Day 523 – An Age Old Question

bill payThere are many awkward phases of a date, even on a date that is going really well. When you first meet, hand shake or cheek kiss? End of the night, cheek kiss or mouth kiss? But I always find one of the most awkward parts to be when the bill arrives.

In my very long (god help me) experience of dating, if the man accepts your offer to pay half, or lets you pick up the entire bill, especially on a first date, it’s a fairly strong sign he’s not interested*. I’ve had a date stand over with me with his hand out whilst I counted out $3.50 for a skim cappuccino. I had another man call me and say “I would really love to take you out for dinner”. He chose the restaurant and it was our second date. When the bill arrived he carefully added up what I had consumed and informed me down to the cent how much my portion of the bill was. That was also our last date.

For the most part, I always offer to pay half. I am employed, I can pay for my own meal, and for the most part, the guy usually says, that’s fine, I’ve got it. But this did not happen last night.

There has been a bit of communication break down between me and the man I went out with last night. We’ve met a few times for coffee and nothing ever happened so I assumed it was just a friend thing, whilst he, apparently, assumed we were dating. I wrote about this a couple of posts ago. So we sorted things out and confirmed that we would go out on an actual date. I was having a really nice time. I leaned right into the date and enjoyed two very pleasant glasses of wine, even though they came in stemless wine glasses, the most pretentious of dining trends since the truly vile serving of food on boards. Forgive me, that had to be said.

So as he was paying the bill, I offered to contribute, and he said yes and tucked my cash very swiftly into his wallet! I cannot tell you how quickly my evening plummeted after that. I suppose I could have not offered any money at all, he certainly didn’t ask for it, but the fact that he took it rather than offering to treat me to dinner made me feel as though he wasn’t interested in me.

Now you may accuse me of being sexist, but I don’t think I am. Do I think a man should pay simply because he is the man? No, I don’t. I think that whoever pays is dictated not by gender but by circumstance. I recently went on a couple of dates with a man who paid both times. I thanked him and said that I really didn’t expect him to automatically pay for me. He said it was fine, he gets paid well and he knew that I am supporting two children on my own. I felt this was very thoughtful and made me feel special. The fact that I’ve never heard from him again has taken the shine off a bit but these things happen.

Last night it didn’t feel great not to be treated. The chap I was with has no dependents and is gainfully employed. When he accepted my offer, it sort of felt like he was saying “I have no interest in impressing you, you’re nothing special to me”. And yet, he opened the car door for me on each occasion. You can see my confusion right?

So I put it to you dear reader, should I see this chap again? Should I tell him how his behaviour made me feel? Should I just stay at home and pledge my true love to Netflix? Or should I give him just one more chance?

*An addendum:  turns out my previous experience was correct.  Next!

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8 thoughts on “Day 523 – An Age Old Question

  1. What an interesting blog. I’m so old that when I dated the men paid for everything even though I was working full time in a good job. I am not advocating for that however as I know times have well and truly changed. my first reaction was, I think I would have just let him pay and made some remark at the end of the evening like. “Thank you I really enjoyed tonight, maybe next time it could be my treat. Or just thank him and before the meal the next time say something like” I’d like to buy the wine tonight.
    My concern is that assumptions are being made when the rules of the game are not understood by both players.

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    • Thanks for your comment and welcome 🙂

      I think you have a point about assumptions being made. A part of me wishes I hadn’t offered but then another part of me thinks that had I not done so, I may not know what I know now… or at least what I think I know.. that perhaps he’s just not the right fella for me!

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  2. I would assess the situations by focussing first on whether he is the type of man you want to be with.

    The door opening gesture is, to me, a sign that this man is likely to have good manners and education. You’re on a date, not rushing to get out to Bunnungs, and the it is sweet to mark the occasion by opening the car door. I open the door for my guests, girlfriends included, if I’m driving us about on a special occasion. It it simply sweet.

    The type restaurant that you went to and the arrangements indicate that it was implicit that he was taking you out. I think that it was polite of you to offer. His acceptance of your money without objection or negotiation is, for me, a sign that he either isn’t aware of the financial inequities between you or he is aware and accepts this a situation for which you are each individually responsible. Either way, he gets strikes out.

    The man that you want to invest in (excuse the pun) is a man who has insight and is willing to share the burdens and highs of life. At this stage of dating, it would be expected that he pay the bill and suggest that if you want to go to a less expensive place next time, it would be fair enough that you pay.

    Door opening or not, the fact that you’re questioning this indicates to me that you’re not sure. You’ve got better odds backing a winner investing in a lotto ticket.

    I haven’t dated anyone new for a while. But when I am asked to go out to catch up with friends, I am up front about my financial situation without being a bummer for everyone. I say, “I would love to go, but I can’t afford a night out just now.” If someone offers to pay and they can afford to pay, I have learned to say thank you and enjoy the night without feeling guilty. Hey, we both get spoiled. I’m good company! 😉

    Good luck!! X

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    • Thanks for the comment WWP. I really do think that the not paying thing was indicative of his not being that into me. Full stop. I am unsure as to whether I will see him again. But I think you’re right. Lack of insight is not a good sign.

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  3. I think this is a minefield. The end of a meal is always an awkward moment – there are some men who don’t like it if you do offer to pay your half and some who don’t like it if you don’t. I’d only judge someone about this if it always happened. I don’t like playing games, so if I ask if someone would like me to pay half, then I don’t then think it’s right to feel offended if they say yes. Even though he is in a well-paid job with no dependants, we can’t make assumptions about what his financial position is – he could have all sorts of money problems he doesn’t discuss. I always offer, because I’m willing to pay for myself. I feel like – in this dating game, we all know how many dates (and sometimes years) it takes to find the right person. What if there was an expectation that – just because you’re a man – you should pay? That’s a pretty expensive process right there. I think, give him a chance if you liked him apart from this – and next time you go out, if you don’t feel you should, or don’t want to pay, then don’t offer 🙂

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    • Oh I think all of the points you make are perfectly valid. I think there was probably a sort of gut instinct thing going on as well because quite frankly, he didn’t make me feel special. There’s been some discussion today which has confirmed what I felt.. that he wasn’t that interested in me. In my last relationship we went halves in absolutely everything. But he still (at least until near the end) made me feel special.

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