“Nice to meet you, Natalie.
What does your dad do?”
This was seriously the first thing Natalie was asked by her friend Matt’s dad at a backyard BBQ.
“My dad is a teacher…at a public school,” Natalie said, miffed at the question, deliberately emphasizing the “public school” part.
Matt’s dad stood there for a minute, unhappy with her father’s chosen profession.
“Your last name is Ballier, right?” he asked. “Are you related to a Walter Ballier? He’s a lawyer who works in my building.”
“Probably not,” Natalie said.
She tried to excuse herself but Daddy Warbucks pressed on.
He wasn’t impressed with the high school she attended (low brow), but her college choice — she was about to enter her second year — was acceptable.
Natalie and Matt were friends, and while she was pretty sure he was interested in her, they hadn’t so much as held hands at that point.
Matt was sympathetic that afternoon, rolling his eyes and saying, “Ok, dad. That’s enough,” after noticing how uncomfortable Natalie was. He steered her toward the grill to get a hamburger.
Natalie remembered thinking how his dad’s opening line could have really offended someone else.
Like, “I don’t know what my dad does, sir, I haven’t seen him since he walked out on me and my mom when I was two.”
“I don’t have a dad. I have two mommies.”
“He works at a sausage factory.” (A mutual friend’s dad actually does work at a sausage factory so this could have been an actual response.)
Natalie knew Matt’s family was rich, so she wasn’t completely thrown off, but really…she wasn’t even Matt’s girlfriend. They hadn’t even kissed.
And she hadn’t decided if she even wanted to kiss him.
He wasn’t the cutest guy she’d ever been out with, but he was nice enough and they had friends in common.
After the awkward BBQ, in which Natalie said a five-year-old asked Matt if he could open her soda “because she doesn’t want to break a nail,” they left and went to a neighborhood bar.
The next day, Matt called and asked Natalie if she wanted to go to dinner that weekend.
He picked her up at her parent’s house and he walked in and met her parents, who she noted, did NOT ask him about his father’s profession or his last name.
The restaurant was a surprise, Matt had said, and Natalie got really uncomfortable when they pulled up to the most expensive steak restaurant in the entire city.
She wasn’t dressed for steak. She was dressed for fish tacos.
“This is a really expensive restaurant,” Natalie said when they were seated. She certainly couldn’t afford it on her part-time summer job at a restaurant.
And she knew Matt didn’t have a job.
“It’s cool, I’ve got my dad’s credit card,” he said.
Of course he did.
They ended up having a really nice dinner, the nicest Natalie had ever eaten, with red wine and red meat, and then went to the same neighborhood bar for a beer, or two, or five.
Matt dropped her off later — no hand holding, no romantic kiss or anything — and Natalie figured he was just a friend who liked to spend money on fancy dinners and needed someone to accompany him.
SCORE, she thought.
The next day, Matt invited her to his parent’s house to watch the movie Jaws.
She could only stay for a little while because she had to go work at the restaurant, but still came over for the first half. When she stood up to leave, Matt said he’d walk her out.
Right when they got to her car, Matt pulled Natalie towards him and planted a kiss on her, which she said wasn’t exactly good.
She was surprised and shocked and she was wearing a “shapeless polo shirt” (haha) for work and why didn’t he kiss her on their date…or after a few beers?
It didn’t work. The romantic window had closed and
he was a bad kisser she now considered him a friend.
“I’m sorry, I’m…not interested in you like that,” she said. “And I have to go to work.”
And with that she rushed into her (used) car and sped off, away from his parents’ fat mansion.
He didn’t text or call her for two days. She didn’t either. What was she supposed to say? The whole thing was awkward.
That weekend, she went back to the neighborhood bar with her friends, including me.
Not surprisingly, there was Matt, drunk, at the bar with his friends.
Natalie walked up to him first.
“Hey,” she said. And then she said something like, “I’m sorry about Wednesday…”
That’s when he blew up at her.
“You know, IT’S ALL RIGHT THAT YOU DIDN’T WANT TO KISS ME,” he said loudly, for everyone to hear, including the bartender. “Because you’re too LOW CLASS for me anyway.”
We all stood there in shock. The shithead was specifically talking about the difference in their parents’ tax brackets.
“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?” Natalie demanded, screaming.
“Oh, YEA!” Matt said arrogantly. “My dad’s tellin me not to mess with you, my mom’s tellin me not bring you out to steak dinners anymore.”
“I DIDN’T ASK TO GO TO DINNER THERE! YOU CHOSE THAT PLACE!” Natalie yelled.
Then she ran outside to the back deck of the bar, and unfortunately didn’t get to hear our mutual feisty friend scream, “YOU KNOW WHAT’S ‘LOW CLASS’ ASSHOLE? CALLING A GIRL LOW CLASS BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T WANT TO MAKE OUT WITH YOU!”
And then that friend called him ugly and pointed out that no amount of money could fix that.
The argument got really heated, to the point where Matt’s friends collected him and they all left, because really, he was the BUTT in the situation.
And we were all underage.
We then had to calm Natalie down, who was mortified and embarrassed — as she should have been — to have an ugly guy yell at her that she’s “low class” because her pauper parents didn’t live in a mansion.
Everyone shunned Matt for the rest of the summer and we all went back to our respective colleges in the fall.
No one heard from Matt again until February — during Mardi Gras, when he sent Natalie a text message:
“Do you want to come to a Mardi Gras ball with me? I can buy you a dress if you don’t have one.”
It was an insulting message, one she didn’t respond to, but it still made her laugh that after six months of zero contact, Matt didn’t have any other girl to ask.
All that money couldn’t buy him a girlfriend?
STAY CLASSY, BUDDY.