This is part of the ongoing Cheap Date Series. Cheap never looks good, and there’s a fine line between frugal and cheap. If you’ve got a cheap date story you’d like to share, please let me know so we can share with everyone!
This story comes from Emily James, who runs eM & Mo Talk. Below her story are some additional comments and tips on her experience and cheap first dates.
In her own words:
There’s Cheap… and Then There’s Bring-a-Flask to the Bar Cheap
Whenever some guy hits on me in a bar, I just want to lie down and take a nap.
Parties are different. At parties, there is a sense of community and one has reason to believe that the chances of a serial killer being among the group are below 10 percent (at least.)
So when a Heath Ledger look-alike approached me at a friend’s party in Bushwick, I didn’t immediately have the urge to fall asleep. In fact, I don’t even think I yawned.
We flirted, played flip cup and made out in a dark room. It was fun. The following week, we had some solid texting (he had good texting skills, which is very important in this day and age).
He picked a good spot on the Lower East Side for drinks. He looked good. Everything was good. It was destined for disaster.
I had arrived earlier without knowing he was already there so we both had drinks in our hands when we sat down together. The conversation was fun and flowed easily. Unfortunately, the drinks did not.
The waitress approached us and asked us if we’d like another. I ordered a beer, but he decided to hold off on another whiskey — at least, that’s what I thought.
The server wasn’t two feet away when he reached into his pocket, took out a flask and poured its contents into his empty bar class. I was shocked. I thought there would at least be some kind of joke (embarrassment? humility?), but no.
“I’m in law school,” he said, as if that explanation were the answer to all my life’s ailments.
We went to another bar.
Why did I continue hanging out with him, you ask?
The truth is that I had double-booked and was meeting another guy afterwards. Don’t judge me: I live in New York and I’ve been single for two and a half years.
I decided I was going to need a stronger drink for this one. I ordered a Stoli Blueberry and soda, then turned to Mr. Stingy to let him order. But he wasn’t looking at the bartender — he was staring at me aghast, as if I had just ordered Foie Gras with his grad school tuition loan money.
“I’ll get this one,” I offered, just to get that awful look off his face.
It was as if I had saved his life. He beamed a huge smile my way and said to the bartender, “She’s the best.”
It was single-handedly the most tragic compliment I’d received in my entire life.
Finally, I went to meet up with the other guy, who actually had a wallet filled with contents other than some old Bazooka Joe wrappers and change.
But before I could leave, Mr. Stingy demanded a goodnight kiss. He even suggested we go back to his place!
The next day, I awoke to a text from him asking when we could hang out again.
My response was honest, if a bit harsh.
I replied, “Perhaps if you put away a dollar a day for the next three months, Christmas could work.”
“Great!” was his response.
Daniel’s note: WOW, that’s a horrible way to impress a date! I saw a girl do the same thing in a bar and was very unimpressed. Especially since she could probably have gone up to a guy and asked him to buy her a drink!
Follow-Up Questions For Emily
What advice do you have for guys on first dates?
Always pay for the first date, no matter what. If this guy couldn’t swing cocktails, he could have suggested beer and pizza or something cheaper. After the first date, splitting is fine — but never let her get the full tab so early on!
Where do you draw the line between frugal and cheap?
Frugal is picking a modest place and still getting the bill. Cheap is picking a swanky place and then letting your date pick up the tab.