Yesterday, I took my friend, Justin to lunch. We wanted to celebrate his last week in Monterey since Justin is visiting from New York.
Justin is liberal with modern and progressive views. He is your typical New Yorker; fancy, sophisticated, complicated, fun, energetic, inclusive and engaging.
We headed to Ambrosia; an Indianan restaurant that offers a verity of vegetarian and meat-based dishes. The place is warm and cozy, the food is delicious, and the service is excellent.
“This is great! Excellent choice. I like this place.” Justin said.
“I am glad you like it. It is nothing like the fancy places you have in New York.” I replied
“I know. That is why I like it.” Justin said.
We decided to sit outside enjoying the beautiful weather: light ocean breezes, blue skies, and the sunshine.
I had the chicken curry and Justin had the Basmati rice and the curry vegetables. We were both served with the Indian Chai.
Justin had a hard time understanding the Indian accent of the server. When we started eating, Justin commented, “Misunderstanding his accent, misunderstanding women, what else could I miss?” Justin smiled but I felt he was uncomfortable.
“What is going on, Justin, women are giving you trouble?” I said.
“Not all women,” said Justin.
I looked at Justin encouraging him to speak up
“Only one, one woman in particular,” he said.
“What’s going on with that one? Come on. I want to know all about her,” I asked.
Justin smiled and said “I like her. But…..”
“Go on,” I said.
“She won’t tell me that she likes me!” Justin explained.
“What? You want her to tell you that she likes you?” I said.
“Yes. Why not? Why can’t she tell me that she likes me?” Justin said.
"Wow! Wait a minute. Do men in New York expect women to come and tell them they like them not the other way around?” I asked.
“Yes. What’s wrong with that?” Justin confirmed.
“Seriously, Justin, haven’t read you Cinderella? Women like to feel wanted and sought after.” I explained.
“Mishka, we are in New York in the 21st century and you’re still talking about Cinderella! Come on now. Nowadays, women tell men they like them if they really do.” Justin said.
“Yes, but I still believe in Cinderella. All women do. We want you, guys, to tell us that you like us. We want you to give us flowers, take us out, and pay us compliments. We want that and more.” I explained.
“ Why do women make things complicated?” Justin expressed his frustration.
“What? We make things complicated, are you sure about that?” I said.
“Yes, I am. What more does she want? I took her to a fancy place and paid for it all. Why would I do all of that if I don’t like her? She should have said something” Justin said with a bit of disappointment.
“I think she said the same thing; she went out with you, dressed up for you, spent the evening talking to you, smiled and laughed at your jokes, but you didn’t tell her that you liked her.?” I explained.
“How do you know? Perhaps, she is out with another man?” Justin expressed his concerns.
“Jealous! I see. You really like her.” I said.
“I am not jealous. I just don’t want her to go out with another man.” Justin confirmed.
“Why? After all, she is not committed to you. You’re not exclusive” I said reminding Justin.
“What? It is not about that, if she is interested she shouldn’t be talking to any other man” Justin said.
“Wow! What happen to ‘the 21st century?’ Women can go out with other men before they commit to one. Admit it, Justin, you like her. You like her a lot. You should tell her.” I said.
Justin didn’t say anything. But I felt he was thinking about it as we were finishing our rice pudding to conclude our meal.
After we went our separate ways, I kept thinking about our conversation. Inside each modern man, there is still a bit of the old-fashioned one. The fresh and up-to-date version of him wants the lady to approach him, tell him she likes him, and perhaps ask him out. Yet, the classic and more conservative version of the same man wants the lady to be his even before asking.
I don’t know which version I like more, the classic or contemporary. But I think Justin should tell his lady that he likes her.