They were both sat at the edge of their seats at the dinner table. Intellectual stimulation was a well-known aphrodisiac for the sapiosexuals. But it was also known to carry an inherent risk of going completely sideways and spiralling into an argument, or politically speaking, a heated debate. For the most part, this was controlled by how strongly the parties felt about the issue and their stance on it. As absurd as it sounded, it was not unheard of that a difference in opinion was enough to pull the plug on a potential or ongoing relationship. He did not want this to be one of those situations. He was already too infatuated with this woman’s intelligence to lose her over something as silly as intellectual egoism.
Waiter: Here is the bill, Sir.
The waiter handed him the bill, flashed a practiced smile, and left him to it. He reached for his glasses to examine what the night was going to cost him.
Woman: Isn’t it a bit rude that he just assumes you would pay the bill? What if we were a family and I was the bread winner? Or what if it was me taking you out? Or we wanted to split?
Man: If I wasn’t the one paying for any reason I could always hand it to you after he leaves. We can even do that now if you want to pay.
He could see a gender role argument coming.
Woman: I’m just saying he could have dropped it on the table.
Her tone was starting to change. He considered letting it slide. It was by far the easier option to agree with her and brand the waiter and even the entire establishment as sexists. In many ways, he thought of himself as a champion for sexual equality, but he had his differences with the classic feminist as far as depending on social media for any definition of the term went.
Man: It’s just the man’s orientation. We could have been living in the 60ies and you’ll be in an apron happy to hear me say “thank you for dinner dear” hmm?
Woman: But we are in 2016?
Man: Not everyone is in the same time space dear. Didn’t some writer say the future is always here, it is just never evenly distributed? This feminist battle isn’t very different from racism. In time, they will both become non-issues.
She hated the fact that he would dismiss an issue so close to her heart as a matter for the passing of time. Yes, racism was probably going to be a trait expressed by a minority group of assholes one day, but did that make it okay to dismiss it as an issue for conversation?
Woman: Are you trying to be an asshole?
Man: Wow, this escalated quickly.
Woman: So we shouldn’t address racism because it will be a thing of the past one day?
Man: I know I compared the two, but what blacks have been through makes the entire struggle of women a walk in the park. It’s not like police are out there shooting women for being women.
Woman: Rapists are out there raping us for being women, and that’s a cross-cultural thing.
Man: Comparing a systematic crime to a personal one, come on!
Now he was getting irritated.
Man: Do you think men like getting the bill handed to us all the time? Women act like men are constantly hatching secret plans for your downfall. Naturally, there is an order in the way we evolve to be best suited for survival. Women have always enjoyed a relative freedom from danger and the trade off has been to have men in power.
Woman: So what are we in danger of now? It’s not like a tiger is going to maul me on my way home and you wouldn’t be of much use against a mugger with a knife.
He considered making a joke about being a black belt holder but decided against it. This was hardly the time for joking around.
Man: Well, it’s just going to take some time for things to balance out. Come on, women have made considerable progress as it is. The only thing left for you guys to blame on men is having periods and an unfavourable biological clock.
Woman: I’m going to pretend like I didn’t hear that.
Man: Look, at the end of the day, you guys have your social expectations and we have ours. The waiter expects that you won’t pay and expects that I should. It’s always a two-way street.
Woman: So what about stuff like slut shaming?
Man: Are you saying women don’t slut shame each other? There are actually studies showing that they do it more. And as for victim blaming that is a flat out dick move, but you know there is a type for that kind of reasoning.
Woman: You don’t get it. This isn’t about men or women. This is about a culture, a system. Subconsciously people are raised to think of women as something they can define while men are free to define themselves. The only real pressure on a man is to be financially stable and with the economy these days that isn’t exclusive to men anymore. A woman has to look a certain way, act a certain way, dress a certain way, all because she is a woman.
Man: Do you know how many men suffer in silence because we are expected to ‘man-up’? Do you know how long it took before it became possible to charge women with the rape of a man?’
Woman: Not nearly as long as it took for something as obvious as battered-woman syndrome to be recognized. Look, I’m not saying men don’t have issues, but it’s not our fault if you guys are too busy manning up to complain. Just because you have problems too doesn’t make ours any less relevant of valid for complaint.
He nodded in agreement. All of a sudden he wasn’t exactly sure of how the rest of the evening was going to progress.
30/30 is a collection of short stories covering a range of issues around the self, culture, society, sex, love and relationships. It is available for FREE download on Smashwords, Okadabooks, Lulu, iBooks and other ebook retailers.