Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My old school costs more than your new school

I like to think of myself as a forward-thinking girl, progressive in most respects and generally left-leaning. I call myself a feminist, and I am now well on my way to being a completely independent woman. (I'm not gonna lie, my dad still pays my cell phone bill, but he worked for AT&T so he gets a discount that I wouldn't get on my own, OK?!!1) I pay for most everything else in my life; I work a full-time job and never expect anyone else to spot me when I go out. I cover my own shit, nomesayin? Unless, that is, I'm going on a date.

Yes, dear readers, I am slowly making my way back into the dating world. Shudder. Thus far my experiences have tended to fall on either end of the "should I pay or should I go" spectrum: guys either willingly pay for everything, or they pay for nothing. Maybe it's because I'm from the South, or just because I have an inflated sense of self, but it's just my base expectation that the guy will pay for me on the first date. (Editor's note: Lolz.) When I'm in a relationship, I have absolutely no problem going Dutch in most situations; when you do a lot of activities with one other person, it makes practical sense to split the cost most of the time. Right? I mean, we're all struggling artsy types in our 20s, right?

Well, some more than others, apparently. I kid you not, because you cannot make this shit up: a guy took me out last night** - to a falafel place - and he didn't offer to pay. Glancing over the menu quickly, I gathered that the most expensive item was a splurge at $5. Initially, because it was so cheap, I assumed he would pay; but it quickly became clear that he had no intentions of doing so. He made some recommendations about what was good on the menu - "You've never had this run-of-the-mill late-night street food?!! You haven't liiiiiiived." - and stepped up to the counter to order his food. I waited, very curious as to whether or not he would turn around to ask me what I wanted. He did not. I bought my own $4 dinner, which turned out to be overcooked falafel doused in way too much hummus and wrapped in a dry pita.

I guess you get what you pay for, in food and in life. After a dinner worth a combined $8, we parted ways, and as I was exiting the train on my way home, I got a text from him - yes ladies, a text - that read, "What do you think? Want to go for round two?" Wait, I'm sorry. Are we boxing? I sent him a reply - polite as I could be - gently letting him know that there would be no round two. He never responded.

Here is my dilemma. Does this make me old school, and does this kid represent the new school? Does it make me a - GASP - non-feminist to expect a guy to pay for me on date one? And, most importantly, should I let go of the past and just accept that most guys in their 20s are either not willing or not able to splurge on my falafel? On some level, I feel like I just can't help myself - I like when guys pay. I like to feel like I'm doing them a favor by meeting with them at all - which, LBO - and that maybe they just owe me one. It's one thing if we're going out to an expensive restaurant, in which case I am more than happy to help fit the bill. But come on man. It's a fucking falafel.

Sigh. As Webbie once said, "You insane boy, you betta get some gotdamn change." And next time, I expect a freelafel.

**Said dinner took place after he showed up 30 minutes late because he was meditating. Yes, this is true. No, he did not apologize.


  1. In my last experience, a boy dove from his spot behind me, arms-crossed, all cool hanging out, to pay for my po'boy. He wasn't getting anything because it was Ramadan. But all cool as a cucumber, he dives forward, hands the cashier a $20, and says to me, "No, I insist." Suave! Unfortunately, he doesn't understand that looking at EVERY SINGLE one of my fb pics and commenting on about every 10th one - is the creepiest thing in the world. I know ppl look, just don't make it painfully obvious. Culture barrier? At least he got the food thing right.

  2. Re Willow: Basically people are fucktards.

    Re Meghan: I do think it's an old Southern thing for the guy to always pay, and I think expecting it, even for $4 falaffel, may be a bit outdated. If paying it make or break, you'll probably get broken a lot, at least up here, and especially with someone younger (which was probably the main problem here). Maybe next time you should pay for both—that could be a real test.

    Also, it's much more complicated on a gayte because you're both guys. Who pays?!

  3. While I think it's never cut and dry - and I hate the fact that much of early dating chivalry is rooted in money (as in he pays) - you never get a second chance at a first impression. And a first date is guy's chance to give you a first impression of what he's like and how he feels. 30 mins late and splitting $4 falafel isn't a good one, no matter how much of a femanist you are - or how liberal of a guy this is.

    BUT - even if he was precisely on time and paid for you to have THREE falafel, I say no second round on account of the post-date, second-date request text. Tacky dude. Tacky.

  4. So I went out with a New Yorker last night, granted he went to UNC for school. He said he never took girls on actual dates (and paid) til he came south!

  5. Whatever happened to the person who asks for the date pays? I think that is a great rule of thumb.