You read that right. I paid for myself for the very first time on a date. And guess what? It sucked.
I’m kidding. It really wasn’t that bad. I mean, of course I wasn’t jumping up and down at the chance to pay for myself as I’m used to never having to pay, especially since he was the one who asked me on a date. But I've kept this a secret for a while before sharing this story with everyone because I wanted to make sure I was able to get my point across at the end. That and I didn't really know how I felt about it overall until recently.
It's funny, too. This actually happened right before I wrote my Take about my father, The One Trait A Man Must Have To Date Me And Why. In fact, this event is what inspired me to write that Take.
Also, for those of you who know me, just let me say that this was during a break up with my on and off again SO. So at the time, I was 100% single.
Anyway, on with the story. I’m a little surprised that I wasn’t angry or offended by the request. If any of you have followed me and my opinions then you would know that I’ve always believed men should always and forever pay on the first date. And, yes, in some ways, I still think that.
However, this particular night taught me something: There’s always an exception to the rule. And, normally, I always think this way. I just never thought about applying it to a first date.
Let me provide you with a backstory to my way of thinking. I was raised by both parents who are still in a loving and committed marriage that is now 32 years strong. And my dad has always told me that a real man who genuinely wants to treat me right will pay on the first date. It doesn’t mean he’ll be my sugar daddy and his money is mine nor does it mean that I should never pay for a date once we go out a few times. It’s just that it’s the proper way to court a lady. Same goes for my brother. My brother always pays for his first dates because he believes it’s the gentlemanly thing to do. So, for my entire life, that’s why I’ve believed men should always pay on the first date.
I can already feel the eye roles from the male side of the audience. Don’t worry, the ending to this will be worth it, so put your eyeballs back in their sockets, and relax.
Anyway, this guy that I went out with wasn’t exactly the most interesting person. He texted me entirely too much and used ‘text talk’, which I absolutely cannot stand. He also uses a lot of exclamation marks at the end of his sentences. However, he seemed nice enough, and I’m currently trying to get away from my snobby habits of judging a man. He was nice and respectful, albeit slightly annoying, but I decided to give him chance. Who knows? He could be the one for me. I shouldn’t let shallow thoughts get in the way, right? Right.
After about a week or so of talking to one another, he asked me out on a date. Yes, HE asked ME out, not the other way around. So, naturally, I expected him to pay.
He lets me pick the restaurant and drives to my area. I’m getting ready to take a shower before we go when I get the text message. “Hey, do you mind if we pay for ourselves?”
Yes, I’ll admit, I was annoyed. Why? Surprisingly, it wasn’t because he asked me to pay for myself. I was annoyed because he asked me this only an hour before I was supposed to meet him. I thought that was a little rude, even though I always carry $20 on my person in case I need it on a first date. However, trying not to be a snob, remember?
“Sure, but why?”
“Well, I just spent a ton of cash on my nieces and nephews for their birthdays and Halloween costumes and don’t have a lot of money plus I’m putting a lot of gas into driving down there. Promise I’ll pay if we go a second time!”
If you’re asking if I was still annoyed, the answer is yes. And, yes, it was only because of the timing.
We went out and had dinner. His burger was $11 and my fish was $15. He shelled out $12 and I put in $18, this all including cash for the tip.
He and I won’t be going out again as I just didn’t feel the connection, even though he was really nice. But at the same, it really wasn’t the end of the world that I paid for myself. And, no, I’m not jumping up and down at the chance to do it again. In fact, I’d preferred not to pay for myself again. I mean, who would?
But it’s not like he didn’t have a good reason. Spending you entire paycheck on gifts and things for your family and not having any money left over is a pretty good reason. Also, I learned that paying for a date isn't always through the money he hands the waitress. The truth is, he drove 45 minutes to my area whereas the place was only 10 minutes from me. It was also raining on the drive there and raining on the drive back, making the roads a little more dangerous. Pair all that with a 12 hour work day and having to be up at 5am the next morning and you can see where the effort was put in.
So, in a way, I think he did pay for the first date. He just didn’t pay in the traditional sense. But I do think that, until now, I’ve always assumed paying for a date was paying for the actual hour or two spent together. But, in truth, my dad never said that paying for the date meant how much money you drop on the literal date itself. The gas, the drive, the planning, the effort…All of that can be considered pay. And I learned that some of us women expect men to show they value us based on the amount of money they’re willing to spend in front of our faces when that's not the case.
But what about everything else? He let me pick the place, he drove to my side of town, he paid for part of the dinner, and he came to see me after a 12 hour work day IN THE RAIN.
If that’s not paying for a date, then I have don't know what is.