a man who recently had a gender reassignment operation ever boards a packed train, I’ll give them my seat, because that is a hard thing to do.
The rules that irritate me the most have to deal with having to spend money frivolously to be considered a sane member of society. It drives me nuts! My previous roommate once stated that if you go out with a group of friends everyone should split the check. “That’s what adults did”, he said. Once again, I don’t drink so I would end up paying for everyone else’s alcoholic beverages, and to that he replied, “Just order a bunch of other stuff, like lobsters. That’ll always even things out.” So that’s the justification for me integrating with the norm? Fill myself with gluttony and shame? People would stop inviting me out, “Why are you bringing Sadiq? He’s always ordering lobsters. We were at an Italian restaurant last time and they didn’t even serve lobsters, but he insisted that if they don’t serve him two lobsters he would give them a bad review on Yelp.” I rather move to Ireland where people fight over who pays for the bill. I can sit back and laugh at Irish people arguing in gibberish English as I count all the money I saved.
People can contend that by disregarding these guidelines that I’m cheap, insensitive, or heartless, but I don’t care. I’m not following any of this crap. No. Fuck you. I don’t need more friends and I don’t care if you don’t like my opposing views that are better than yours. I’m tired of following everyone else off of a cliff and I rather make decisions based on the information presented that is actually beneficial for myself as well as the rest of society. I don’t want to say “God bless you” or “bless you” because you’re insecure about your mortality, I don’t want to pay for your life, and I definitely don’t want to buy your daughter for three goats, because she’s only worth two. I’m a nice person damn it, not an inanimate machine. Seriously though, can we still be friends?
Have you ever had to follow rules or traditions that you knew were ridiculous? Did you follow them anyway because you didn’t want to deal with the blowback or did you stand up for your right to have an opposing opinion? Or do you think I’m a dummy? Add your thoughts to the comments section below.