Dating Disaster: "I'll Pay For Your Drink, But Not Your Fries"

woman eating french fries
Heartbreak, Self

The tale of a very salty first date.

I was in the midst of a particularly long in-between boyfriends stretch when a friend of a friend asked me for drinks at my favorite local neighborhood bar. He was a pudgy foreign guy who worked in finance and whose cockiness masked some major insecurities — the least of which, I'm sure, was the growing bald spot he'd developed at 30.

I went anyway, trudging the three blocks to the bar through the winter slush. Hey, I had nothing to lose — maybe the arrogance would reveal itself as charm or humor or self-deprecation, and anyway I've always had a thing for know-it-alls, I reasoned. Plus, I really liked that little bar, with its candles in mason jars and comfy velour couches. It would be nice to go on a date with someone I actually like there someday, I thought. Maybe this is the next best thing. 5 Worst First Dates Ever

We sat at the bar with our drinks (me: vodka cran, him: scotch on the rocks), talking about college and our jobs. Well, I was talking. He was judging me and chiming in with "my summer at J.P. Morgan"-type anecdotes.

The sparks were not exactly flying in the first place, but it was when I ordered french fries to eat with my vod-cran (which I made sure never to let out of my sight) and he gave me the "side eye" that I realized things were really not going to work out.

"I will not invite you for the french fries," he said with his snotty accent.

I swiveled about 45 degrees in my bar stool, cocking my head.

"Come again?"

"I will invite you for the cocktail, but not for the french fries," the arrogant prick uttered.

It was really hard to keep myself from laughing, although part of me was kind of hurt.

"Oh. Well. That's fine. Thanks for making that so clear." You just cost yourself another date. There was still at least a five-percent chance of that.

He walked me home. As we said good-bye, I awkwardly waved and ran off down my driveway to avoid making any physical contact.

For weeks after that, he tried to take me on a second date. And while I'm usually pretty communicative — "Sure, let's go out," "No thanks, I would rather pluck out every hair on my body one by one" — something in me couldn't bring myself to even respond to his texts asking to do brunch. It's not as though I'm not capable of paying for myself, or that I think women should never pay for dates — it was the picky, particular way in which he delineated exactly what he will and will not pay for.

I still shudder when I think of that guy. I hope he finds a girl who makes spreadsheets with him where they record who paid for the french fries and who paid for the drinks. I hope they're really happy together. 

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