As a career bar and restaurant guy, I've had my professional eye trained on the state of social-sexual politics for the past twenty-five years. Even so, it's hard to say whether we've evolved or devolved as an outgoing species. While the games remain basically the same, the rules have certainly changed, for better or worse.
One thing I've noticed in recent years is the dearth of young twenty-somethings doing the dinner date thing these days. So I asked my coed daughter and her steady to weigh in on the topic, perchance to shed some light.
Both she and he assure me that, in the eyes of "their generation" (gulp!), this is a farcically fusty ritual, practiced by social dinosaurs too primitive to appreciate the simpler pleasures of "just hitting Pepe's Tacos and hanging out."
I can see, of course, why boyfriend subscribes to this theory. Such drive-thru druthers come at quite a discount to him. When I was a young stud back in the day, I shelled out handsomely for the sit-down dinner prerequisite of every self-respecting Friday or Saturday night date. And for good reason.
"Besides, Dad," Daughter reminds me, "Guys paying for everything can come with certain expectations."
"Yep, that was pretty much my good reason," I say to myself, under my breath.
"I'd have to agree, Mr. W.," Boyfriend backs up my baby girl's point. "Guys can make assumptions about what their money's buying."
I shoot boyfriend a look. Trying to remember this is the same good kid I've known since he was a Little Leaguer, all I see instead is five feet and ten inches of talking penis.
"Do me a favor, Carl," I stop him short. "In the future, should you ever be present when my daughter and I broach the topic of sex, stay out of the conversation. And keep your money in your pants, Capise?"
Before I laugh out loud, I let the uncomfortable quiet in the room linger long enough to let Carl know I'm only half joking.
"So, what do you two have planned for this evening?" I say to further break the tension, before heading out to work. "Come in to the restaurant. I'll buy you dinner."
"We may stop in, Dad," Daughter says with a smirk. "But if we do, let me buy Carl's dinner. Then he'll owe me a little somethin' somethin' afterward."
You've got to love that girl's sense of humor (I think). She gets it from her old man.