Over the past week, there have been discussions on social media about "going Dutch" — or paying for your own meal — for the first date.
This week’s dating tale is a good look at how NOT to bring up the "going Dutch" idea.
Melanie met Al on a dark, starry night while walking to her car after enjoying a night out with her friends. They exchanged numbers and in the following days, did what folks USED to do — actually talk on the phone, not just text. Al does what any normal male interested in getting to know a nice young lady does: he asks her out on a date. Yes, y’all A DATE. Not a booty call, not that "can I come over to your house and ‘kick it’ or ‘hang out’" type ish. So, Melanie is elated, because like I’ve told y’all before, dates like this just don’t happen much, it seems, around the Queen City.
Fast-forward a few days and they agree to keep it low key and meet at a restaurant near her job. You know this is going to have a red flag right? Al wants to meet at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night for no reason that he can articulate, except he wants to finish watching something on television. Blink blink blink.
Melanie rolls with it, figuring she can just stay late at work and head over after. Melanie, girl you crazy!
Anyway, Melanie shows up on time, and the clock keeps ticking. 10:15 p.m., no Al. 10:30 p.m., no Al. Now, I would have left by now, but Melanie is one of those girls who is going to give Al the benefit of the doubt; she has hopes he isn’t trifling. Finally, at 10:45 p.m. a text pops up that Al is on his way. Good thing this restaurant is also a bar and stays open late. 11 p.m., Al walks in and tells Melanie that even though he has been in Charlotte for almost two years, he still can’t find his way around.
I’m just going to walk away from that one.
The two chat for a bit before ordering. Al tells Melanie, “Order whatever you want, get an appetizer, a drink or two, whatever you want.” Well, shoot, Melanie tells me, she isn’t used to that kind of treatment, but since it’s late, she decides to just order another drink (she had one while waiting on his slow ass), an appetizer and a salad. He orders an appetizer and a drink as well, and says he’s not really that hungry. OK, cool, it is late after all.
After they eat, the waitress comes back to the table and says, “Will this be on one check or separate?”
Melanie looks at Al. Al looks down. Melanie clears her throat. Al leans over to the waitress and says, “Mine is separate.”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but when Al told Melanie to order whatever she wanted, that indicated he planned on paying for the meal, right? Or is that just me?
Again being a nice girl, Melanie shakes her head and whips out her credit card to pay for her portion of the bill. Al pays for his and then looks at her like the fool he is. “Sorry, I don’t get paid until next week.”
I don’t think it’d be appropriate to use the curse words in my head right now, and I can only imagine what Melanie must have felt. However, I would have asked Al why he even bothered asking Melanie out if he had no money? Or why not pick a date activity that didn’t require spending any money, like walking around the lake at The Boardwalk in University or sitting on a bench there chatting. A good first date just requires good conversation, laughs and keeping your hands to yourself.
The lesson here is if you plan to go Dutch, say so when you are asking them out so they aren’t blindsided. What would have happened if Melanie didn’t have the money to cover her portion, thinking that dinner was going to be taken care of by Al? My grandma always told me to make sure you have enough money to pay for your own way, and she sure wasn’t lying. The way some dudes in Charlotte seem to be set up ... Needless to say, that was Melanie and Al’s first and last date.
Want to share your own dating story? Good, Bad, Ugly—Go ahead, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll keep your identity a secret — just let us know what dating in the Queen City is really like!