Who do you expect to pay for dinner on a date? I’ve got a number of friends who expect the man to pay (regardless of whether they intend to see him again). Personally, I prefer to go halves.
I’m on the date to figure out if I like someone or not; not to eat for free. If my date offers to pay for me, that’s lovely, but I’d only accept if I definitely wanted to go on a second date.
If I’m out with friends going out for a meal, I don’t want to quibble over the bill. I’m out to enjoy time with my friends, not calculate how many breadsticks I’ve eaten and skew the bill accordingly. Of course it’s different if one of your party is on a budget, or the bill is otherwise unfair (say, you’re the teetotaller and everyone else has had four bottles of champagne), but in general, I refuse to quibble over a few quid here and there. Just split the bill and be happy you’ve had a lovely evening.
So, having got that off my chest, let me tell you about the date with the chap with no manners. I’m already aware that I’m going to sound very petty.
We walked to Wagamama; he opened the door and walked in first. I’d always hold a door for the person behind me; he let go and it slammed into my face. Not the best of starts.
I ordered a bowl of noodles and a tap water.
He ordered a bowl of noodles, two sides of dumplings, another side order of skewers, a beer and a juice.
All his food came within five minutes. There was no sign of my dish. Before I’d even had a chance to tell him to go ahead and start, he was scarfing down his food.
Five minutes passed. My food still didn’t arrive. I sat there, staring at his numerous dumplings, silently willing him to offer me one. It seemed rude to ask.
Another five minutes passed. He looked up from his food at me.
“Oh, you still don’t have your food?”
“No, I don’t”. OFFER ME A DUMPLING, PLEASE.
“Oh, that’s a shame”.
He went back to inhaling his noodles.
When the bill came, it was for £35. My dish was £10, but he’d ordered £25 of food. If our orders had been the other way round, I’d have insisted on paying for what I’d ordered, given the inequity of the bill.
He looked at the bill.
“Let’s go halves. Your share’s £17.50”, he said.
Again, it seemed rude to say anything.
I put down a £20 note; my “share” plus a tip.
“I’ll put it on my card and take your £20”, he said.
We left the restaurant. Again, he let the door swing into my face on the way out; at least I was prepared and caught it that time.
Afterwards, I realised that he hadn’t left a tip. So, he’d stuck the £35 on his card, kept my £20 and effectively made a profit of £10.
He phoned the next week to ask me out again. I said no, thanks.