Ainsley and I are eating fries and drinking wine in a French Bistro we frequent after our volunteer meetings. Tonight though she has been very quiet, eerily quiet, listening to me recap the Dr. Froggy date, a tale I am telling upon her request.
I reach for my wine and take a long, slow sip. I fully intend on being quiet until she again speaks. Ainsley dips a fry in ketchup and chews slowly. “I don’t mean to be ignorant and I won’t even pretend to understand your culture or how you deal with the pressure to conform and be someone else’s idea of you…but what haven’t you done for them? You worked in a family business, you majored in architecture, and now you’re gonna marry someone to please a bunch of people in India you don’t even like? How much do you have give up for them? And more than that – I can’t even see you with Dr. Froggy. You are one of the most energetic people I know and I don’t hear excitement in your voice. He sounds like a check box. College, done. Job, done. Marriage, done. I want you to tell me he is not a check box and I will let this go,” Ainsley says quickly, words rushing out of her mouth, fighting to be the one that dissuades me. And man oh man, I know I can be intimidating, so it is not often someone challenges me and holds the mirror to my face.
“And I guess – again, color me ignorant, I’m from Texas, fine, – but no offense you live in Manhattan. This is not Minnesota or India. The entire world lives in our city and it kinda bothers me that you limit yourself to the likes of Dr. Froggy and Town and Country. I don’t see you with either one of these guys. And some days I just wish you would date someone, anyone – just not Indian," Ainsley adds.
Luckily I stuffed a fry into my mouth and don’t have to immediately answer her. “And look I get it – living in the City is hard, really hard. The subways don’t always run, you have to carry your crap all over the place, people try to bomb us, most buildings don’t have laundry machines in the basement. But it is still an amazing place to live. And yes, for the right man I'd be okay with you giving up your life here, but, and this is just my two cents, I don’t think that man is Dr. Froggy," Ainsley says.