Romancing The Minimum Wage

Romancing The Minimum Wage

In which a fictional NYC singleton tries to decide whether to go left or right.

The decline of marriage over the last generation has helped create an emerging voting bloc of unmarried women that is profoundly reshaping the American electorate to the advantage, recent elections suggest, of the Democratic Party. What is far from clear is whether Democrats will benefit in the midterm contests this fall.

– The New York Times, July 2, 2014

My mother always told me he would come along, and when he did, I’d just know. But I’ve got two suitors on my hands (or should I say my co-op doorstep?) and I’m undecided. After a long dry spell in a city where many men have no clue how to court a woman, it’s pretty nice to be wooed by more than one party.

I met David Democratowitz at a happy hour a couple weeks ago on the Upper West Side. I was discussing Hillary’s chances for 2016 when he piped up: “It’s high time we elected a woman president,” adding he prefers Elizabeth Warren. David knows a lot about the Hobby Lobby case and made an interesting argument for why employer-covered healthcare should extend to birth control. Turns out, he’s a producer for MSNBC.

He was carrying one of those man bags, and I prefer a more macho style, but he was gorgeous: an Adam Levine type, slim with chocolate brown eyes and hair. My friend Rachel started teasing him that maybe the reason he cares so much about employers covering birth control is he wants to play around with every maideleh in Manhattan. (Rachel’s a lousy wing woman.)

I thought she’d scared him off but he circled back to me later, and we discussed President Obama’s Mideast policy. David didn’t run when I said I believe we must stop trying to appease Islamist radicals; also, he insisted he supports Israel’s right to self-defense. So I gave him my number, and he called the next day to set up a date: a Labor Day picnic in the park. What I liked most about him was he seemed to really listen, and when we disagreed, he didn’t seem intimidated — but turned on!

Though I was excited about David, I met this other man, Richard Republicovitz (Rich for short), in the Hamptons over the weekend. He’s tall, built, and seems to really know what he wants: he walked right up and asked me if I had plans for the following evening. (I was with some girlfriends and he bought Vodka cocktails for everyone). The next night he picked me up in his Jaguar. He’s a smooth driver, and we went to this beautiful all-organic restaurant owned by a Jewish family, where he explained he likes to support small businesses. I agreed. Then he started ranting about how President Obama used his Labor Day weekend radio address to make another pitch to raise the federal minimum wage and shouted, “The man won’t quit till he bankrupts this country!” I tried to say I don’t believe anyone working full time should be living in poverty, but he cut me off.

By that time, dinner had arrived (Sirloin steak for him, even though he knows I’m a vegetarian) and he asked if I wanted another glass of Sancerre. Rich didn’t strike me as a listener, and so I wasn’t feeling it, but after some delicious veggie lasagna, he suggested we share the apple crisp, and I figured I’d make the best of things.

I changed the subject to movies: turns out we both love the film “Wall Street”; Rich saw it as a little boy after his family emigrated from the former Soviet Union, and it inspired him to become a trader. But his real dreams, he said, are to be a family man and a philanthropist, helping people in Third World countries with seed money for small businesses and supporting Israel’s defense.

After dinner, we walked in the garden and he took my hands in his and started telling me how beautiful my eyes looked. I explained I’d never be comfortable in a relationship with a man who didn’t value my opinions. He looked a little cowed and apologized for not listening. I gave him a 10-minute lecture on how a living wage can actually incentivize people to work their way out of poverty — and then we kissed in the moonlight. What I really like about Rich — in addition to his raw masculine energy — is how hard he’s trying to meet me halfway, even though we disagree about a lot.

But David’s still in the picture. The Labor Day picnic was lovely. He brought a sampling of international foods including hummus and tabouli salad (“courtesy of our cousins the Arabs”) and the conversation flowed. He asked a lot of questions about my vegetarianism and yoga practice, and complimented my “natural look.” He made me laugh with his Bill O’Reilly impersonation, and when I lay down in his arms on the blanket, I felt I was home. (Plus he’s a great kisser.)

That was last week. Tuesday David and I saw the new Woody Allen film and walked home kissing and holding hands. It was great, and he seemed stunned when I didn’t invite him up. Then yesterday he texted, “Would like to see you if you’re around,” but didn’t pinpoint a day. So I texted, “Would you like to get together tomorrow?” and he texted back, “Would you?” It’s like he thinks he has me in the bag and doesn’t need to try!

Meanwhile, Rich has asked me on a proper dinner date for Saturday night. I like him, but we don’t have as much in common.

Anyway, hopefully I can choose before election time in November. If I can’t, I guess I can always stay independent.

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