When I recently told my sister that I was going to start actively dating and really putting myself out there, her response was simple and to the point: "Well, at least you can get a free meal out of it." I had always thought people said this as a joke, but after a bit of investigating among my single girlfriends, quite a few of them actually admitted to dating solely for the free dinner. I was perplexed. I may be financially struggling (i.e. I had pickles for dinner last night... but at least I bought them myself!) but there are certain things I just won't do — and dating for a free dinner is one of them.
On top of those who date for dinners, I also have friends who got on dates for "practice." These are the same people who never say "no" to gentlemen callers. The dude could be 60 years old, have one leg and be a raging Republican, and a handful of my friends will accept the date under the pretense of "It's always a good idea to have few dress rehearsals before the real thing." New Survey Asks: How Much Do Singles Spend On Dating?
More from YourTango: Love Bytes: 13 Things You Should Never (EVER) Say To A Guy
I'm not an avid dater. You want to know how many dates I've been on this calendar year? Let's just say the number doesn't exceed the amount of fingers I have — and I have 10 of them, because I didn't get into some nuclear goo causing me to grow an extra five and become a mutant. My reason is simple: I don't want to waste my time. And since I spend the majority of my time in my PJs writing from home and eating pickles, my time is clearly precious.
I also don't see the point in going on "practice" dates with people who I know aren't right for me. We've already covered my strict musical preferences when it comes to dating, and I've written similar pieces for The Gloss about other factors upon which I judge guys. My piece on why I won't date a guy who wears white socks put quite a few people's undies in a bunch. Did we forget that it's different strokes for different folks, you cruel Internet commenters, you? Apparently not.
I feel that it's morally wrong (yes, I have a few morals) to go on dates for free meals or for practice. I think it's disgusting, rude and misleading — and if you're a Coldplay-listening, white-socks-and-puka-shell-necklace-wearing guy from Staten Island, why would I even want a free dinner from you? What could we possibly have in common? Of course, no one like that is going to ask me out because I don't wear Tory Burch flats or wander around town with a hokey Kate Spade handbag à la 2001, but still.
More from YourTango: How To Get Married On Top Of The Empire State Building On V-Day
I know that dating and finding "The One" for me is always going to be hard. I know I have expectations and needs from a significant other that are going to be tricky to find in one person. However, I have found these traits — all of them — twice, so I know it's a possibility. I may have to wait until I'm 45 and only have one egg left to be fertilized with his sperm, but such is life. It's better to have waited than to have settled. I don't settle. I never have and never will. Settling is for chumps.
Have you ever gone on a date just for the free meal? Or maybe for "practice?" Be honest!