When your date is the definition of CHEAP!
Look, I know we all like a bargain. I especially love scouring the stores searching for my favorite fashions at a discounted rate, seventy-five percent off being my preferred starting point. And, as I am currently on a ridiculously tight financial budget, happy hours have become my new going out. But even though I am conservative in my spending, no one ever has, or ever will, refer to me as cheap.
I remember when my actress friend’s TV show was the hottest in the country, she would always insist on paying the bill as she knew my low-paying assistant job was barely keeping me afloat. But that being said, I still offered. And when she refused, I would pick up the Starbucks coffee or the movie tickets the following day. I think reciprocity is essential in a friendship or any relationship, for that matter. When people have the means to do beautiful things for you, trust me, they appreciate you doing something in return. It doesn’t matter the value dollar, it’s the fact that you are showing them you appreciate their generosity.
Simple, it’s really simple.
I have never been a ‘gimme-gimme’ girl or a gold-digger. I’ve dated men who had their own jets and men who waited tables for a living. I believe that you should always give someone a chance at getting to know you, and you them. You never know who you will end up falling in love with, or what a chance encounter will mean for you at some point in your life. Therefore, I try to keep an open mind about meeting new people, and specifically about going out with someone whom I don’t initially deem as my type. Worst case, you might end up with a new friend, best case you find your soul mate. Ironically, I would say that the majority of my past relationships were guys who were not initially what I considered to be my type at all.
Recently my focus has not been on dating, instead it’s been on getting my career on track. It’s my sole priority at the moment. However, when the dating Gods throw a cute and prospective partner and it literally lands at your feet, what are you going to do? Stomp over it or bend down and introduce yourself?
INTRODUCING MYSELF TO MR. CHEAP
I was at an entertainment industry event, networking, being the social butterfly that I am. A few cocktails into the evening, I ran into one of my acquaintance friends, Danny, from a different networking group that I also belong to. Danny was with his friend, who, for the purposes of this story, I will refer to as Mr. Cheap.
Mr. Cheap was cute, boyish-looking. We sat on the stage of the event and chatted for quite some time. I discovering that he was an up and coming producer and director, currently having an award-winning documentary film circling the independent film festivals. We hit it off, and there was a chemistry between us. We discovered we lived near each other and he suggested we meet up. As such, we exchanged numbers.
After that, I continued to circulate the party until that time when I realized that I needed to call it a night. The next morning, I had a text from Mr. Cheap that he had texted to me around 11:30 pm at night, wondering what I was up to.
First Red Flag from Mr. Cheap!
What was I up to at 11:30 pm at night? Sleeping. I was sleeping. I politely answered him, but at the same time felt annoyed. Annoyed, why you ask? I was annoyed because every girl knows that a guy who texts her late at night is looking for a hook-up. And, as I am not the random hook-up type, it’s a turn off when a guy approaches me in this manner from the get-go.
Several weeks later, I received a text from Mr. Cheap saying he was sorry that he meant to follow up earlier, and wondered if I’d like to grab a coffee. Coffee is not my drink of choice. I drink one cup in the morning, any more I would not sleep for two days. A red bull keeps me awake for three. So, I said I’d love to meet up but perhaps for a glass of wine at a Happy Hour or something.
He liked the idea and suggested the following Thursday evening, if I was free, as there was also an art gallery event that night to go as well. He then sent me a screenshot of the invite for the art gallery, and as it was around the corner from me (well five blocks but I’m a walker), I thought it might end up being a fun night.
On Tuesday, I texted him and said that I could meet him at 5 pm at The Henry, as they had a happy hour from 5 to 7, and it was half a block from the event. He got back to me and said it sounded good, but then, he added…
His Second Red Flag…
He said that he wanted to have his car parked at the Gallery by 6:15 pm as the parking was free before that time. I found it a bit odd, yet not entirely disconcerting that he was filling me in on his parking situation, but responded that he could park at the Gallery and just walk down to the Henry. And, he seemed cool with that.
Thursday night, the date is on…
So, I’m always on time, annoyingly so, I was seated at a lovely table perusing the happy hour menu as he came up. At first, I was relieved that he was as cute as I had remembered as we exchanged an awkward hug.
The waiter sprinted over to our table, inquiring as to what we would like. Mr. Cheap peeped up and said, ‘So, it’s still happy hour, right?’ The waiter reinforced to him that it was, and I asked for the happy hour red wine. Mr. Cheap looked at the menu and picked out a beer he liked. The waiter inquired as if we wanted food, and Mr. Cheap answered, ‘No, we’re good.’
Okay, so actually, I wasn’t good. I was starving. I had been staring at the happy hour menu for ten minutes while waiting for him, and the guacamole had been silently calling my name for the last seven minutes while I waited. But, not wanting to be rude, I just sat there and smiled.
I listened to Mr. Cheap talk about his movie, the process of making it, about growing up in Minnesota and truthfully, he was (and is) a very interesting person. We must have talked for about an hour when Mr. Cheap looked at his watch and became nervous. All of a sudden, he blurted out…
“I have to go; I have to go and move my car.”
I was a little perplexed as I thought he had parked at the gallery and walked down. He explained he was running late, so he had just parked at the two-hour free parking lot down the street from the restaurant. So, now, he needed to go and move it to the other free lot behind the gallery in order to save the two-dollar parking fee he would occur.
Are you fucking kidding me?
You are telling me about saving two dollars, and the necessity to save two dollars is essential enough for you to interrupt our dialogue?
Yep, that was Red Flag number three.
I could see the stress on his face, and asked one of the nearby waiters if he could tell our waiter that we wanted the bill. As we waited for the bill, I could see he was nervous. I offered to pay for it and meet him at the gallery, but he was like ‘No, that’s okay, I just hope they hurry.’ I tried to distract him by asking him questions about the Berlin film festival, mentioning that one of my friends and I had an open-ended invitation to stay at her friends’ hotel if we ever made it to Berlin.
Trying to keep the dialogue going, I texted my friend asking her the name off the hotel, and she texted back its name, ‘Hotel Zoo.’ He said he hadn’t heard of it and mentioned that he was really good at doing Europe on the ‘cheap.’ In fact, he had already purchased his ticket to Berlin months ago for under two hundred dollars.
If you could have read my mind at that moment, I was thinking to myself, ‘yep, I bet you do know how to do Europe on the cheap, since it appears you have ALL the free parking spots in LA memorized as well.’
Finally, the waiter came back with the bill, and it was nine dollars. I offered to pay the five dollars for my wine, and he looked at me, hesitated and then said, ‘No, I’ve got it.’ I could tell he was still nervous about making the cut off time for the parking, so I told the waiter we were in a tremendous hurry. The waiter promised he would be right back.
He looked restless as we waited for the credit card receipt to come back, the silence was awkward. Finally, the waiter returned with the credit card, Mr. Cheap signed it and literally leapt out of his seat. As he put his card away, I noticed that he’d only left a dollar tip. I thought about putting more in for the tip, but then, that would have likely embarrassed or emasculated the poor dude.
As he literally sprinted up out of his chair, he started to apologize for his car, and went on to explain that he had borrowed a car as his car was in the shop. And as he continued to explain his car drama to me, I cut him off at the pass and said: ‘Hey, Mr. Cheap, why don’t you go and move your car, I’d like to use the restroom before I leave anyway, then I’ll walk up and meet you at the gallery.’
And… Mr. Cheap ran out. And when he was in safe running distance, I went up to the waiter and gave him three dollars I had scrunched up in my hand.
Okay, so now I’m waiting outside the art gallery. He showed up a few seconds after I arrived. We entered the gallery, and as he seemed to know the majority of the people in attendance, I stood by silently listening as he chatted away.
Art gallery openings can be exciting, or they can be fucking weird. Sometimes the art is fascinating, and the eclectic mix of people can make for fun people watching. This evening, however, the art was anything but engaging, and the people were diverse to the point of being odd. Odd, very odd. A small bar was set up in the room, offering wine and pretzels. I was relieved for the wine, but by this time, I was beyond starving. And, unfortunately, as the pretzels were not gluten-free, I couldn’t eat them.
An hour later, I was bored, bored, and hungry. I was on my second glass of wine, my now third of the evening, and I knew if I didn’t eat something soon, that I would likely pass out. So, I went up to Mr. Cheap and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to go home and get something to eat. I’m starving. You seem to know a lot of people here, so please just stay and enjoy yourself. And thank you for the invitation.’
I gave him a hug and bolted. I practically sprinted home and sat glued to the microwave salivating as my ‘Amy’s Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese’ circled around on the glass plate, anxious for the ‘beep beep beep’ sound from my microwave indicating that my dinner was cooked.
After I had stuffed food into my face, I sent him a nice thank you text, closed my eyes, and crashed. And, what did I wake up to the following morning?
Red Flag number 4…
Yep, a text from Mr. Cheap at 11 pm asking what I was doing.
Ugh, there is the random hook-up text again. So, as you can likely ascertain by now, that was the last time I went out with Mr. Cheap. As interesting of a guy as he was, at this point in my life can’t date a man who has to worry about two dollars. It was JUST TOO MUCH FOR ME!
I still don’t understand why he thought he needed to fill me in on the nuances of his mind. Did I need to know about the two-dollar parking thing? A smart guy would have handled it and left out the details. It really is a turn-off, truthfully it is. It’s WAY TOO MUCH information for someone you’ve just met.
At the end of the day, I am not at a point in my life when I want to date someone who is worried about two dollars. I don’t think I even had this issue when I was in high school? And, the two-dollar parking issue aside, I don’t want a guy who just wants to hook-up with me. I want someone who wants to take the time to get to know me.
Am I the difficult one here? You tell me.
And, the moral to this Cheap Date story is…
- Red Flag warnings happen for a reason. Don’t ignore them.
- Dating is tough, but at least when it’s a disastrous experience, I can poke fun of it in my blog, and it gives me something to talk about. And hopefully, YOU something to laugh about!
- Compromising is essential, but knowing your limits is more important. ‘Nuff said… xoxo
P.S. If you love dogs, please check out my sweet and funny novel called ‘Where the Dogs Go’ available online at Amazon or Barnes and Nobles.