WalletI feel like a traitor to my feminist values to admit this, but I expect the guy to pay for the first date. I know, I know!  That is the lone issue about which I’m a traditionalist and perhaps it comes from my father.  He has taught me myriad important lessons: respect for nature, how to ride a bike, and that men should always pay for the first date, no exceptions. My dad is a true product of the 1950′s and he has long instructed me to leave my wallet at home when I go on a first date (not figuratively—literally don’t bring any cash because the man should pay and that’s that). While I agree with my dad, I’ve chosen to ignore his suggestion and show up on first dates with my wallet … just in case.

Recently, I went on a date with a handsome fellow Brooklynite. He had arrived on foot to the date since he lived nearby and it was an unseasonably warm evening (note that he walked, so didn’t have to deal with a subway pass or cash for a cab—store that tidbit away for later). We had planned to meet at a local bar of my choosing, but there was a private event at that venue, so we walked around a bit and ended up at my favorite Italian restaurant and wine bar. We sat at the lovely marble bar and ordered wine (by the glass). I suspect that neither of us wanted to order a full bottle and strap in for the potential hour’s worth of stilted conversation with a stranger we weren’t sure if we liked yet, so we took it glass by glass, which adds up quickly. After quite a few glasses, he suggested that we split an entrée and I rolled with the punches even though I wasn’t especially hungry.

Conversation was good, but I wasn’t sure whether or not a second date was in our future, so when the check arrived I was going to see how he played it and, against the rules of my dad, I was planning to offer to pay for half. In my sophisticated and somewhat illogical hierarchy of principles, letting a guy who I’m not sure I’m interested pay for a first date is a worse offense than a guy I am interested in not offering to pay for a first date. I just never want to take advantage of anyone and that’s how I’d feel if I had let him pay for everything with no assurance that we’d see each other again. So in this instance, I was ready and willing to go Dutch.

The check arrived and I began my elaborate routine of digging through my purse to look for my wallet while waiting for him to stop me because he’d inevitably insist on paying. That’s just the dance of the first date. But I truly wanted to pay for half, so I’d offer that and insist and we’d see where the chips fell on the floor of this wine bar, so to speak. My purse digging routine went on for a while and he said nothing to shoo me away from searching for my wallet. Rather, HE spent an inordinate amount of time digging through his jacket pockets and emptying their contents onto the bar: his apartment keys, his iPhone, his ear buds. Each item was carefully and deliberately pulled out of the pockets as though he were a prosecutor presenting his evidence to the jury. After this display he uttered something that sounded a line of dialogue from an unconvincing actor,“Huh…well I must have left my wallet at home.”

“Oh my goodness! Did you lose it?  Can you remember when you last had it?” I reacted with enough emotion for both of us, as one normally does when one’s wallet is suddenly missing.

“I had it at my apartment before I left … I’m sure I did. I must have just left it at my apartment. This is embarrassing,” he said with suspiciously flat affect.

I squinted my eyes and stared at him as I attempted to read the situation.  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was an honest person who had genuinely, accidentally left his wallet at home. After all, he had walked to our date so the facts lined up that he wouldn’t have realized his wallet was missing until now, $100 worth of wine and food later.

But the no-nonsense city gal in me chimed in, Come on, Selena—isn’t it convenient that he “forgot” his wallet? You’ve seen “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” so you know that some guys manipulate situations like this to fill the pawn with self-doubt in order to get what they want.  In that movie it was much bigger scores, but with this guy it would seem to be a few glasses of wine and dinner. Don’t be a fool–he’s a mooch, a grifter, and you’re just a pawn!

But he was so well-dressed—surely his finances weren’t so tight that he needed to hustle ladies for free drinks and food. Look at that starched, dry cleaned collar!  Or was that part of the manipulation? Dress like you’re a classy guy who has money, then the story that you simply “forgot” your wallet carries more weight.  I was so torn!

As these two lines of reasoning volleyed back and forth in my head, my date sat there and remained stunningly calm and matter-of-fact about the whole thing.  I wanted to give him notes like a film director to an actor, Listen buddy, if you’re going to use first dates to score free drinks and food, ya might want to SELL the whole “forgotten wallet” schtick a bit more. Just act more shocked and nervous—like how you would act if you had truly had forgotten your wallet. OK?  Great–let’s try it again, but this time with feeling.

I had to make a decision then and there, though. There was no take two. Perhaps I should have asked him to mail me a check for his half. Perhaps he should have offered to do that without any prompting. Perhaps I should have paid only my half of the bill and left him at the wine bar to wash $50 plus tip worth of dishes (or whatever task a restaurant supposedly makes penniless customers do these days). But I didn’t want to leave my lovely local wine bar in the lurch, either. So I smiled and ponied up $100 for drinks and food with a guy who was either forgetful and unemotional or a master manipulator—I’m still not sure.

He walked me to my apartment where we hugged goodbye as he said that the next date would be “on him” and I thought, There’s not going to be another date. And sure enough there wasn’t—no worthwhile follow up from him, no suggestion of another date. And that was just fine with me.

 

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

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  • http://www.urbanexpressive.com J. Nicole

    I always carry my wallet with me. In fact, it was an ex who told me to do that- you never know when you’ll be in a situation where you need money to dash out.

    Regarding this situation, it was obvious what he was up to. I would have told him I was going to the atm, went home & let him figure it out. I understand feeling bad about stiffing the restaurant but they have insurance…and if your bill came up to $100 they were overcharging you anyways. Life long BK resident here, even w/ gentrification that is a rip off.

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    • swade85

      The reason this is hilarious to me is because I was this guy once. I accidently left my wallet at home. I offered to pay for the second date in which I did. After the second date, we hit it off, and we were together for almost a year before I moved away. Through the year long relationship, I paid for 85% of our activities. So when a woman pays, it’s a scam. When a man pays, it’s chivalrous? I thought women can do anything men can do. If it was the 1950’s, he would of went back home and paid her that night. But, it’s not 1950, it’s 2013. Women can’t pick and choose which 1950’s value’s benefits them the most and throw out everything else. It doesn’t work like that and it will never work like that.

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    • JaeBee

      ” it’s not 1950, it’s 2013. Women can’t pick and choose which 1950′s value’s benefits them the most and throw out everything else.”

      Why not? Men do it all the time. It’s the very reason why women, on average, continue to earn less money than men doing the same job, why women continue to be expected to do the majority of housekeeping (even when they hold a full-time job just like their male partners), why women are still expected to sacrifice career ambitions/goals to be the primary caregivers/caretakers of children and other relatives who may need assistance/care (never hear debates about working men vs. stay at home men), why men expect that the women they court have not been as sexually promiscous as they (the man) has been…

      Don’t try to pin this all women! Men definitely want their slice of 1950’s cake (when it comes to certain expectations about women’s behavior)–and they want to eat it to!

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    • talaktochoba

      wrong again–1950 or 2013, men are still men and so owe all women a level of respect commensurate with their interrelationship with them;

      a date is a special interrelationship deserving of a special respect from him;

      that, ladies and gentlemen, is called HONOUR…and any man without honour is LESS than nothing;

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  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    What a cad!

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    • Wong Chia Chi

      This just made me laauugh so hard.

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  • swade85

    Soooooo, it’s okay for a man to pay for the whole date but if a woman does it, no second date?

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    • Sasha

      Either you’re being obtuse or you’re not reading for nuance. Given the context clues she’s given about the situation I think any active reader could assess the situation for exactly what it was.

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    • swade85

      Hahaha…you have got to be kidding me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I read she stated he left his wallet at home accidently. (Things like that can happen. You think you’re wearing one pair of jeans and at the last minute you change your mind and forget you left your wallet in the first pair). After accidently leaving his wallet, he DID mention that he would pay the whole date next time. I could understand if the second date he didn’t pay the whole thing like he promised. But since she wanted to go dutch and pay half, was she going to pay half the next date also? Two halves equal a whole. Two dates equal two whole’s. She paid the first whole, he would pay the second whole. She could’ve missed out on her soulmate.

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    • Sasha

      Context clues, as learned by 5th grade.

      -Rather, HE spent an inordinate amount of time digging through his jacket pockets and emptying their contents onto the bar: his apartment keys, his iPhone, his ear buds. Each item was carefully and deliberately pulled out of the pockets as though he were a prosecutor presenting his evidence to the jury. After this display he uttered something that sounded a line of dialogue from an unconvincing actor,“Huh…well I must have left my wallet at home.

      -“I had it at my apartment before I left … I’m sure I did. I must have just left it at my apartment. This is embarrassing,” he said with suspiciously flat affect.

      -We hugged goodbye as he said that the next date would be “on him” and I thought, There’s not going to be another date. And sure enough there wasn’t—no worthwhile follow up from him, no suggestion of another date.

      Other factor to consider: He walked to the venue which means it was not too far for him to walk back and retrieve his wallet. I’m sure she did not mind waiting. This fellow knew exactly what he was doing. Sorry, try again.

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    • talaktochoba

      no, he only THINKS he knew aha he was doing;

      that is one why she should’ve ordered dessert, slipped off to powder her nose and left him there;

      clearly his father failed him and his mother cries quietly when her son is not looking;

      sometimes it does fall upon the female to education us a little roughly–how else are we gonna learn to respect you?

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    • JS

      Everyone should walk into the date expecting to pay half of their meal. If a man wants to submit to traditional gender roles and pay it all? Fine. If a woman feels as she wants to pay for the entire meal? Fine. If they both decide for whatever reason to keep it casual without one feeling they “owe” the other and go dutch? Also fine.

      What ISN’T fine is someone walking into the situation, male or female, with no intentions of paying at all for at least their own part. The author of this article came prepared to pay for at least her half. The man isn’t stupid. From his sorry response and lack of nervousness or embarrassment you can tell he was trying to get a free meal. They did not take public transportation to get there and both lived in the neighborhood, why not run back and get the wallet? Why assume the woman had enough money or even wanted to pay for it all?

      No second date? Completely on that guy. Although he offered to pay for the second he made no follow up offer or effort to contact. What he did was an equivalent of “dine and dash.”

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  • http://halloftheblackdragon.com Greg Dragon

    Don’t waste your time here bro.

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  • http://thebrokejetsetter.com Becca

    As soon as I read the title, I said “ewwwww”.

    Maybe that says something about me? lol

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    • http://thebrokejetsetter.com Becca

      Clearly you didn’t read the whole article. Honest mistake my nyansh.

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    • Pseudonym

      It did. He didn’t contact her after that date for a second one, which is why the article was written and the dude seems shady. If he called her for a second date and remembered his wallet the second time, this article wouldn’t exist b/c he would have shown that the first date blunder was truly an accident. Also, as others noted, the restaurant was walking distance from his house, so he could have just as easily went to pick it up (“He had arrived on foot to the date since he lived nearby “) or go pick up the money to reimburse her afterward (even if for just his half if he had decided that he didn’t want a second date).

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