Just the tip

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Just the tip

Dating as a grownup is…how shall I put it, mortifying. It’s like I’m still in junior high school, and yet I own a house. I have zits and wrinkles and an audience comprised of the trio of girls that I gave birth to. You think your friends in jr high could embarrass you, meet my daughters. My daughters think it’s hilarious that I date. They like to sing that ” mom and SO and so sitting in a tree” and say ” is he your boyfriend?” like Heather from “Heathers”. On the odd occasion that I might walk outside our house to say goodnight, they sit, faces pressed against the window giggling and then ambush me when I return. It’s like I’m always at a sleepover. I hope they don’t put my bra in the freezer.
Peanut gallery aside, I don’t know the rules of dating anymore. Do I pay? Does he pay? Honestly I think I’ve been on one “date” in about a year and when the bill arrived I panicked. Do I reach for it? Should I lunge for it like a jungle panther, smile smugly. I’m a modern woman. Does that threaten his masculinity? Maybe I should just throw it onto the floor like a flaming idol and see who dives for it first. Fortunately my date grabbed it pretty quickly and directly. But I felt more panicked. It feels weird for someone to buy me food in exchange for conversation. So I awkwardly mumbled thank you, like it was an embarrassing secret that he had paid. Now, do I offer to pay for the tip? Words felt like cotton in my mouth. What’s wrong with me? Maybe I’m having a stroke, a money issue induced stroke. He’s counting money, I looked away as though he’s looking at a pornographic picture. I considered tossing money on the table as though he’s a cheap hooker, or like it fell from the sky. That’s it I’ll throw a five on the table then look up at the sky with equal parts amazement and dumbfounded-ness.
That’s when I realized that my date is standing next to the table asking if I need help with my coat. I wondered if there was drool on my chin and then fumbled for my coat. He was still talking normally as though my life hadn’t just flashed before my eyes. Maybe he didn’t notice.
He walked me to the car where we stood weirdly far from each other and he said perhaps we could do it again. In retrospect I imagine he was just trying to figure out a polite way to leave that did not involve breaking into a sprint. However, I was still a little woozy from the whole paying thing, so, I nodded or grunted. And before I had to have a new breakdown over what to do with my hands, which were currently holding a to-go box full of a salad that I would never eat, he walked away. He didn’t even end the date with a pat on the back. I guess he noticed.
Well if I ever do go on another date I will offer to pay, but just the tip.

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