I met this very classy French girl in college more than 10 years ago. I was pretty much a self-made guy without any family fortunes, but with pretty good prospects after graduation. I was hopelessly in love with her (that whole French freshness and femininity), and we became fairly serious. I even visited her family in Paris our junior summer. Her parents' estate was a virtual mansion—gardens, stables, servants, etc.—and I soon began to feel like I was "out of her league" (I hate that saying).
When she returned to France for good, our correspondence dwindled, and we soon fell apart. I was devastated to hear she was dating a wealthy Parisian banker.
Now, seven years later, I get a postcard from her saying she's returning to the States on some kind of magazine assignment and wants to see me. We have a quick lunch and catch up (she is still single), and I feel the rush. We make a dinner date for the next night. It is cordial, but as I profess my undying devotion and my current fortunes, I feel her ardor and interest wane. She excuses herself, says she is tired (so we don't sleep together), and leaves the next morning.
I always felt like her emotional and intellectual equal, but I felt her class consciousness might eventually interfere. Do you suppose I was being "tested" for financial viability one last time and failed? Or did I fail the "breeding" test long ago (one is never told that), and was everything—including this visit—a simple flirtation, the female equivalent of "Holidays drinking and dialing"?
The dictates of class are cruel; if a man is not wealthy, he has no intrinsic value. A man can marry down, but for a woman, it is an unpardonable sin.Flame-Broiled
Unless you're leaving a big chunk of this story out, I don't really get how you came up with this whole class thing being an issue—at least as far as she's concerned. There are a million possible reasons she didn't fuck you. I came up with several that might not have occurred to you:
•She's not attracted to you anymore.
•She wasn't up for a one-night stand with some guy she used to date.
•She found your insecurity off-putting.
Do you want me to go on? I can....
Men have a tendency to hang on to and romanticize the hell out of their first great love. While this is sort of cute, it's also kind of annoying. It's been seven years—methinks someone's been watching too many chick flicks. Your early to mid-20s are huge, transformative years. Neither of you is (hopefully) the same person you were back then. When I was 20, I had a foot-high Mohawk, 10 holes in one ear, another through my nose, and a boyfriend named "Shock"—a Florida-born nutcase of Cuban descent who spoke with a fake English accent. I have no idea what he's doing today, nor do I care. If he had suddenly called me seven years after the fact, I might've chatted, but if he'd professed his undying devotion (regardless of the size of his bank account), I'd have been more than a little skeeved. I'm guessing your girl thought she was in for dinner with a friend and was caught off guard by your declarations of love. After all, it had been seven years!
You can moan on about men being deemed worthless unless they're loaded, but, by the same token, I could complain how men won't consider dating a woman unless she's drop-dead gorgeous. What a cop-out. While it's true that some women aren't going to like you unless you can provide them with a tragic McMansion, a Big-Mac-sized rock, and a shiny new car, why would you want to go out with a gold digger like that? Most of us have far more down-to-earth standards.
And who's to say that your Parisian Princess was even that way? It sounds like you're the one who was threatened when you saw from whence she came. Blaming her lack of ardor on your shortage of shekels is both uncharitable and kind of silly. Man up and move on.
Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.