Small Plates With Small Expectations

, , , , , | | Romantic | August 9, 2019

(I go on a date with a guy who seems really sweet. He asks me out to dinner at a restaurant right up the road from me that I have been wanting to try for a while. We decide to sit at the bar, since it is Happy Hour.)

Date: “Would you mind doing the Happy Hour menu with me? It’s $5 cocktails, $5 beers, and $5 small plates, so it’s cheaper. We could each get a couple of small plates and make a dinner out of it.”

Me: “That sounds fine to me! I’ve made a meal out of Happy Hour options before!” 

(I am pretty excited because the Happy Hour menu has a lot of small plate options that look really good. We each order a drink.)

Bartender: “Have you guys decided whether you’d like any food tonight?”

Date: “Yeah! Why don’t we start off with one small plate each?” 

Me: “That sounds great.”

(We each order a small plate item and begin to have a pleasant conversation while we nurse our drinks and wait on our food. The food comes quickly and is delicious, but they aren’t kidding that these are small plates. They are about the equivalent of a four-piece chicken nugget — without fries — from a certain fast food restaurant. It’s maybe enough for a small lunch, but certainly not enough for dinner.)

Me: “That was really delicious! I know Happy Hour ends in like half an hour, so should we order more food and a second round of drinks?”

Date: “No, I think I’m good. Maybe another drink. I’m actually getting pretty full.” 

(I am honestly baffled. We’ve had one small appetizer each, yet he is saying he is full.)

Me: “Oh. Okay, well, let’s at least order another round of drinks.” 

(The bartender comes back. Before we can order another round of drinks…)

Date: “Oh, can I get a to-go order?” 

(He then proceeds to ask the bartender for three different entrees and an appetizer TO GO from the full-price main menu.)

Me: *in complete disbelief* “You dipping out on me?” *nervous laughter*

Date: “No, I just know I’ll be hungry later.”

Me: *in my head* “Of course you’ll be hungry later… We only had an appetizer. I’m hungry now!” *out loud* “Well, I’m actually still pretty hungry now, so I think I might order something else.”

Date: “Oh, I didn’t know we were going to eat a lot of food tonight.”

Me: *internally* “You invited me to dinner!

(I am too embarrassed at this point to try to argue with him. It feels like he is almost food-shaming me for wanting more than an appetizer. He almost immediately changes the subject and starts talking about himself for a while. I keep glancing at my phone to see if Happy Hour is over yet, because I want more food.)

Me: “Happy Hour ends in a few minutes. You sure you don’t want to get more food?” 

Date: “Yeah, I’m sure.” *continues to ramble on and on*

(I’m completely dejected at this point. I’m self-conscious about my weight and have anxiety as it is, so pushing back against something like this makes me really nervous. So, I just sit there with a fake smile on my face, listening to him talk, and attempting to find things to say in response. Finally, half an hour after Happy Hour ends, he looks over at the menu and notices another appetizer that sparks his fancy.)

Date: “Ooooh, this appetizer looks good.” *checks watch* “But dang, Happy Hour is over. Too bad.” 

Me: *screaming internally*

(When the check comes, I don’t even bother offering to contribute. I know that my entire “meal” cost about $10 — $5 for my cocktail and $5 for my small plate. I glance at the bill when he opens it, and it is over $60, meaning he’s ordered himself like $40 worth of food to go, on top of the $10 for his small plate and drink. A few minutes later, we wrap up our date and he gives me a weird side-hug thing.)

Date: “Thanks for taking the time to meet me tonight.” 

Me: “Thanks for ‘dinner.'” 

(Yes, I used air quotes and no, he did not catch on. I then proceeded to stop at a fast food place on my way home to get a $10 dinner that would actually satisfy a grown adult’s appetite. I would have been completely understanding had he not been hungry, not wanted to spend very much, or had he not been feeling well. I’ve had guys say, “Oh, I’m full, but you’re more than welcome to order something else if you’re still hungry,” and similar things. I’ve never had a guy basically shut me down every time I tried to order dinner.  At one point, I even offered to have separate checks so I could just order myself more food. But he weirdly kind of shut that down without being aggressive or outright rude. He just kind of changed the subject. I’ve also NEVER had someone order a to-go order right in the middle of a date, especially while insisting that neither of us should order more food.)

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