I teased her about her childhood cotillion training, sure, but I was really just terrified that I would make some terrible, low-class mistake and embarrass myself.I'm ashamed to say that for most of that visit, I was insufferable.We had mutual friends and were both athletes at a small school, so even though I didn't know much about her at first, once she caught my eye it wasn't hard to ask around to find out more.
It was a Sunday though, and all the shops in town were closed.
Later that week, she told me she was glad we were prevented from going through with it. "And he told me 'If you put a hole in your nose, you lose ,000.'" I had three tattoos by then, and before the first my father had threatened to kick me out of the house. That she had a similar challenge and balked when a specific, quantifiable consequence could be issued bothered me to no end.
Not only can they not pick up guys in bars for fear of appearing on Page Six, they can’t shop online without knowing that somehow their profile will mysteriously appear on sites like Gawker, which will mock them mercilessly.
Or even worse—as in the case of Paula Zahn’s millionaire husband, Richard Cohen, who was caught using to date and dump women after telling them they were his “soul mate”—their dating peccadilloes and seemingly bad behavior also might be chronicled by the city’s tabloids.
It was never in public view of her family (who were incredibly gracious, lovely hosts of course), but in what little time we had alone I was sullen and silent, pouting because I felt overwhelmed by the mere idea of my presence among these impressive, educated, wealthy people. We broke up before winter break because she was studying abroad the next semester, but we decided to get back together and tried to make it work even while she was gone.
After a rocky few months apart, she returned for my graduation and ended things in its aftermath.
That car -- a tiny black stick-shift Audi TT -- came to encapsulate the best and worst parts of our relationship.
I loved it because we could spend hours in it together, driving around the small town outside the college, going on dates at hick restaurants, and killing time away from the suffocating campus.
So when I tell you that I was in a relationship with a woman and money was a huge factor in our dynamic, I can understand if you assume that I was more interested in what was in her purse than what was in her head or heart.
While I have to admit that I have my fair share of character flaws (vanity and arrogance coupled with spurts of crippling self-doubt -- I'm a writer, remember), I’m not quite that shallow.
I clung to my issues with her money in an ass-backward attempt to mask my own insecurities. But from my experience, when it comes to interpersonal relationships and someone you really care about, those boundaries only exist insofar as you allow them to.