Friday, October 20, 2006

I'll make you pay for this!

I've never been a strong supporter of making the guy pay for everything on a date. However, during a window period of 6 months in 1997, I went through a massive dating spree and mentioned to a friend that it was seriously impacting my continued status as a non-bankrupt. Why? she asked. Well, I keep paying for the dinners and the lunches, particularly if I don't fancy the guy.

Why do you pay if you don't fancy the guy?

Duh. So I won't feel obliged to go out with him again, just because he sponsored my last meal!

You idiot! Let me teach you, she said. You will learn to get the guy to pay for your meal. It's not difficult, you know.

So she brought me out on a date. Like it was HER date with a guy she was seeing non-exclusively - I just tagged along. Good looking, rich, very charming, super bad boy reputation (although I wonder if she spiced that bit up to incentivise me).

Anyway, she's right. It's not difficult.

1. You let the guy pick the restaurant. Of course you can veto all his choices until he picks a restaurant you like - duh!

2. You let the guy do the ordering. At most fancy restaurants, the waiter is going to take the orders from him anyway. You tell the guy what you want to eat before the waiter arrives and let him take it from there.

3. When the waiter asks about the winelist, you tell the guy to decide.

4. The clincher is the crucial 5 seconds when the bill is arriving. Note - arriving, not arrives. The waiter comes wandering over with the bill, right. You look ahead, or if you're talking, you pause and look at the waiter, but YOU DO NOT MAKE A SINGLE MOVE. No diving for your handbag. No patting of your pocketses. Drink water if you need to overcome the urge (at this point during my tutorial, I had already reached behind for my handbag but my friend The Teacher grabbed my hand under the table and crushed it. Then she kicked me.) The point is to remain calm.

5. After the guy has put cash or credit card into the bill folder and the waiter has taken the bill away, then you look squarely at the guy and smile. Thanks for the dinner. Then, just ever so casually, you say "How much should I pay you for my portion?" Whatever you do, do NOT mentally calculate your portion and then hand over a fistful of cash then tell him to keep the change. Because there's an even chance that he probably will do exactly that.

Asking "How much should I pay you for my portion?" is an interesting question because the guy can't do the sums in his head mentally - he's got to subtract his portion from the total, then factor in 10% service, 5% GST and 3% CESS. Plus he'll look like a stingy bastard. No man will do this. No man.


At 4:06 PM, Blogger knobby said...

Hilarious and so devious! Forwarded to a bunch of my female friends but to protect the rest of my gender, all of them are rich/successful/in steady relationships, and so don't really need these tips!

But I don't think you ever actually put your guru's advice into practice, did you?

At 4:26 PM, Blogger HairyDonut said...

I just can't. My face will contort itself into a big red mess and my head will explode from the shame.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the tips!

next, you need to write a chapter on how that friend of yours managed to scam the guy into thinking "whats mine is yours and whats yours is yours".


At 11:34 PM, Blogger ene said...

The last bit cracked me up and I found myself mentally trying to do a phantom bill with all that +++ thrown in.

I share your sentiments. I used to buy a guy a drink back at a club just so I don't need to feel obliged to speak with him just cos he bought me a stupid drink that I could clearly afford on my own.

My girlfriends all thought I was weird so I can totally identify with how you feel. I usually pay for my share too (especially if it's a date) because that few seconds waiting for someone to pay is enough to make me squirm in my seat.

Your friend is good.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger knobby said...

I just can't.

Yeah, you're the type. Thankfully, most of the women I meet are like you rather than your lao shi.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous liz said...

the last bit is spot on!
no man will want to 'lose face', even if he loathes paying.

but yes, it is pretty embarrassing - especially if one is the independent sort (:

At 12:11 AM, Blogger gremlin said...

oh come on girls! chivalry has long smoked up last I checked. let him pay. if you decide you like him enough, then consider paying in the FUTURE. but until you make up your mind....he'll manage it. otherwise he can cook or something else. but if you ask him out then of course that's a different equation. seetho's the hero. teach your daughters likewise!

At 5:22 AM, Blogger The Screwy Skeptic said...

oh my god, that's brilliant! now how the hell do i do that without feeling guilty? because i'm going broke here paying for dates i didn't ask for.

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous dilettanteP said...

Hmm, interesting.

Think that is very applicable in the Singaporean context since there are so many different taxes on top of that restaurant bills...

Down here where I am, the guy could probably do the maths straight up!!!

Met one particular on one occasion in Jan who really don't know what is face- for a good reason. Such a cheapie- though his packaging was not bad.

To cut the long story short, it was one of this other guy who was buying drinks for him, my best friend (who was visitng and was her last nite) and myself and he didn't do his bit. Plus he is an I-banker. Then on top of that, we suggested going to a club and he said he didn't feel like paying for cover charge (even for himself?!!!)

The whole night he tried to pay this other guy out by saying that you know he's attached right? Which was really none of his business!!! We all knew and we were all having a good time.

Then later, he had the audacity to suggest to us girls to go to his apartment (in a prestigious block in town) to soak up with him in a hot tub!!!!

Urrgghhhh... am so disgusted!!! BIG turnoff!!!

We figured he need to take some basic crash course lessons asap on how not to turn off a girl by being a CHEAPIE!!!

At 10:04 AM, Blogger HairyDonut said...

Hi Dilettantep! I can't recall ever meeting anyone as cheap as that - I thought their genes would've become extinct centuries ago. You've got a live one there!

SS: You're not a Jedi yet! But then neither am I. The middle ground is, when you know that you really can't pay for his portion and yours, to ask him "Shall we split this?" Then it limits your exposure to 50% of the invoice.

At 8:58 PM, Anonymous inex said...

hahaha I suppose most girls arent that stingy, just that we like to think most guys are chivalous enough to sponsor the date.

p.s I use the very same tactics during dating spree days too ;)

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