"She's the first girl I don't have to dumb down for," he told his mother. For me, being with David was a relief. My previous boyfriends had left all of the planning and decision-making to me. Every time I saw David, he had a surprise in store: reservations at a new restaurant, wind-blown rides on his Ducati motorcycle, a room full of candles and our song—U2's "Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl"—on repeat. We compared the books we'd read; discussed philosophy, religion, life; and marveled at the fact that we’d found each other.
We spent those first weeks happily ensconced in our bubble, so it wasn't until we began to socialize again that I realized just how ill-equipped I was to be his girlfriend. In my old life, I had gone to rock concerts, crowd-surfed, and carefully cultivated my grungy anti-style. Now, as soon as I stepped into his building's posh elevator I morphed into a dowdy nerd next to the army of models and actresses with their Chanel bags and expertly coiffed hair. I felt self-conscious; David's friends' wives all shopped at Barneys. My "designer" pieces came from Nine West and H&M.
"You're so granola," David would tease. I'd shrug it off as good-natured, but when he met my mother, and they both began ribbing me about my appearance, I felt it was time I reassessed my style. I started to blow out my curly hair, once my defining feature. I began to actually pay attention to what I wore each morning, even smeared on some makeup once in a while. All so, when in his world, I could stop feeling like a ratty pair of Hanes adrift in a sea of La Perla.
Needless to say, my mom was thrilled that I had met a handsome, well-to-do Jewish man with serious intentions. All my life, my mother had worried that I was too smart, too fat, too rebellious to meet and marry a guy she would approve of—and like. When I brought David home, she swooned. "This is a man," she proclaimed.
"This is a man to marry." Though I hated to admit it, I had to agree with her. Don't get me wrong: David and I still had our issues. And sometimes the lifestyle divide between us felt as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon. After all, while I stressed about paying off $30,000 in college loans for the next 15 years, David spent that much on a monthly vacation.