So THIS is what it feels like to be a contestant on 'The Bachelor'.
My first over-the-phone conversation with the lawyer should have set the red flags a-wavin'. He had a very specific list of rules for women he dated:
• No chipped nail polish.
• Must maintain slim, hourglass body.
• Must be fashionable and put together.
• Women were not allowed to go number two at his house. Or use the master bathroom for any reason.
• Sex usually happens in the first two weeks.
Um, what? Is this real life?
Naturally, because I have the ability to HEAR, I wanted to cancel, but my commitment to keeping my word stopped me.
I was also going on the strength of a close, female friend and family member who set us up.
"Worst case scenario, I go on this date, and he likes me. I'll school him on women and leave," I confidently told my secretary. She nodded at me like I was the craziest, most vindictive woman on earth as I walked out the office. Maybe I was.
I wore a black sheath with leather inserts, black Christian Louboutin stilettos and topped it off with a Gucci Boston bag into Ruth Chris Steakhouse. He, on the other hand was wearing a blue Polo shirt, jeans and dirty shoes. The 40-year-old never-married bachelor stood about 5'10", 300 lbs.
We sat. Well, I sat. He gauged and assessed. I smiled and was reminded of my old pageant days. I felt like I was being judged on style of dress, facial beauty, fitness and personality. Could I cook? Did I want to get pregnant right away? Was I willing to keep up with his endless calendar of social events? I was being judged on seemingly everything - and when I dared to ask what the "prize" was for the woman who met all his requirements, he explained, "She gets to be with me."
And that’s when it happened.
"So what's your pitch?" he asked me over my filet and shrimp. "Women usually have a pitch as to why I should choose to date them."
Jaw. Drop. It takes two to tango, sweetheart.
"I don't have a pitch. I’m not for sale," I said calmly. His eyes glazed over across the table, as though he'd gone to a timeshare presentation that fell short of his expectations, and he'd wasted two hours of his life.
He later went on to tell me he provides gas money for women without means to see him. But if he gives you gas money, you don’t get dinner or anything, just a little sex for your trouble.
"Even professional women like you have a pitch," he pushed back.
"I was on the phone with you last night for an hour and a half," I said. "We've been here for another hour. If you don't have an idea of what I have to offer as a partner by now, you never will."
He looked at me in complete shock.
"So I don't get anything," he laughed.
"Nope," I quipped as I took the last bite of my food, turned those stilettos of mine, and walked out.
Men like the laywer were the exact reason I had taken a break from dating. Because I didn't want to sit like some vendor at a trade show with my jewelry on the table, shined to perfection for anyone I might be able to make a sale to. I shouldn't have to explain that I'm a professional woman with my own things and can make a knock-your-socks-off lasagna. I can wear an evening gown or a bikini, both equally well. I clean, decorate and teach Bible School to second graders. Oh yeah, and the presidential suite hasn’t had many guests, as my southern mother would say. Surely, if I had a pitch, it might sound something like that. But the truth is, my pitch is for ME. It's for me to remind myself that I'm worth it, as L'Oreal would say.
But what I am not? I am not an item someone checks off a grocery list, with the expectation that if I'm "chosen," I best walk up, smile, and take my sash because I won the pageant.
The date (obviously) ended, but to my amazement he pursued the hell out of me for another three weeks. I resisted, and the cherry on the top was when he told me that he’d already 'laid off' other women for me. Well, in that case...KIDDING.
I didn't buckle, I didn't bite.
Because I am not — and never will be — for sale.