Being the bleeding heart I am, I stayed and tried not to hurt his feelings. “Oh,” I said. “How nice of you.” “You’re surprised.” “One way to describe it.” “Well,” he chuckled. “You don’t think men ask you to dinner because they want to eat, do you?” “Actually,” I told him, starting to feel peeved. “I do. And I certainly don’t expect them to ask me to become their kept woman. Why would I want that for myself?” “You’re a starving artist,” he answered. “You stay in hostels when you travel and can’t afford expensive dinners.
Stick with me and you get the Sheraton and prime rib.” The Sheraton, I thought. What a gyp. Still, I wondered. What if all the things I’ve sacrificed to live this artsy, not-for-profit life – good wine, exotic travel destinations, clothes that don’t come off the sale rack – were suddenly provided by a sexy rich dude who just happened to be older than the hills? What if the Prof really did look like Robert Redford? What if he paid off my debt and offered up a better hotel? Would I have considered his indecent proposal? Anyway, the point was moot as I wasn’t sitting across from the Sundance Kid. I was sitting across from the Slobbery Grandfather taunting me with a pervy grin. Here was a guy who spent a lifetime defending the world’s political underdogs and fighting the powers that be. Yet, he couldn’t see how asking a young woman for a roll in the hay in exchange for a good cut of meat might be a tad dehumanizing.
Even more maddening was the recognition of how often these scenarios occur. One of my girlfriends had a married father of two begging her to become his piece on the side. A guy that refused to give my female colleague the relationship she wanted, still expected her to be available for late-night trysts. Most men are decent human beings who bow out upon realizing they can’t provide what a woman needs, but there are still those who want what they want and don’t consider what’s in it for the other person. Obviously, women do, too, though they don’t usually ask anyone to give up love and real companionship in order to become some chump’s sex toy. El Profesor played it cool when I turned down his offer and our friendship gradually petered out. Since then, whenever I make my way to the back of department stores toward the discount racks, or skip an appetizer I can’t afford, I pride myself on being the kind of gal who’d never go for the Prof’s kind of proposal. Though truth be told, if I’m still paying off this dag-blasted student loan in ten years, he may just get a call.