Thursday, May 31, 2007

Who pays?

Whenever I am on a date, I am very conscious of the "who pays" issue. I don't automatically assume the guy will pay and I almost always offer to split the bill. I have been told that practice could come across as a lack of interest in the man, and I think that is only true when the girl insists on paying her half.

I was out having drinks with a guy, at a place I had suggested. We each had two, and the bill came. We both reached for it and I said, "no let me get it, I suggested this place." He was ever polite telling me that it was his treat but he really appreciates the offer, and that I could get the bill next time. I said ok, and that I would hold him to it.

So we went out again, first to a movie where he pre-paid for the tickets. Then we wanted to get something for dinner because he said he was hungry and I hadn't eaten. We drove to a place that would let us have several choices, but it turned out only one was open so we went there. We agreed on an appetizer, and sampled some wines. He then decided we should order a bottle of wine, even though we hadn't finished the samples.

Our appetizer came and he was barely eating or drinking. We each had about a glass of wine from the bottle and the restaurant started closing for the night, and the waitress put the check in the middle of the table. I was mildly annoyed because we hadn't even finished our appetizer and she didn't ask if she could get anything else. We kept talking for a while and the check was driving me nuts, since I'd offered to pay last time I reached for it and put it next to me on the chair. My date complimented me on the smoothness of the move and I reached to pay for it. I was kinda shocked at the price of the wine he had chosen and wondered if he had intended to let me pay in the first place. But I paid for it like a good girl, figuring there was three-quarters of the bottle left to take him and enjoy later.

The waitress re-corked the wine and brought it back in a paper bag so it was easy to transport, and put it on the table. At this point my date reached for the bottle and put it next to him on the chair. I was a little pertrubed at the possessiveness of the gesture, but thought well what the hell maybe he is just doing it so its not in the way of eye contact... or he just wants to make sure we don't forget it on our way to the car. Since we were going to my car I figured I'd see what happens.

After we had left the restaurant he had told me he had been feeling sick all evening and hadn't felt like eating or drinking! So why did he order the whole bottle? I had suggested getting by the glass!

Cut to, I'm dropping him off at his car. He is thanking me for dinner and telling me he'll call me. He steps out of the car grabbing the wine (that he was holding between his legs for the entire ride). So I called out with a note of laughter, "Oh! are you keeping the wine?"

He seemed flustered and dropped the wine like it was on fire. And I'm not sure if he thought I was drunk because I'm small and don't look like I can hold my drinks, but I can't imagine why he would do that on second date! I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but he had been so possessive of that wine from the moment it was re-corked!

Now don't get me wrong, I had planned on offering him the bottle out of politeness. But when I saw how possessive he was, I started thinking: he really wants the bottle!! And I think its important to let the person who bought dinner take charge of the leftovers (whether they are taken home...) When I'm out with a guy, I don't ask for a "to-go" cup for a drink, or a dessert; and I surely don't expect to be the one taking leftovers home... or the wine bottle.

It's quite the dilemma, the polite part of me wants to offer to pay; especially if I'm not interested in the man. I know guys have this problem all the time and they are expected to pay. I admit, I am more than mildly disappointed in any many that "lets" me pay for anything over $20 (coffee, a couple of drinks, ice cream -- that kind of thing is acceptable) but not dinner, or a substantial tab!