Rufus is hanging out in the dark gallery, still not having called Allison. He finally sighs and dials it, and of course a dude answers. He hangs up, laughs at himself, and dials again, because obviously it wasn't Allison's number, but of course it was, so the guy answers again and Rufus finally asks for Allison. "Hold on a second, she just got out of the shower." The guy's name, we learn, is Alexander Bancroft. Of course it is. He stumbles around and finally tells Rufus he's "just a friend," but when Allison answers, Rufus hangs up. This is an adult, who in charge of his own business as well as the welfare of two children, doing this.
The vision of waiters clearing plates means a huge sigh of relief, because that means this awful portion of the date is over and we didn't even really have to see it. Serena asks if Dan wants some of her duck and bisque because his "entrée" was so small, and he just says it was amazing. Also revelatory: "I didn't realize, uh, fish could be creamed." Uncomfortable. Serena waves off the dessert menu, which Dan was planning on buying, but she's not having it, so he asks for the check. Which Serena finally has to admit she's already paid. Dan immediately goes to the obvious place ("You know, I can pay. It's not like I don't have the money") and Serena's like, "How do I say that we both know you don't?" but because she is awesome, she wants them both to get out alive: "I'm sure you do. You just shouldn't have to spend it here." Perfect answer. The solution to the Ski Trip Conundrum is realizing the difference between being aware of money and being hyperaware of money: Dan's still stuck in the trap of thinking money describes you, and Serena's still figuring out a way around that one, because she's never had to deal with it before. "I don't understand. Did I do something wrong?" And Serena explains herself in her usual awkward way: "No. Look, I wanted a date with you, just...not the date you thought I wanted. It's fine." And then Dan does something entirely surprising: he actually gets it. He takes the most sensible, awesome, romantic, believable approach, takes off his tie, and offers to take her out on a real date. Good boy!
"If it's a real Dan Humphrey date that you want, then it's a real Dan Humphrey date that you're gonna get. Let's go." Oh, man. I love that so much I think I want a Real Dan Humphrey Date. I love that this show took the easy way out, when usually this story (in real life, but especially TV) revolves around all kinds of weird masculinity issues and lots of fronting and bullshittery. I love, love that Dan would just, like, allow things to happen in a normal way. He's pretty awesome through the whole episode, actually, but this little reversal is really fun storytelling too. My friends make fun of me for loving this show because it's like being trained to be sympathetic to rich bitches, but the actual truth is this: Whatever the problem is, it's never money. Feeling sympathy for rich bitches like Serena is the exact same thing as feeling sympathy for poor bitches like Dan Humphrey, because the problem is never, ever money. That's your insecurities doing that. So: always have an up-to-date passport on your person, carry a gun when Chuck is around, and when bajillionaires invite you to dinner, let them pay for dinner and don't be weird. These are very important life lessons! Thank you, Gossip Girl!