Tag Archives: Dates

House Rules: Who Should Pay on the Last Date

You know, the discussion of who should pay on a first date is a pretty old, circular and tired argument. There are tens of thousands of opinions on the question in books and magazines and all over the internet, including our own sage advice on the matter. It’s the kind of question that most people ask simply because they want their own opinions reinforced, and most answers, whether foolish or wise, fall on deaf ears anyway.

We’re here today though to answer a question which is just as important, yet seldom ever discussed; namely, who should pay on the last date.

'It's not you... it's on me.'

We’ve got the answer, but before we give it to you we’ve got to figure out if a last date is even necessary. It can be a tough thing to end a relationship with someone. We’re not even talking about serious relationships here either. We mean Dumping someone, with a capital D. You don’t ‘Dump’ your long term significant other, and even if you did we wouldn’t have much advice to give you.

No, we’re talking about those sorts of relationships that get past that crucial third date, and may go all the way up to boyfriend or girlfriend status, but definitely stop short of “in love”. So, 99% of most peoples’ relationships.

Sometimes things just don’t work out, and if you’re not Dumping someone for a specific reason (like cheating, an argument, etc), you may think the most gentle and forthright way to go about it is over dinner, or at least over drinks or coffee or something. The Chop subscribed to this logic for many years, but plenty of very bitter experience (on both ends) has convinced us otherwise. It’s a sort of juvenile, emo record, life-as-romantic-comedy sort of idea that backfires more often than not.

The truth is that if you’re about to Dump someone you’re not in love with, you sometimes have very little idea how they might react. They might become angry or withdrawn or resentful or confused. They might even be indifferent. At any rate, Dumping someone halfway through a dinner is a sure-fire guarantee that the rest of the meal will be excruciatingly awkward and uncomfortable. The only thing worse than getting dumped is getting dumped in public.

Another strategy that some people pursue is to schedule a date, but then meet up and say “Oh, let’s not have dinner after all. We need to talk…” This is not any better, as it’s basically the equivalent of standing someone up one last time. If you arrange a date, a date should happen. Although this tactic is slightly preferable to calling the person you’re seeing on the phone and saying “We need to talk…” and then refusing to say anything else until you see them again. For the love of God, don’t do that!

We truly believe that in most cases a face-to-face Dumping is not necessary. On the rare occasions when you feel it is an obligation, the best way is to go over to someone’s house and be matter of fact about it. Any pretense of dinner or anything else will all come to nothing in the end.

But supposing you absolutely feel you simply must meet someone out in public for a pre-scheduled Dumping, because you “owe them that much at least” or whatever, the least you can do is pay the goddamn bill. That’s right. We’re calling it right now. It’s a new rule. From now on it will be a point of etiquette carved in stone: The person doing the dumping pays the bill. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, man or woman. It doesn’t matter if you’re dumping them over beers at the Dizz, coffee at the Grind, or a Feast at 4 East. if you’re dumping, you’re paying.

It’s the least you can do. You owe them that much.

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House Rules: Is This a Date?

It’s a thoroughly modern world these days, Baltimore. The days of presenting debutantes, old-fashioned courtships and calling cards are by and large over, and they’re not coming back any time soon. Likewise the ideas about dating that a lot of us grew up with are also fallen by the wayside. Flowers and candy and dinner-and-a-movie can often seem as stale and corny as Chuck Woolery’s hairpiece.

The generation behind ours is also thoroughly mucking things up with their whole hangout-and-hookup dynamic, not to mention text and IM and “it’s complicated.” Even lately we’ve been out with grown women who were attractive and pleasant, yet claim to never have been taken on a proper date, which is astounding, confusing, and more than a little sad.

Are these two on a date? Does it matter?

Brett McKay over at the Art of Manliness takes the old school approach to asking someone out, and even thinks it will make you a better man. We subscribe to most of what they say, even though their advice is from the 1950’s. But the McKays are from Oklahoma, where dating options are limited, and they were married very young, so we take their advice with a grain of salt, too.

The truth is that no matter how straightforward you might be you will, sooner or later, find yourself sitting across from someone not knowing whether what you’re doing is or is not a date.

You can always ask, of course. Asking is not the worst thing in the world, as a gentleman doesn’t assume anything one way or the other, but before you do you’ll need to have decided how you feel as well as how you might react to all possible answers. If your pseudo-date is going relatively well, asking what it is can be an awkward moment at best, and can grind it right to a halt at worst.

So when you find yourself next to a beautiful, charming, exciting, intelligent, urbane, and all-around wonderful woman- as the Chop does from time to time- we say it’s best to just shut up and enjoy it. Be glad that she’s there and glad that you’re alive. Be happy for the conversation, for the connection and the evening; the rest will work itself out.

Whether or not you’re on an actual date is unimportant. What really matters is that you make sure it goes well and that you both enjoy it. Do that, and you’ll know very soon whether or not it was a date, and you’ll be delighted when you find out that it was.

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