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You Never Had A Chance, Dave

I was in my mid-twenties and my co-worker, Dave, was in his late twenties.  We worked in a big, friendly office and we went out with other co-workers after work for dinner and happy hours quite often and went skiing on weekends.  We had become pretty good friends and as friends generally do when they go out in groups, everyone paid for his/her own drinks, food, etc.  One night the rest of the group of co-workers had dwindled away and we were the last two left at the bar.  He kissed me and, suddenly, we were dating.

Not much changed; we still went out with the group after work and the two of us skied and hung out on weekends.  A couple weeks after we’d kicked our friendship up a notch and were dating, we were having drinks in a bar when he suggested we move over to the restaurant side and have some dinner.  When the waiter came to take our order, Dave ordered us each a small dinner salad and a cup of soup.  While I thought it was odd that he didn’t ask me what I actually wanted, I figured he was assuming the role of the “gentleman” in our new, more-than-just-friends relationship and to him that meant ordering for me.  And, for the first time, he picked up the check which was in the $10 range.

A few spoonfuls into our “dinner” he told me how glad he was that we were already friends when we started dating because it meant that he didn’t have to go through the “impressive stage” with me.  While I was pretty sure what was coming and that I wasn’t going to like it, I could not resist the opportunity to encourage him explain just what he meant by that comment.  So I asked him to elaborate.  He explained that with me, he didn’t have to take me out for fancy dinners and “wine and dine” me because we already knew each other so he didn’t have to impress me by spending money on me like he did with other women.  Wow, I felt just like a princess.  And people say romance is dead.

To my surprise, Dave was shocked when I ended things with him.  He really thought we had a good thing going.
Shortly thereafter, I met a man who actually enjoyed (and still enjoys) that “impressive stage” and who also seemed to have a better sense of when it’s best to keep one’s mouth shut.  I married him.   06-10-09


And poor Dave probably never “got it” as to why you were turned off by his miserly admission.  A man impresses a potential mate with the substance of his character, something hopefully long established before he begins wooing.  Dave merely exposed himself as a man willing to put on an impressive act of wealth and generousity when that really wasn’t in his character to be that way.   I don’t think most women expect their men to routinely wine and dine them extravagantly for the rest of their relationships.  But it doesn’t portend well when a man foolishly blathers that he’s relieved at finding a woman he feels no real need to woo as someone special. 
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Alexis September 9, 2009, 12:56 pm

    A friend of mine had some amusing (in retrospect) adventures on a dating website. I keep telling her to wrtie a book entitled “I Bet They’re Still Single’….
    This definetly belongs in that book!

  • Alexis September 9, 2009, 12:57 pm

    Sorry, typo in previous post.

  • Cady March 24, 2010, 1:43 pm

    That reminds me of a time I went on a date with this guy who made a big deal about going to a particular restaurant because he could “buy one, get one free” there. I mean, if a guy wants to take me on a date somewhere where he doesn’t actually have to spend any money on me, fine, but don’t TELL me about it! Let me think you picked up the check because you’re a gentleman, not because you don’t actually have to pay for my meal.

  • koolchicken May 22, 2010, 9:39 pm

    I feel a little bad for this guy, just cause he was so clueless (and in so many different ways). There’s a time to share, and a time to just keep stupid/potentially hurtful comments to yourself. You would think though that a grown man would know the difference.

  • PrincessSimmi May 23, 2010, 5:34 pm

    I have to admit I had no idea what the impressive stage was until someoe pointed out that the reason I don’t know what it is is because I date losers without jobs and without money so I do the impressive stage myself. Darn. Maybe it’s just Aussie men that have no idea about anything?

  • bmyster July 20, 2010, 11:51 am

    I think there are many ways to make a woman you love feel special that have nothing to do with money. Things like a smile, a touch, kind words, giving a backrub or footrub, etc. I feel both men and women should do what they can to make their dates/SOs/spouses feel special and loved.

    And I don’t see any reason for that to fade away. 🙂

    It sounds like “Dave” didn’t do anything along those lines, either.

    To me, the bigger issue (if Dave were a Diana) would be that came across as “I don’t like doing things to make my partner feel loved, or really doing things on anyone else’s behalf except my own.”

    Selfish isn’t attractive, no matter in what venue it plays out—money, kindness, respect, appreciation, etc. And, really, excessive selfishness is what etiquette tries, in theory, to mitigate.

  • HannaLee August 23, 2010, 4:54 pm

    My first year in college, I was dating a truly wonderful person. He liked to take me out to dinner, to very nice places. In return I took him out to nice places, too. I never thought it was right for women to assume the the male in a relationship should pay. We split almost everything, although it upset him a little that I didn’t let him pay for everything. But about half way through our second semester, he started having money problems. Our dates stayed as nice, but had to be spaced out more until one day I offered to drive to a his-turn-to-pay date and drove to a fast food joint. I told him that the dates didn’t matter where we went, just that we were together. I’ve never had a better date then our McD’s date.

  • Psyche October 26, 2010, 3:17 pm

    *knocking on Dave’s head* Hello? Anybody home? That’s one of those things a guy never says out loud.

    Guys, repeat after me: if you can’t afford to pay for both you and your date’s dinner, don’t go out for dinner!

  • DrKwang November 4, 2010, 1:29 pm

    “Guys” is kinda sexist, Psyche. I would apply that to anyone, male or female, that’s asking someone else out.

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