The topic of "who pays" is an increasingly touchy subject in the world of modern dating and romance. Typically, men are expected to front the bill when going on a first date and merely suggesting otherwise throws some people into a tizzy.
There are different poles on a spectrum of varying opinions on the topic. On one extreme, you have the uber meninists who use this "standard" practice of men fronting the cost for first dates as an excuse to blast their misogynistic propaganda on social media. On the flip side, you've got women who "abuse" this social standard to fleece dudes into shelling out for free meals in the hopes they will get laid.
Most people, however, are normal people who lie somewhere in the middle.
A lot of people go out for coffee or some low-cost activity on a first date and just really try to get to know someone without all the dressings and expectations of fancy atmosphere. Still others understand that a person't isn't necessarily a "certain way" just because they were born a man or a woman. A crummy person is a crummy person regardless of their gender.
And if Reddit user RustedCornhole's story is true, then in this instance, we're dealing with a woman who is "abusing the system."
He posted the following conundrum to members of the AITA subreddit, asking if he would be in the wrong if he were to fork over the phone number of his Tinder date who ditched him the second he brought up the suggestion of splitting the bill.
From the way he tells the story, once she heard that she'd be on the hook for her half of the meal, she literally just up and left. He was initially shocked and didn't know how to react. He clarified that he had initially suggested getting coffee and going to this restaurant was her idea. They had no previous discussion beforehand that dinner was going to be his treat, either.
He talked to the bartender at the restaurant and explained the situation. In a happy turn of events, it turns out she left her driver's license before dining and dashing. It turns out she's got a reputation for being a bad tipper, so the bartender was more than willing to let OP transfer her meal to the tab she failed to close.
People immediately sided with OP, saying that it's never cool to just leave someone in the lurch like that, especially when there wasn't a previous acknowledgment that someone in particular would be paying for drinks and food.
As it turns out, tons of people use social networking and dating sites just to get free meals. Some are a little more conspicuous about it than others. Like this one Imgur user who got "super liked" by someone on Tinder, and then realized pretty soon into the outing that their date was only in it for the free meal.
He wrote about his experience on the image-sharing platform and, from the sound of it, it was pretty terrible:
"I signed up for Tinder, just to see what would happen. A few hours later, I got “superliked,” which is apparently better than “liked”. We talked for a few days, she seemed super cool. I suggested a date, and she insisted on it being dinner. Cool.
"We met up tonight at a restaurant I’d picked out. She didn’t look at me, wore sweatpants, and immediately ordered a $13 appetizer. Okay, not a dealbreaker. I tried starting a conversation a few times, but she only gave one word answers. Then, she orders a $25 steak and $22 crab legs. She drank four $9 glasses of wine. I got the steak, and a few drinks myself. Right about the time our main course(s) arrived, I’d pretty much given up. She talked more to the waiter."
After getting up and going to the bathroom, however, a thunderbolt of an idea occurred to him. Why shouldn't he dine and ditch instead? Which is exactly what he did:
"As we were finishing, I excused myself and went to the restroom. While I was in there, a light bulb went off. I left the bathroom, headed out the door, got in my car, and drove home.
Now, here I am. She messaged me a few times, called me a “f$%#!” about twelve times. Eh."
I personally would've just intercepted the waiter and quietly paid for my own portion of the bill, or split up the tabs when it came time to pay. Some people who responded to the story suggested as much, while others applauded him for his quick thinking.
One user had the brilliant suggestion to arrive early and tell the server you'll need two checks, because you can always pick up both if you're feeling generous later.
What do you think? Is dining and dashing on a date ever a good idea? Should clear guidelines on who is paying for what be set before going on a date? Or does that destroy the potential for "romance" in the future?