The narration goes like this: “This guy asked to meet tomorrow at a bar. Should I go? Free drinks…”
“He’s a bad texter, but he’ll probably pay for dinner.”
“I’m at dinner right now, and I just ordered the most expensive thing on the menu. I hope he pays. I don’t want to see him again.”
Stop right there.
All the above statements have reduced the man – or whoever is paying for the drinks and/or meal – to a paystub. In some cases, before you’ve even met. This behavior needs to stop. You should not be going out with someone if the only enticement is a free meal.
Dates are meant for respective parties to get to know one another. They are not meant as charity food drives.
Hindsight bias is okay. You can deduce after the date that the only good thing about it was, “They paid for my filet mignon.” But Gabriel help me if I hear you walking into a date from the get-go with the sole motivation of filling your empty stomach.
Free things should not be what sways you to go on a date. That is called taking advantage of someone. A lot of my (female) friends confess to this practice, and it’s a real reason for guys (or whoever) to not offer up more date invitations when talking to someone.
Day in and months out, we millennials like to bewail the current conditions of millennial dating. We don’t go on dates anymore. We only text each other after midnight. Our bedrooms have become laboratories for conceiving new STIs. And while we can blame multiple sources – Tinder et al., our parents, that time at summer camp – has anyone stopped to consider that maybe dates aren’t offered out more freely because guys can’t afford it?
Yes, we’ve come a long way. It is no longer the faux pas it once was for a guy not to cover the first date or unheard of for a woman to offer to split the bill, but there’s still a lurking expectation that “He at least offered to pay, right?” Of course, this is probably a vestige of the patriarchy (I’ll let the feminist scholars correct me if I’m wrong): A dated assumption that men should always be able to afford both halves of the meal and an assertion of wealth over the woman (read: dominance).
But it is just as bad to exploit this dogma.
men people do take advantage of women other people or have their own double standards where buying dinner means a misinformed right to sex or other commodities. Here is the chance to sidestep such abuses. Don’t fight fire with fire.
Citing free drinks is also a cop-out. We are the generation competing to not care about dating, love, and our own feelings. “Free drinks” is another excuse in our arsenal. We say, “I’m only going for drinks,” not “I might possibly enjoy their company or want to actually meet someone; ugh, who would want to do that?”
And is a meal with someone you don’t like actually worth your time? Even if there are appetizers?
If you’re decidedly not interested in the person or are dreading the date, then cancel. Don’t go through with it because you didn’t go to the grocery store this week. Or, if you insist upon showing up, at least offer to pay.