I met Feminist Guy on a dating app. His profile was a little vague. It stated that he enjoyed traveling, was single, and had a “phd”. Yes, it was typed just like that, “phd”, no capital letters or punctuation. My first thought? Remember that episode of Friends where Phoebe goes on a date and the guy says he has a “pretty huge…” and she leaves the date? Yep. This thought is in my head and I head to this date.
We decided to meet around 7:30 pm for a drink. He had a dinner he was coming from and wanted to meet afterwards. I arrived about 5 minutes before the date just in time to receive a text that he would be running about 10 minutes late. Faced with the option of sitting outside the restaurant and waiting on him for 15 minutes, or staking out a table and ordering a beverage while I waited, I decide on the latter and ordered a glass of Chardonnay at the bar to kill the time.
When he arrived, well, I guess he sort of looked like his pictures… maybe from several years prior. I squint my eyes and determine that it is probably him, but he definitely chose all his best pictures for his online profile. I waved him down. We grabbed a table on the patio and after brief chit chat I discover he is a professor at a local university, hence the Ph.D. I’m secretly grateful I won’t be getting the Phoebe treatment. We chatted about his job for a bit and he disclosed that he was only at the current university for about 1-2 years (I have no idea why it was “1 to 2” years), and he had a couple opportunities to teach abroad that he was looking forward to.
My ears immediately perk that this guy may be looking for a booty call. I can’t imagine a guy willing to engage in a serious relationship if he is planning to work in Vietnam or Switzerland for the next academic year; however, I digress.
As the conversation continues, I can tell he enjoys his career in academia. As the subject turns to me, I share a little about what I do and share the fact that I’m involved with a couple women’s organizations. His response?
Him: “So how feminist are you?”
I pause. I bite at his question with a bit of feigned ignorance and a bat of a perfectly mascaraed eye. “What do you mean?”
“Well, are you a super feminist?”
I’m trying not to laugh. A super feminist.
I asked, “Do you mean do I march down the street burning my bra?” He eagerly nods. “Not exactly,” I giggled.
He chuckles nervously. At this point, I can tell this may be a point of contention for him. Does he feel he needs to be dominant in a relationship and having a feminist partner may interfere with that? I toy with this thought.
I continue, “What is your definition of feminist?”
He struggles over his words. Literally, struggles. I sit quietly sipping on my Chardonnay trying not to smirk as he attempts to come up with a definition of feminism that will not offend the Chardonnay sipping person across from him. I literally can visualize the beads of sweat forming on his forehead.
At this point, I know for sure we won’t see each other again. I go ahead and offer a bit of help, “Well, I view feminism as men and women having equal opportunities.”
Relieved for my response, he quickly stated he believed the same. I informed him that makes him a feminist.
(Insert a long pregnant pause here. A very long pause.)
He appeared to be flooded with relief as the server came by and he immediately ordered a second beer. At this point, I am sipping on the fumes of my Chardonnay so he offers to order a second glass of wine for me as well. I hadn’t had dinner yet that evening and said I would need an appetizer if I was going to continue with the wine.
Without asking what I would like, he looked over the Happy Hour menu and ordered the hummus appetizer for us to share. Hummus. Two glasses of wine on an empty stomach and hummus. He assures me he will help with the appetizer even though he already had a three course dinner. ‘Why, thank you!’ I say to myself. As if I couldn’t finish hummus on my own.
The appetizer arrives and he proceeds to devour about 80% of it. The conversation varies topics for the next half hour, but poignantly stays clear from anything close to women’s rights. I nursed my second glass of Chardonnay, occasionally stealing a bite of hummus when I could.
As predicted, Feminist Guy never called.