Invoicing your date, and other peril$

Last month in New York, a man paid for pricey dinner with his blind date, then later attempted to bill his date for her half of the meal when she didn’t go out with him a second time. Lest you think this is just a retread of a famous urban legend, this blog tells the whole story, including actual voice mails from the man in question, his words becoming somewhat legendary in themselves:

“You ate the food, you drank the wine. Do the right thing.”

The story is hilarious in itself, but what really intrigued me were the many comments on the blog discussing the expectations of those who pony up for a meal or drinks. Predictably, the opinions fall more or less along gender lines: a few men tend to believe that one party (usually a woman) “owes” something - a second date, conversation - when the other party (usually a man) pays for dinner or a drink. On the other hand, most women (and many men as well) say that dating is a crapshoot, and don’t offer to pay for anything unless you can afford to get jack-squat in return.

As for my part, I was shocked - shocked! - to read that buying someone a drink in a bar is “code” that you are effectively renting them for several minutes of quality conversation.

Dude, if you want to talk to me, come up and talk to me! Then if I [del]blow you off[/del] (lemme rephrase that) give you the cold shoulder, you’ve saved your 8 bucks. If buying a drink is a way of breaking the ice (and, admittedly, it can be charming), understand that it will not override any character flaws or objectionable behaviors you exhibit between the drink purchase and my “thank you.” If I’m thoroughly turned off two seconds into the drink, I retain the right to walk away (and keep the drink). As someone in the comments mentions, “the drink is payment for your interruption.”

What do you all think about the use of monetary “codes” rather than straight-up asking if they want to chat or go on another date? And this being a rather heterosexist debate, do you homos find yourselves with similar communication/financial conflicts in the dating world?

While I don’t think people have the right to expect conversation, I think it’s dishonest to accept a gift if you aren’t acting in good faith–you say that if you are totally turned off in two seconds, you can walk away–that’s fine. But what if you are turned off before he even hands the drink to you/orders it/whatever? I think in that case, you ought not accept the drink. Nor should someone accept a meal/concert tickets/whatever from someone if their attitude going into it is that the company is a terrible burden to be endured for the sake of a free meal/concert/whatever. I mean, a date is exploratory in nature, but I think there is an understanding that you are at least open to the possiblity of persuing a relationship of some type.

If you dont want to spend that kind of money on someone you dont even know don’t volunteer to take them someplace expensive. What made him think he was owed a second date by a woman he had never met before?

What a tool. If you ask a gal out, you pay. It’s that simple. If things work out, and a relationship develops, splitting expenses is fine…but otherwise, it’s just the chivalrous thing to do. If the gal does the asking, then the situation gets a little trickier. I might let her pay for the main activity, if she offers…but I’ll pick up the tab for the incidentals.

Rule one: If you’re making as much money as the other person is, offer to pay half the time. Adjust this rule based on income disparity.

Rule two: After you offer and the other person refuses, he or she has forfeited any chance of asking for the money later. What a tool.

I’m okay with my girlfriend making 3x as much money as I do. I’m more okay with it when she pays for dinner or puts gas in my tank (since I’m the one with the car).

It may not be old-fashioned chivalry but it’s modern equality. Which do you prefer?

The worst part is, IIRC, the woman in the linked story actually offered to pay during the date and was turned down, making the man an even larger tool.

In my opinion, if you ask, you pay. If you were asked, you can offer to split or not offer to split. Either way, if the date sucked, no one is obligated to do it again.

Buying my dinner is not buying my time. It’s buying my dinner.

On the other hand, she did consent to a date with a man who blatantly misused an apostrophe in his J-date profile:

What did she expect, really?

Hear, hear!

I’ve gone on dates where the guy refused to let me pay for anything, he’d come with little cash, we were someplace that didn’t take cards, and the night ended up being cut short when he couldn’t have any more drinks (being almost out of money) and I was wouldn’t (because I wasn’t going to let him spend his last dollars on my soda when my wallet held $100).

I’ve also gone on dates where the guy refused to let me pay for anything, then we got to my house and he claimed he should be allowed in because he’d paid for everything. And all this time I thought I looked like a nice girl! You want to pay per the minute, get a hooker.

I thought the rule was to do something middle-of-the-road on the first date. If he felt the need to impress her with a fancy-schmancy dinner, oh well…

Letter From An Occupant lyrics

[copyrighted lyrics deleted]

[Moderator underoos on]Sorry, but posting the entire lyrics is a possible copyright violation. Next time, just use a small snippet from the song or include a link.[/Moderator underoos on]

It makes me really uncomfortable. Please don’t do that, thanks.

What is “Jdate”?

Online dating website for Jewish singles.

I agree with this more than the “s/he who asks, pays” philosophy. I like to ask people to do things - a play or concert, say - that I can afford to pay for me, but not for both of us. Does that mean I can’t suggest doing something fun because I can’t foot the whole bill?

Personally, it’s never been a big issue for me. It always seems to even out. No matter who suggests the date, one person will have more cash on hand, or is making more money at the time, or feeling generous, or whatever. The other picks it up the next time. Of course this works best with people who have known each other a while or are seeing each other regularly.

When I’m dating someone new, I always assume we’re going dutch, and will pull out my wallet when the check shows up. If he insists on paying, fine. I’m not going to argue. If we date each other a while, I’ll end up paying for plenty of dinners.

I had to go check out the link. This sounded kind of like a guy I met 15 years ago. We’d met in a book store, and he asked me out. Met up at a bar. He bought me a drink, and then started getting really pushy and weird. So after about 45 minutes, I said good bye and walked to my car. The guy followed me out to the street screaming about how he had paid for my drink and even shoved me at one point. So I threw a $5 on the ground and drove away. I later heard that another woman brought him up on charges for assault, in a similar incident. Good for her.

The rule is, the asker should make it clear which it is. “Would you like to go to … with me?” can be ambiguous: is it or is it not an offer to pay?

And as to the original subject, if I offer to treat you to a meal or drinks or a show or something, either as a date or just as a friend, this means I want to spend time with you and am willing to spend some money to make this happen. In return, I am owed nothing more than basic courtesy—e.g. don’t treat me rudely (unless I do something to deserve it), don’t sit and talk on your cell phone all through dinner, don’t accept my offer if you know ahead of time you don’t really want to be around me but you just want the free meal, etc. And the fact that I’m paying doesn’t exempt me from showing basic courtesy to you.