Cheap or Frugal: Who Pays For Dinner?

I wish I could tell you that Island-Boy and I have plans to co-habit in his treehouse on the beach. I wish I could tell you that my endless online connections are severed—as I have found ‘The One.’ Yes, there were indications of trouble ahead, but they were only suspicions. He made me laugh. He drove a long way to see me, as I drove a long way to see him. The chemistry was definitely there.

There was a little incident when we stopped at a Sushi Restaurant, inexpensive and quite good. When the bill came, I didn’t offer to pay. He hesitated picking up the tab from the table, and when I made no move for it, he reluctantly turned it over and examined closely. I waited it out. I had made up my mind that I was not paying for half. He owns a one acre oceanfront property listed for sale at three-quarters of a million dollars. He owns another property in town twenty minutes away. His truck is worth at least fifty thousand dollars. I felt he should pay for the dinner. He did, but I could sense he wasn’t happy about it.

I settled in back home, happy about my mini-vacation. He and I emailed back and forth afterwards. He wrote and asked if I would come out to his property (two ferries away—at a cost of about a hundred dollars.) I wrote that I would. He seemed happy and sent the following email:

Hi Adrienne,

The oceanfront home has some kitchen supplies (kettle/toaster) and the treehouse next door has more that can be borrowed. So you can cook if U desire or U may want to eat at my house. I don’t know your habits or diet (apparantly U don’t like seaweed) and U may want alone time eating your favourite comfort foods. On Tuesday we could plan and purchase food for dinner together; I recommend U bring the following: flashlight, towels, bedding for LTC latex single (i don’t have any do U?-i have blankets ), food, CD’s, there is a long, claw foot bathtub.

That was it. I re-read it. I felt more hospitality from the hostel I stayed at. At least there they supplied sheets and towels. I don’t like seaweed? How much seaweed does he eat? And note the word, ‘purchase’ when referring to purchasing food for dinner together. That stood out to me. He didn’t write, ‘shop,’ which means something entirely different than, ‘purchase.’ I sensed he was looking for way to get back his money from the Sushi dinner.

I simmered.

And then during my break at work, after encouragement from my co-worker, to write out my feelings, I wrote this:

I’ve had time to mull over the last couple emails and think over how this kind of a relationship would play out, being long distance. For one, I really can’t afford the 100 dollars (at least) to come out on Monday, especially in that I just spent that last week. Also, how will we continue to get to know each other beyond next week? I have to think realistically about this and as much as I enjoy adventure, seeing new things, I am seriously looking for a partner in life and someone who is available both emotionally and in proximity to build and get to know.

I know you plan on moving to the big island and, after I’ve considered that (if we really hit it off and wanted to be together) that move doesn’t hold any interest for me. I really do like the Mainland for many reasons (my job, my son, and the diversity) and I don’t want to live out there. So I really like you, but there seem to be some insurmountable issues. If you see things in a different light, do let me know.

I held my finger over the send button and looked questioningly over to her.

“Should I?”

“Send it.”

And so I did.

An hour later I received his scathing response:

$$$$$ LOGIC $$$$$

Adrienne, I understand your logic, thanks for actually writing in your own words, your lazy practice of integrating my writing with yours is annoying. I have worked diligently to overcome a depression consciousness acquired from my father who grew up during the Great Depression, your frugality is oppressive; you are my only coffee date ever who did not offer to pay for her own food on the first date. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here. Good luck in your path.


I was in shock. First, the capital letters and dollars signs in the title felt like he was screaming at me. And as for being called lazy about integrating my writing with his bewildered me. I was answering his questions by hitting reply to his emails, and like he said, that automatically integrates my answers. He told me he thought the technique was ‘cool’ when I met him and he asked me to show how I did it. And I was right, in that he was angry about having to pay the bill for dinner.

I resisted the impulse to respond and defend myself. I know that anger is covering hurt and so I do feel some compassion for him. I’ve never had anyone resort to name calling before. I am glad that this came out before I took the trip out to see him. One of my friends remarked that she strongly felt this prospect was not well. Maybe she is right.

I think it has taught me a lesson, and it’s not about who should pay for dinner.


Cheap or Frugal: Who Pays For Dinner? © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read the latest Adrienne exploit on Now.readthisplease.


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