- Gender and Relationships
Ways of Knowing You Are Dating Mr. Cheap-Skate
In today’s world dating can be done in a number of ways. The couple can go for the traditional date where the man pays for the meal, and the show, or they can have a more modern approach and decide to go Dutch with each party paying for their own meal. Then there’s the feminist date, where she wines, and dines her man and pays for the date.
For the purpose of this article, I would like to talk about the more traditional date. Back in the early eighties, when I was a freshman in college, I went out with a few guys. I dated some guys that were true gentlemen, a credit to their sex, these were the men, who still practiced chivalry, and paid for the date, and really made sure everything was first rate. Then there were the more casual equalitarian, friendly dates when we went Dutch, and that’s great. I’m not a feminist, so I don’t believe in being the one to do the wining and dining, I’m kind of an old fashioned girl.
I remember a few dates that really stood out in my mind as rather memorable. Not because these men did anything out of the ordinary, but because these men were competing for the Mr. Cheap Award. The first time, I encountered a Mr. Cheap, was when I was going out with a friend and we went to a dance hall. At the dance hall, I met another guy, who seemed quite the charmer, and he asked me for my number. Since the guy, I was going out with, had a falling out with me, I was ready to date someone else. The guy I met at the dance hall gave me a call. He could sweep Cleopatra of her feet. This guy had a golden tongue; he would make you feel like you were God’s gift to the male sex.
Mr. Charming, soon to become Mr. Cheap asked me out. I accepted of course, after all, what girl could resist Mr. Golden Tongue. He took me to the mall, for our first date. After we entered the mall, he took me to the sporting goods department of Sears to look at some golf clubs, then we went to look at some athletic footwear, I started to get the impression, that this was not my usual date. I was kind of hungry, and my date and I went to the part of the store, where they sell confections. Surprise, surprise I bought some popcorn, and thank God, I brought some money, because I had to pay for my own popcorn. I was beginning not to feel like Cleopatra, anymore.
We then walked around the mall and I was starting to get thirsty from the popcorn, well my date escorted me to the drinking fountain. I asked him, “What were our dating plans?” I needed to know, what was our next venue? He told me we were just going to hang out. I then thought “hang out, no movies, or dinner, we were just going to hang out.” I told him, “I thought this was our first date and that things would be different.” He told me that he thought of us as just friends, and he wanted to hang out with me, just like one of the guys.
I couldn’t help but start thinking. “What happened to Mr. Charming on the phone, suddenly, I was just like one of the guys. I can’t believe, I wore my best outfit for this joker.” I decided I had enough. So I told Mr. Golden Tongue, I wanted to go home. When he asked why, I simply told him, “I was under the impression this was our first date. I have never been treated like one of the guys, and I wasn’t going to start now.” I also told him he was someone else on the phone. I tell you, talk is cheap! So if you get lots of complements from a stranger, don’t expect a great date to be part of the deal. We went home, I remember telling him I never wanted to see him again, and that was the end of that miserable date.
Mr. Golden Tongue was not the last Mr. Cheap in my life. About five years later, I was at a church reunion and I met a really nice, confident guy. He seemed to have it all together. He was from Tennessee and he was new in town. He asked me out and he decided to make it an interesting date. He decided to bring our mothers along on the date. I thought at first, he was just being really decent. When I told my mom, she thought this guy was a tad unusual. I was keen on him, so I accepted.
My mom, his mom, him and I all rode in his old, beat up car, with no air conditioning, on a hot July afternoon. We were all going to Westwood for lunch, and it was a long, hot ride all the way from the San Fernando Valley. I already had a bad feeling about this date, but being the optimist that I was, I wanted to give this guy a chance.
We got to Westwood. In Westwood, it doesn’t matter where you park, you have to pay. I directed him to the least expensive parking lot, which charged a flat fee of four dollars for all day parking. In Westwood, that is considered a very economical parking lot. When he paid his four dollars, he asked the parking attendant if he would get a portion of his money back, if he came back early. The parking attendant told him it was a flat fee, and then he looked at me with a look, I never forgot. I could tell, from the look on his face that he would have liked to have told me, that I was dating a real piece of work. I knew from that moment on, that this was not the gentleman; I met at the church social.
Our mothers and we went to the restaurant, I told him about on the phone, he asked me about the price range, and I gave him very accurate information. We got to the restaurant and I had to open my own door. We were seated in a rather tight booth and his mother was uncomfortable, when she asked him if he could ask the waitress for another booth, he would not budge. I was starting to get really annoyed with this joker. I called the waitress myself and asked to have our seats changed. If I had to be on the date from hell, I had no intention of having uncomfortable seating. We were comfortable, thanks to my initiative, not to mention my annoyance. We all ordered, I always try to be considerate when I order and I ordered one of the more moderately priced items on the menu, and so did my mom. His mother and he ordered about the same. When the bill arrived, well surprise, surprise, he told us this ridiculous story of how his credit card reached its limit, and he didn’t bring enough cash to pay for lunch.
My mother, being the wise woman that she was, made sure we brought cash of our own. My mother spoke up, and told him we could just pay for ourselves. His face lit up, he didn’t have to pay the whole meal, and he even had cash left over. We went for dessert and again, despite having the means to invite us all, we still went Dutch. My mother and I only regretted not bringing our own car, so we could just disappear. We walked around Westwood with Mr. Cheap and his mother and it was finally time to go home. I have never been happier to end a date in my life. After the date, I thanked him and made a covenant with myself, never to date him again. He called the next day, to see if I wanted to go out again. Let’s just say, I keep my covenants.
I had a friend, who had her own Mr. Cheap story. She dated a guy that was so cheap, he would take her to Mc Donald’s, order one hamburger and one drink, with a plastic knife and two straws. He would cut the burger in half, and share the drink with my friend. My friend told me, she was dating him, because it was a time in her life when she really hit rock bottom; rock bottom with half a hamburger, and sharing a drink with some loser that is.
To my male readers, I’m not saying, that men have to spend $300.00 on an outing to impress their dates. You don’t have to invite her to a lobster dinner and the Phil harmonic. You can take her to a rose garden, museum, picnic or the beach. Be creative, creativity doesn’t cost a lot, and makes for unforgettable dates. Also, be honest about the terms of the date. Men with integrity are worth far more than the richest of men. Let just say, the right woman appreciates it, when you know how to be Mr. Right.
If you plan to go Dutch on a date, be honest from the moment you invite her out. Let the woman know, the terms of the date. You, being the man, are the one that leads in the date, and sets the terms, so don’t play games. Don’t lead her on, you know, talk is cheap. Don’t make it sound, like she’s Cleopatra, and then treat her like one of the boys. Us woman, like some accountability, we like for you to communicate what the terms are. Your date will like you more, if you are honest from the start. If you’re not, you’re more likely to loose her. If it’s a casual date, try a picnic, nature is a beautiful setting.
I remember the time, when my college boyfriend and I wanted to go on a beach picnic. He agreed to bring the drinks and an ice chest, and I agreed to bring sandwiches. We went to the beach, enjoyed a majestic scenery, got to talk about what was on our hearts, it was beautiful. I still remember that being one of the best dates in my life. He did things right, he set the terms honestly, he planned on making sure we had a beautiful setting, without spending a lot money, and we agreed on the menu, we went 50/50, and that was cool.
A word of advice, to my female readers, first of all, be careful with flatterers, because talk is cheap. Always bring your own money on the first date. In fact, it’s always wise to bring some money, on any date, in case he turns out to be a jerk, and you have to call for a cab. If he tries for some weird arrangement, or he is new in the area, try to see what the dating customs are like, were he’s from. He may have very different standards than you do. Try to make sure, that he’s the type of man that is honest with you from the start. If you follow these few guidelines, you should not be in for too many bad surprises.
Dating can be a very positive experience, if done with some integrity. Honesty is the first step towards integrity, and this is foundational for a relationship to work. I'm not just saying this to men, but to women as well. Treat each other with respect, and don't defraud your date by making false promises to one another. If you can try to be friends before trying for romance, all the better. The best relationships started with the couple being just friends. Most of all, be respectful of one another. Remember, this can be the start of something great.