There’s a thing a couple of my partners have done that I don’t understand: they agree to buy something for me for reasons of convenience, but when I go to pay them back they say “later.” Are they in fact wanting to give me the thing as a gift, but won’t say so outright for some reason? Is it that they find the exchange of money between partners awkward, and if so, why are they delaying that awkwardness by refusing payment and making me have to bring it up again some other time? It’s pissing me off.
Minx would sometimes spring for my half of the groceries to make things simpler for the cashier, and usually when I went to pay her back she’d say “Nah, just buy me dinner sometime.” I’m assuming the exchange of cash between lovers felt too, I dunno, businesslike, to her. Or maybe she just liked stockpiling free dinners, I dunno (she did accept the dinners when I offered them). Kinda strange to me, but no big deal.
The Pedant once helped me shop for a good pair of ear plugs (to wear out clubbing and whatnot). When it came time to pay, I took out my debit card but he quickly got in there and whipped out some cash, mumbling something to me about how he might as well do that and save me…some kind of charge, I couldn’t really hear him. He said I could pay him back later. There isn’t any kind of charge for using a debit card to pay for something; I see no advantage to using cash (unless the store seems kinda shady, which this one did not). I tentatively decided that perhaps this was his weird way of buying me a gift. I never actually brought up the prospect of paying The Pedant back, and he never said anything more about it.
Also, on several occasions The Pedant and I went to a movie and he did the whole “I only have a fifty on me. Do you have anything smaller?” dance – as though he was going to get me to give him my exact change and then pay for both of us, to get us through the ticket line faster – but when I held out my money to him he kind of awkwardly brushed me off, mumbling some excuse I couldn’t quite hear. If he wanted to treat me, why not just say so? We had a few times when we went to dinner and when the bill came he said “I’ve got this.” I know he’s capable of declaring an intent to pay for both of us.
The Bunny and I once stopped at the grocery store on the way to his place. He bought things with which to make us dinner, and I had a sudden craving for brie and found a little wheel of it on sale for around five bucks. When we were in line – my lone cheese wheel on the conveyor belt, bracketed between two of those plastic separator bars – The Bunny said “just put it with my stuff. It’ll be faster.” When someone says that, I never know whether it’s an offer to buy the thing for me, or literally just a means of getting through the checkout faster and they do want to be paid back. To be on the safe side, once we we’d trudged through the snow and were ensconced in his nice, warm apartment I said “Okay, hold on, I have cheese money for you” and reached for my wallet. He said “Oh, just pay me back later.” But…my wallet was in my hand. With the $5 I owed him inside it. Why should I wait some arbitrary amount of time to give it to him? Or, if he meant he was fine just getting the brie for me, why didn’t he flap his hand dismissively and go “Don’t worry about it” – which I am given to understand is the standard response in that situation?
The brie only cost five bucks, and it really did seem like The Bunny was ready to let it slide, so I didn’t bother bringing it up again and he didn’t either. But now there’s been another incident: I was ordering a wig from my favourite sex toy site and wanted to figure out something else to buy in order to bump my total high enough to qualify for free shipping. Initially I was looking at strap-on silicone dicks (I think I need something more curved and slender than the ones I have now, for The Bunny’s comfort) and texted The Bunny asking whether he prefers a toy with a “head” on it or not. Turns out he had plans of his own to get me a new dick, and was flustered that I was kind of interfering with this. I explained about the free shipping thing and he said to hold off until I saw him the next day, and he’d order the wig on his card – along with other stuff that interested him – and we’d get the free shipping that way. So we did this – he ordered on his credit card and yet invited me to put my own address in as the delivery address – and when I said “Okay, I have wig monies in my wallet, let me go get them for you” he said “Meh, pay me later. It’s not like I don’t know where you live.”
So, again, I have money right fucking there that I am offering to get for him – money that in fact I brought with me for this exact purpose – and he tells me not to give it to him. Except he doesn’t say to forget about it entirely, he says to pay him later. The wig is $30 – not an insignificant amount – and I’m buying it for work (some of the art classes I pose for are costumed and my own punk hairdo somewhat limits the range of characters I can portray), not as a prop for our sex life together. If he’d told me outright that he wanted to purchase the wig for me, I would happily have accepted, but he didn’t and under the circumstances I don’t want to assume. I guess I’ll try again to pay him once the goods are delivered.
The thing he opted to buy along with my wig was the Njoy Purewand, btw. It’s unclear to me whether he got this with his ass in mind or my vagina (I do recall expressing an interest in the wand for my lady parts, once upon a time) or who will keep custody of it. I’ll be mightily interested to see how this plays out.
But yeah. The whole “Oh, just pay me later” thing when I practically have the money in my hand right now – WTF DOES IT MEAN?