Meal Ticket

The question of who should foot the bill on a date is one that has been discussed many times. This week, Hayley talks us through her experience with a guy who just wouldn’t pay up…

The last date I went on ran a little something like this…

Met a cute guy out on New Year’s Eve at his too-cool ‘loft party’. We talked and laughed and danced but it was hard to tell if we really clicked or it was just the party atmosphere (read: champagne) getting to my head. He asked for my number. I wasn’t holding my breath. Expecting a guy on New Year’s Eve to call you again is a little like when you tell people you meet in Ibiza that you’ll be best friend’s forever… not going to happen in real, sober, life is it? But I thought he looked cute so I handed it over anyway. Two days later he sent me a text and asked me out to dinner: no complicated text flirting sessions required, he even decided  on the place. Somewhere that was ‘small but with amazing food.’ One of his favourites, apparently. Hopeful, I thought ‘maybe he sees me as girlfriend material?

Of course this fabulous fantasy about a perfect boyfriend, who just happens to be achingly cool and live in a loft was just that, a fantasy.

When the bill arrived, he awkwardly fumbled in his pockets before nonchalantly explaining he must’ve forgotten his wallet and did I mind?

I wasn’t quite sure…did I mind?

Money matters are a strange thing in dating these days. Women are pretty much bringing home the pay cheque as much as the men asking them on the dates. I have no issue with bill splitting (something I was so militant about in my university days it left heads spinning over my hard line 50/50 divisions whether it was coffee or a concert tickets). Gender discussions aside, the fact of the matter was that he didn’t have a wallet so minding or not, I forked over the full amount. When he seemed genuinely embarrassed and apologetic about it I felt like a total idiot for even thinking considering writing him off.  I mean, who am I? Some money grabbing, gold digger? Definitely not. Especially when I got a text the next day asking me if he could take me out for a drink to make things even.

Okay, clean slate reset. I set out expecting nothing and open to anything.

And what I got was another bill to foot. He did not in fact wait to happen upon his missing wallet this time but explained as I arrived that he ‘felt terrible, especially after last time but his wallet was in his friend’s car.’

Really?? Yes he actually said that.

Well, I was glad he did because I felt pretty terrible about it too. I was already there and couldn’t exactly disentangle myself without rudeness but being someone’s meal ticket has never exactly gotten me hot under the collar and cuteness aside – I wasn’t interested.

Needless to say, the next text I received, promising an upscale restaurant as an apology for the last two occasions didn’t really tempt me. It was less about the money and more about getting off on the wrong foot. He didn’t seem reliable or readable from the get go and sometimes people are more trouble than they’re worth.

I’m all for bill splitting but I’m not interested in being the wallet behind someone’s pretty face …at least for another forty years.