General Question

tidbit56's avatar

Is he cheap or what?

Asked by tidbit56 (107 points ) September 30th, 2012

Ok, so I had a first date today. The good looking, friendly, attentive (never been married) fellow spent 5 hours with me on our first date. He took me for a “soda” at a local lunch spot, asked me if I would like a calamari appetizer, which we shared. Then we walked on the waterfront at a farmer’s market and to a friend’s boat. The time flew, and at 5:00, he asked if I wanted a cup of coffee at a different restaurant. We went in, he brushed aside the appetizer menu and never asked if I wanted anything to eat. (I was famished by this time and didn’t know how to bring up my growling stomach….) SO, is he hopelessly cheap without redemption, not a gentleman, or just plain ignorant?? Do I write this otherwise seemingly great guy off, or do I bring this up so it doesn’t happen again!!

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60 Answers

chyna's avatar

He sounds cheap to me.
Write him off. You spent lunch hour and dinner hour with him and he didn’t offer to buy you either, he is no catch.

gailcalled's avatar

Nest time, don’t wait. Suggest, “I’m starving. Let’s get a bite. My treat.”

tidbit56's avatar

This gentleman has just emailed me a beautiful text saying what a lovely day he had. How do I respond? If he is already a write off, do I have nothing to lose by bringing this up and sharing my thoughts?

Judi's avatar

Say, ” I’ll talk to you later. I’m busy eating right now. I was starving after our date.”

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gailcalled's avatar

@tidbit56: Draft a pithy little response right now. Let us read it and make suggestions. This is the opportunity for an epistolary mini-masterpiece, although it will be hard to outdo what @Judi has written.

wundayatta's avatar

When in doubt, you should always do the socially safe and conventional thing. I mean, you wouldn’t want to risk finding yourself with an interesting, but poor man. In this world, a man must take care of the woman. It doesn’t matter how interesting or fun he is, if he doesn’t take care of you, then he’s a loser, right?

I mean, the important thing is that he pays for everything and takes care of you. If he doesn’t do that during a date, what do you think will happen when you’re married? What you need is a stable, boring man with money. You do not need something who is interesting and wonderful, but can’t keep your stomach full.

And heaven forbid you should ever speak up for yourself. You are practicing to be the little woman. If he doesn’t think of everything and indeed, if he doesn’t read your mind, then he raising every red flag there is. Stay away.

Sarah90's avatar

Give him a second chance, it could be that he “IS” El-cheapo or maybe the was just broke. (tough times)

*Just in case you might want to brown bag it for your next date.

Judi's avatar

At Wundy, he made the calamari suggestion, he pushed the menu aside. Yes she could have spoken up and yes she could have offered to buy her own but it sounds like he didn’t give her much of a chance.

tidbit56's avatar

I am a single woman, 56 years old. I have never been married. I have owned my own successful business and currently work two jobs, own my own home, and have never relied on anyone, including my family, to “take care” of me. We are talking about a first date, which I was invited on, and which I had no idea would last all afternoon. I guess I was taken aback. Yes, I could have offered myself. I look at the first date as a place where you put your best self forward. I am not looking for a sugar daddy, nor even a wealthy guy, just a gentleman.

gailcalled's avatar

Seriously, if you think that this man has possibilities, simply ask him. It will probably either put him on the defensive, or trigger an interesting enough response to warrant seeing him again.

Sarah90's avatar

At your next date (If you decide to give him a second chance)
Bring a 2 for 1 dinner coupon.

tidbit56's avatar

Possible response to the text:
Hi, “Chuck”
I had a lovely time today, too. The weather, the water, company were perfect! I didn’t want to end the day on such short notice, but I was famished. :)

zenvelo's avatar

My question is what did he set up for meeting you? Just a soda? An afternoon together?

i think if you liked him, tell him you’ll go out again, but be honest that “I can’t go that long without eating, and i should have ordered something”.

_Whitetigress's avatar

I agree with @gailcalled Step up your game.

creative1's avatar

I would have said if you don’t mind I would like to buy myself some dinner when you went for coffee instead of letting him brush off the menu.

I wouldn’t brush him off I would give him another chance and see where it goes, maybe he just doesn’t get a lady needs to eat.

JHUstudent's avatar

It’s a bit unfair to say he’s “cheap.” Maybe he just doesn’t have the money. If he doesn’t have the money, then he can’t do anything about it. Maybe he’s not cheap on purpose but because of necessity.

You should’ve just said that you wanted to eat, and that you’d buy – @gailcalled

wundayatta's avatar

It seems to me that if you have expectations, it might be nice to lay them out before you go on the date. How long should the date be? When will you need food? What behavior constitutes that of a gentleman? Clearly you have rules.

I don’t know what you want from a relationship. I don’t know if you’ve ever been close to getting married, or even had a relationship that lasted more than a date or two. Clearly you have very strong expectations, and, might I say, they are very traditional expectations. Don’t worry. Most of the women here share your expectations, so you are in good company.

I think these traditional role model expectations are bad for relationships. I think that people with such expectations often end up losing out because their dates do something wrong, and break the unwritten rules. Frankly, I think that is pretty sad that this gets between people.

But if you’re looking at the symbolism, you are going to miss some good people. This guy kept you fascinated for 5 hours. The time flew by. And I don’t know why he wasn’t into food. Maybe he wasn’t hungry. But you’re 56 years old. You are a business owner. You should know by now how to take charge when you need something. Yet your ideas about dating get in the way. That’s on you.

If I were you, I’d pay attention to what really happened, not what you think should have happened. I’d think outside the box a little. In fact, at 56, I’d burn the damn box of relationship rules. Unless, of course, all you want is to date, and you’re not interested in breaking your rules and having a relationship.

That’s what it will take, though. You have to break your rules. Maybe you aren’t even aware of your own rules, but they are there and they are very strong, and if I were dating you, I wouldn’t play by them, either. But if I were single, I wouldn’t date, anyway. It’s not a good way to meet anyone, I don’t think. So yeah. Break every rule you can think of. You’ll have a much better time that way. You might even actually get what you want, whatever that is.

But at 56, you can’t afford to follow the rules any more. You have to make your own partner. You can’t be waiting for them to do what you hope they will do. You have to ask them or tell them politely exactly what you want.

God! This is so frustrating. It’s not just you. But women of all ages trapped in this box. Unable to empower themselves to get what they want. It gives me a sick feeling in my stomach that people are so trapped by social rules that they will let themselves be miserable rather than find love.

Kayak8's avatar

I would go out with him again, fully prepared to by myself food if I was hungry.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Wow @wundayatta Hit the nail right on the freaking head.

“God! This is so frustrating. It’s not just you. But women of all ages trapped in this box. Unable to empower themselves to get what they want. It gives me a sick feeling in my stomach that people are so trapped by social rules that they will let themselves be miserable rather than find love.”

Here’s why I think so.

I had a buddy who recently was dumped by a “traditional” girl. He thought of himself as “traditional” and still thinks he’s “traditional”. I think it’s extremely sad that he’s stuck in this mentality in 2012 when women are 1000% capable of being independent. My buddy is now a bum, out of work, his ex has since moved up to a office job. Funny how things work out in the end eh?

Adagio's avatar

If it were me, I would definitely see him again, sounds like you had fun, what better reason to agree to see him again, if you really want to eat take responsibility for yourself and speak out.

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Judi's avatar

@tidbit56, I say trust your gut.

tidbit56's avatar

BTW, this guy is a successful 54 year old who has a great job, a home, no kids, no ex. I am going to let it ride. I’ll let you all know how the 2nd date goes, if there is one. Thanks!!

Seaofclouds's avatar

Jumping in late, but I wouldn’t brush him off (and I’m glad you are going to let it ride). The only person that really knows what was going through his mind at that time is him. You can ask him if it bothers you down the road.

JLeslie's avatar

So you are at a restaurant if I understand correctly, and you wait for him to ask if you want something to eat? Why didn’t you grab a menu and order something? If he pays great, if not you pay for yourself. I wouldn’t make a snap judgement from a first date if you enjoyed the conversation and the other parts of the date. If it is a pattern that he rarely eats, then maybe not going to work. Is he skinny?

FutureMemory's avatar

Maybe he wasn’t hungry and just didn’t think of eating a proper meal with you?

I can’t figure out any other acceptable reason.

Sunny2's avatar

He sounds like a bachelor who is kind of set in his ways. He’s worth another date or two and getting to know him better to learn more about him.
My first date with my husband-to-be was a very long drive through New England when the Autumn leaves were in full color. It was a lovely day and we found we had a lot in common.We must have driven for 8 hours without stopping. I was getting really hungry and wondering why on earth he didn’t suggest getting food. He finally did take me to a very nice restaurant. He turned out to be a very generous person, but I did wonder about his eating habits at the time.

Shippy's avatar

This is such an interesting question. Age has been brought into it, also whether males should or should not pay. I find the whole thing quite fascinating. I personally feel age has nothing to do with how a man treats you. Or more importantly how you wish to be treated. In your book, he didn’t fair well. He didn’t fair well in my book either.

Even if I went on a date with a mate, hunger or meals would come up. We wouldn’t brush the menu aside. Most of my mates know I am not flush currently and still the menu wouldn’t be put aside. If I am asked on a date, I do expect the guy to offer me food, or something and pay for it. I was kind of shocked @wundayatta saying a man must look after a woman? I have yet to meet that man. It must be a cultural thing? Having said that though, I revert to my earlier statement. A date is special, he asked you? Then also that is a given that he would pay. As a person on a date, I would at least offer to tip, or buy coffee after or desert.

So age to me has as much to do with this as split bananas. If a man wishes to court me, he must put his hand in his pocket. On the first date at least. If he is poor and turns out to be a great guy, he still steals my heart. My brain and common sense though says he could be a hanger on or I should make provision for him, in my own finances if he is skint. And no I don’t find this a great idea either. Just saying.

So after you have weighed up how you feel, you either ignore all texts and hope he disappears. Or you give him another chance and if you still like him, the subject will come up after time and his own reality too. Then you can make an informed decision.

Perhaps also he had eaten earlier, and was not hungry. Then to me that is instant dump, because he didnt have the caring to ask if I was, you know?

Bellatrix's avatar

I will go back and read all the responses but why couldn’t you just say “I’m quite hungry” and buy something yourself? Why does this man have to feed you? I am guessing he paid for your drinks. I just don’t get why he should pay for your food on a first date.

Should you write him off? Did you like him? Was he interesting? Did you enjoy his company? If you answer yes to these things then yes, unless you are looking for a meal ticket and then, well he failed that test. You went home hungry. Having read that you are self-sufficient and socially adept, I don’t understand why you couldn’t speak up and say when he waved away the menu “actually I feel like some food”. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t do that.

LuckyGuy's avatar

From your description, it appears he too did not eat anything. The date was supposed to be going out “for a soda”- low pressure, not much food. It sounds like that’s exactly what it was.
Next time go for dinner and see what happens. Watch how he treats the server. That will be your best guide to measure if he’s cheap or not.
Are either of you trying to lose weight? Could that have been his reasoning?

zenvelo's avatar

@Shippy@wundayatta was being sarcastic, he was treating @tidbit56 as if she wanted a 1950s role in the relationship where the man thinks of everything and makes decisions and the woman suffers in silence.

dabbler's avatar

Indeed, judging from @wundayatta‘s second post, the first was tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic.

@tidbit56 I’d say don’t write the guy off at all. You enjoyed his company and there are way too many maybes.
Maybe he was a bit shy.
Maybe the last gal he had a first date with got all the most expensive things on the menu.
Maybe he didn’t get a chance to get to a cash machine before your date, the date was going better (longer) than he expected and he needed to make his cash stretch.
Maybe he was giving you an opportunity to say ‘hey, let me buy you dinner, just in case that’s something you wanted to do.

Maybe he was trying to find out if your the sort of person who will let him know what you want. Good, honest, open communication is a serious asset in a relationship.

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wundayatta's avatar

One way, unfortunately, that I am like Romney, is with my dry sense of humor. Without my face to watch as I speak, it can be difficult to get when I am not meaning to be taken seriously.

@Judi Defensive? Could be. One of the reasons I never dated in high school (except maybe once or twice), was because I had no money. So I only ever went out with someone who was willing to go dutch. Those women tended to be women who believed they shouldn’t let men pay for them for eqalitarian reasons. When I went to college, all the women shared the same belief.

The woman I married believes that women should be able to take care of themselves, and she worked through all of our relationship up until this past year. If I ever needed to find another woman, I’d want her to share those same values. For me, equality is very important.

But I truly do believe that traditional values hurt people. This idea that the man is supposed to pay for the woman, and he is in charge of the date causes a lot of problems in relationships, I think. And when people are expecting these traditional roles to be played out, they can’t be themselves, and when they can’t be themselves, they send the wrong information to their date. In a way, it is a kind of lying, although it is socially sanctioned lying.

But you’ve seen all the questions we get here from young women trying to read the signals of their boyfriends. And boys, too, have trouble reading girls. Of course, the young are much more influenced my the myths about how relationships should go. But it isn’t only the young; it is also the middle aged. Maybe even the elderly.

I feel like we, as a society, haven’t learned anything in the past forty years or so. The lessons of feminism seem to be thought of as irrelevant by young women. The politicians are talking about the Lily Ledbetter act and I’m sure most people wonder what the hell that is. Equal pay for equal work? Who needs that? Women are equal already.

If women do not act equal; do not act as if they expect to be equal; can we say they are equal? The personal is political, the feminists said. Well, there are fewer more personal issues than relationship issues, such as dating.

I guess I think that we should all be a bit ashamed about this. I don’t know why because I don’t think shame is helpful, but I feel like we learned these lessons. Hell! This is the battle that was being fought when I was a teen. Why is it still being fought? The only reason I can think of is that there is something stronger than our desire for equality, and that it is somehow in our nature to think that men must lead and women must follow. That’s what this is about, and I just think that is so wrong. But what if it is somehow built into us? Maybe it provides a survival advantage. What would that mean? Does that mean equality is a bad principle? Unworkable? I hope not.

CWOTUS's avatar

I know what happened, without even having been there.

You both enjoyed the afternoon “meet-and-greet”, so much so that you extended it through the afternoon and into the early evening. At that point it could have turned into “a real date” ... and all of the box of expectations that come with “a real date” at that point. In addition to which, since he hadn’t planned to extend the date into the evening (and I suspect that you said nothing to him), he had to figure a graceful way to let you get on with your evening.

As a gentleman, he preemptively decided “we won’t make this a real ‘date-date’, but obviously I want to buy her a small refreshment to end the afternoon”. So he did that, and now he’s being pilloried for it. Three cheers for nice guys!

What he obviously should have done is exclaimed, “Oh, gosh! Look at the time! I’ve got to run, and let you get on with your evening. Here’s your car, then. Goodbye, I’ll talk to you later.”

No, instead the nice guy bought you a drink and now he’s a cheap bastard. And like @wundayatta said – and yes, he did nail it pretty well – you said not a word, apparently.

I’m beginning to understand why nice guys have no chance in the world.

zenvelo's avatar

@CWOTUS I will point out that @tidbit56 may have worded the question title pejoratively, but she is checking in with the community to see if she should hold or realign her original assessment. To me that is not pillorying, but rather doubting her own reaction and behavior.

I still think it would be important as to what the date was “supposed” to be: a quick face to face meeting over a refreshment, or an afternoon together. That would help our suggestions.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The date sounds like fun, other than the lack of sustenance. I would give him a second chance and see if that was just a fluke, or if he continues to be cheap. Maybe he wasn’t hungry and therefore didn’t think you would be either. Or maybe he was in between paydays (kind of scary that he didn’t borrow some money or use his credit card, though.) I wouldn’t write him off yet, but if he does it again, kick him to the curb. I wouldn’t offer to buy him dinner, as @gailcalled suggested, just because I know too many girls who have unwittingly wound up financially supporting their guy. You don’t even want to go there.

_Whitetigress's avatar

I’m stepping in the shoes of what @CWOTUS is saying… If @CWOTUS is correct it seems to me you were in pure observation/spectator mode waiting for his wind to pick your leaf off the ground when you clearly could have shown more initiative.

My first date with my then gf now wife went something like this. I picked her up at her place, drove to a pretty cool Mexican restaurant and bar in the outskirts of downtown, we had to wait for a while to be seated, so we went to the bar, she ordered drinks because she wanted one. I offered to pay we agreed I got the food bill and I ended up paying the extra drinks we ordered at the table. Case in point, there’s nothing wrong with initiating and following your feelings of hunger, thirst, anything etc.

glacial's avatar

I really hate to see people attacking the OP on this question. She does not sound at all like a doormat to me.

5:00 is late for just a cup of coffee, particularly without food. That is an odd plan, if indeed it was a plan. On a first date, it might be awkward to try to claw back the menu once the guy has “brushed it away”, as apparently he did. I would certainly give him another chance, but he expressed some cluelessness here, if not rudeness. It’s a small red flag on a first date.

wundayatta's avatar

So now, a woman buys her date dinner, and next thing you know she’s supporting him? What? Really @Skaggfacemutt?

And of course we wouldn’t want to go there. That’s against the nature of things (being sarcastic here).

A man buys a date dinner, and if that ends up with him supporting her, no one thinks twice. Because it’s expected that husbands take care of their wives financially.

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JLeslie's avatar

I think the guy went home starving also most likely. Maybe he waited for your cue to order some food, and he was just trying to be polite and let you take the lead. This could be a huge miscommunication.

Moral: Take care of yourself, don’t wait for someone else to decide something for you. You both might have been doing the same polote thing for each other, and both left thinking, WTF?

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JLeslie's avatar

@tidbit56 Have you made the second date? Why not recommend going to a restaurant you like, moderately priced, and just see what happens at check time. Most men will offer to pay and might or might not allow the woman to pick up her half. If he let’s you pay for the whole thing then definitely could be a bad sign.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As a female who is only a few years younger than you and has never been married (albeit now engaged), I understand this question and the subsequent tidbits of information provided.

It sounds like it was a wonky first date due to one aspect. I agree with @dabbler‘s speculation list. None of know why he acted this way. Only the date knows what the reason for this slip-up (in your eyes).

If I were in your shoes, I’d respond to the e-mail and say that I’d enjoy seeing him again. The next time the two of you plan a date, talk about it first. Setting up expectations will make you both more comfortable on Date #2. Where are we going? What should be worn? Who will pay? These are the questions I want discussed on the front end.

I sincerely hope that this relationship works out, even if short-term. It would be interesting to hear if the two of you ever get to a point where you can tell him about your first date impression. Please keep us updated.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I agree with @Judi, trust your gut. Many years ago, I could have been that man. When I met my wife, I was partially employed, searching for a music career. When we were just friends, before we fell in love and got serious, she was celebrating her birthday party at the establishment we both frequented. Everyone else bought her gifts like a bottle of booze, for example; many more expensive gifts. Toward the end of the evening, I went out to a street vendor and spent the last few dollars in my pocket on a handful of carnations.

She later told me that carnations have always been her favorite flower; and she knew my situation, and that I spent the last of my money on them for her birthday really impressed her more that the guys who wanted to get her drunk and take her home for a “birthday present”.

FutureMemory's avatar

Go on a second date.

Make sure this one is a proper evening date, with dinner and some form of entertainment (a film or whatever people do for fun these days).

There’s no way you can properly judge him after this ‘hang out’ date. Getting a soda, walking around, visiting a friend and his boat, and getting coffee to round out the evening isn’t a date date…it’s glorified hanging out.

Go on a real date, then you can make an informed opinion of him.

thesparrow's avatar

Honestly I really hate that this is how our society still works.

@wundayatta I absolutely agree.

Often we place so many gender expectations on each other that we categorize the other person as a gender rather than a person. This happens a lot in dating; women expect the man to be the ‘man.’ Later in marriage, men expect the women to be the ‘woman’ (and obviously what that entails, which we all know).

But a lot of women now who say they are for ‘equality’ STILL expect the man to pay and be financially responsible but they will say that making them do housework is sexist.

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Bellatrix's avatar

[Mod says… even though I am in the thread] This is General and you are getting off topic here but there is a great question to discuss if one of you wants to ask it. It might get more discussion from the community in a question specifically about the topic you are debating.

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jca's avatar

@tidbit56: Can you please post an update as to whether or not you decided to go on a second date and what you determined about this topic on that date? Or more vaguely, how it went?

Please post an update. Thanks.

JCA
The Update Lady

Shippy's avatar

@jca Yes, agreed, it’s like thriller, a cliffhanger with no end??!

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