Once upon a time, a prospective suitor asked me out for dinner. We were going to go to a food pub I knew quite well and liked a lot. In particular, I liked their Thai fish cakes. I was looking forward to the date, and I was also looking forward to having some fish cakes.
When we got there, the dude got stumped ordering. He was torn between some kind of roast beast and chicken. I explained that I couldn’t recommend either as I hadn’t tried them, but everything there was good, and I was going to have the fish cakes. The dude continued to lament that he couldn’t possibly pick. The waitress came and went a few times, then gave up on us. I couldn’t do anything to help his decision making, as I repeatedly explained to him, but I was having the fish cakes.
The dude eventually suggested that we should get the two things he couldn’t decide between, and split them. I said, again, that I fancied the fish cakes. He became increasingly offended by my refusal to be flexible. He was buying, after all. If everything was nice there, why was I so difficult? Didn’t I want to try new things? Was I more interested in the food than in having a nice evening? As I was less invested in having fish cake than I was in eating that side of Christmas, and I could see the kitchen shutting before he’d made his damn mind up, I finally whatevered.
When the two dishes arrived, he tried both, picked the one he liked best, and left me with the other one. No questions, no discussions, nothing. He just saw fit to give me what he liked the least, with no consideration whatsoever for my tastes and preferences.
The rest of the date did not go well, although it went better than it could have. I didn’t stab him in the eye with a fork, for instance. However, while five years in boarding school and five years of living below the breadline have cured me of food-related fussiness for life, I was vexed. The problem wasn’t the food per se (it was lovely, though it was not fish cake), but his behaviour. He’d manifested a complete lack of interest in what I wanted and the clear belief that his preferences mattered more than mine.
There wasn’t another date, because I didn’t want one. We never adequately debriefed that one, so he became convinced that I was an unyielding, fish-obsessed asshole. Who is stupid enough to throw away a chance romantic happiness over a main course? I didn’t disabuse him of his conclusion. Even if I’d been willing to commit the necessary time and energy to explaining to him what had really happened (which I wasn’t, because sod that), I’m not sure it would have been possible.
People who genuinely come at given social interactions with a belief in their superior entitlement, in the obvious primacy of their needs and wants, cannot be told that other people’s wishes also matter. There is no room in their believe system to accommodate that fact. In particular, they cannot be told this (or anything else, for that matter) by those they have firmly classed as their inferiors. They will only listen to their equals, and, if they believe they are absolutely special, to no one at all.