So Jai makes plans to take me to dinner and a movie last night after he's done teaching. The whole idea of some one paying for both dinner AND a movie for me makes me uncomfortable. I guess because realistically it's a very expensive night. And I'm very conscious of other people's feelings and money. So I ask him if he meant dinner OR a movie and he insisted on both.
So when he shows up I tell him I'm taking us (because I'm doing the driving) to Taco Time before the movie. Being from LA he has no idea what Taco Time is so I explain that it's upscale fast food. He seems shocked. "I'll take you anywhere you want to eat," he says. "And you want fast food?"
Again I'm remembering that last night's dinner was way over $50 and I remind him that we did the big luxury dinner last night and we're seeing a movie so we can just eat cheap tonight. He says he remembers being in Seattle one time and eating at a place near where I live. He describes the food and irony of ironies it's the one place I usually suggest for dinner whenever some one offers to treat: The 5 Spot. I take him there. And by the way, they have the best sweet potato fries! So I have to deal with the fact that we're having a decent priced meal followed by a movie all on a night following an expensive meal.
So why do I have such trouble with people taking me to nice places and spending so much money on me? Probably for two reasons. For one thing I grew up in sort of a poor way. My parents actually made a decently high combined income. But they blew it. The mortgage was huge. My step father had a taste for expensive toys and ran up huge debts to buy them all. My mother was unhappy and stuffed that unhappiness with a shopping addiction that also ran up debts. So while they made really good money and had really nice things, I was left with very few clothes and not enough food to eat. Through junior high school I had only 3 shirts and 3 pants. I tried to mix and match them as best I could to look like I had more. Likewise with the food. The refrigerator was always near empty and I almost always had to go to bed hungry.
I suppose there's some psychological stigma that goes along with having parents who don't want to spend enough money to keep you fed and clothed. Deservability issues maybe? Oddly enough I don't have any problem buying myself all the food and clothes I want. But for some reason I feel so guilty when others want to do it for me. Now add to that the fact that every one I have ever dated has been broke. Okay, one exception. I dated some one a year ago who wanted to spend a lot of money on me. It was a disaster really because he was trying to buy me expensive meals when I have had zero exposure to fancy restaurants and nice food. I just couln't get comfortable in fancy environments with gourmet food. I was like a fish out of water every time he took me out. Needless to say, that didn't dating situation didn't last long.
But for the most part, for as long as I can remember, dates for me have been take out food and a Blockbuster video. I spent my last 4 years in LA dating the same guy. And while he made really good money, he was divorced. And in the divorce he was awarded...get this...half his wife's debt. So most of the time we stayed home and watched videos because it was cheap and we both enjoyed it. And as long as he didn't order out dinner for us more than once per week, I didn't feel too guilty about him spending money on me. My philosophy at the time was that if I want to go out and do stuff then I'll hang with my friends and pay for it myself. If I want to stay in and relax then I'll hang with my boyfriend. Since we also shared friends I think the only time we went out together was as a group with our friends.
And of course late last year and earlier this year I returned to my old habit by dating folks who were broke. I simply accepted, without hesitation, that dates meant arriving together at the clubs before cover (so they could get in for free) and paying for my own drinks. And that was fine with me because then I never had to feel guilty about some one spending money on me. Although I did feel guilty that I actually had money of my own and felt like I had to hide it so they wouldn't feel inadequate for being broke.
But the thing is, I'd like to get over this. I mean maybe just once in my life I'd like to know what it's like to be treated to meals and movies and maybe a drink or two; nights out and such...without worrying that the person who's treating might not be able to pay their bills as a result. Is this asking too much? I mean I think of it as sort of like the time I went sky diving or the time I went snorkeling. It would be a fun new thing to add to the list of new and exciting experiences in my life.
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