Beware The Woman Who Upgrades The Date

Name: John
Age: 45
State: NY
Question: I will describe the circumstances of my recent first date and then ask a couple of questions. Met a girl online and we exchanged a few emails and phone calls and set up the date. Since I recently moved to her area, I suggested we go to a Houlihans or TGIFridays for drinks since I didnt know any other places. Besides, I was familiar with those establishments atmosphere wise and price wise. She then said she preferred a wine bar she frequently goes to instead. I agreed.

We each had 2 glasses of wine (way more expensive than Houlihans or Fridays) and after 2 hours she said she had to leave. The conversation up to that point I thought went very well and there was even some minor shoulder touching when we spoke. SO at that point I knew I enjoyed it more than her. When the bill came, she didnt offer to pay but did say thanks.

When I walked her to her car, I got the cheek kiss and a hug. At that point it was obvious she wasnt interested and we parted. The next day she sends me an email saying I was sweet but not right for each other.

Now the questions. Since she didnt feel anything, should she have stopped after the first glass of wine and maybe had water or soda instead? If she did order the second glass, should she have at least offered to pay when the bill came? This bugs me because she upped the ante on my original suggestion to a more upscale place from Houlihans to that wine bar. Had the same scenario played out in my original offer, it would have cost far less.

I feel like she was in a win-win situation. She gets a potential connection or else a free night at an upscale place. She says she dates frequently and has been on all the dating sites for years (she told me this in person on the date). Sounds to me like she knew exactly what she was doing. Am I being too sensitive about this? At least I found out about a cool new place for any future second or third dates with another girl.


She says she dates frequently and has been on all the dating sites for years (she told me this in person on the date). Sounds to me like she knew exactly what she was doing.

No, she doesn’t know what she’s doing. If she did, she wouldn’t reveal something like this, as it makes her look horrible.

The reason why she’s been on these dating sites for years and has so many dates is because she sabotages herself by admitting things like this. No doubt she went back to her friends to retell her tale of the rube who invited her for apps and drinks at a chain restaurant. That is why she went out with you, whether she realizes it or not.  She’s a lousy date who thinks she rocks first dates. I bet she just can’t figure out why oh why she can’t meet a “nice guy.”

And that’s why she’s single.

Now, as for you. The minute you suggested TGIFs, you were sunk. She saw you as the little deer in the field, all naive and wide eyed. Should she have ordered a glass of water or soda when she decided she wasn’t interested? No. She was in a wine bar. You don’t go to a wine bar and order soda or water. You should go into any date expecting to fork over X amount of dollars. (As should the woman, whether her gaggle of singleton girlfriends agree or not.) She was there so she could say she had a date, and she didn’t offer to pay because she needs to be able to say that she “never” pays for first dates. She was going to make the most of it. If you wanted her to pay her share, then you should have asked her to. Would you have come off cheap? Well, listen, you originally suggested Dave & Buster’s or whatever. You couldn’t have done much worse. But even if you did, who cares? The first clue that she was probably going to be difficult was that she took your suggestion and then, as you said, upped the ante. If someone says, “Hey, let’s get a pitcher of beers and wings!” what they’re telling you is how much they expect to/can afford to pay. This is called reading the signals and social cues, people. To suggest that you and your date go some place that will probably cost twice as much not only shows your utter lack of social graces, but makes it abundantly clear to your date that you don’t give a hoot what they want.

This bugs me because she upped the ante on my original suggestion to a more upscale place from Houlihans to that wine bar.

You had two choices. You could have done your research and found another place, or you could have stuck to your original plan and shared breadsticks at The Olive Garden. You’re pissed because you were duped. And I do agree that you were duped. This woman knew exactly what she was walking in to when you suggested Houlihan’s. She took that ball and ran with it. She knew she wasn’t going to see you again. But it was a night out and a possible blog post or “funny” story she can tell the next time she’s out with perpetually single 40+ friends.

You see, we reveal a lot about ourselves and our dating history and experience when we make these seemingly off the cuff and innocent suggestions and statements. The trick is to pick up on these clues so you can devise an appropriate and productive course of action.

What did I learn about you? Well, for starters, I learned you don’t get out much, since you had no sense of where to take her for the date and you apparently didn’t think to use Google or Yelp and find a better spot. Then I learned that you’re kinda cheap. Which, sorry, you are if you thought Red Lobster was an ideal date spot.  The fact that she suggested a more expensive place and the fact that she brayed about how long she’s been dating online and that she’s been on many dates shows she’s lacking in the self-awareness area, entitled and doesn’t actually want a relationship. She’s a lifer. She’ll be on those sites for years to come. Look for her text.

Going forward, you need to get a sense of your surroundings and get up to speed on good date spots. If you pick a spot (and the bar doesn’t have a Whack a Mole machine) and the woman renegs and suggests someplace else, know right then you’re in for some work and expect to spend more than you thought. Stick to your guns. If she bails, good riddance. Ladies, if it’s so important for you to be taken on a “proper” (read: “classy”) first date, then plan and pay for it. I don’t think you gals understand….these guys don’t have to go out with you. They likely have plenty of other options.

Even the average looking dudes.

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104 Responses to “Beware The Woman Who Upgrades The Date”

  1. Marshmallow Says:

    I am in the camp that dinner with someone you haven’t met yet is way too. much. Have you ever tried to sit through a meal with someone you have NO interest in or visa versa? I think the OP should suggest a drink or coffee when meeting an online “date” for the first time.

  2. nathan Says:

    It doesn’t make sense to argue that this guy is cheap, given how much you want to paint the woman as using him for some expensive wine. For men, who often end up paying for first dates regardless of their position on the issue, suggesting going out to any restaurant, even a chain, is not being cheap. And while you say that he could have asked for her to pay for her share of the wine, we all know that such a move is frequently blasted as cheap by women, regardless of their level of interest in a guy. So, we are basically back to the man better prove he’s not cheap on a first date argument. Whatever he does here, he’s cheap. So much for progress.

    Frankly, what I see are two people who angled for comfort in locale, something many of us do to make first dates go smoother. Sure, he could have looked up some random, nice sounding place to go, but then he’s dealing with yet another unknown.

    I’m less sympathetic towards her because she knew the cost difference, and opted for a second drink when she probably knew she wasn’t interested in seeing him again. It might even be that she’s a “lifer” out using men for expensive drinks and blog fodder. But I don’t think there’s any need to paint this woman in the extreme in order to question her decisions on the particular date.

    There really aren’t as many cold, calculated “gold diggers” out there as it seems. Most women simply aren’t willing to sit through an endless number of conversations with random guys in order to get free meals and drinks.

    • Howard Says:

      This is exactly why a man can’t have that desperate energy coming off of him. I have never, repeat never, had a venue changer that worked well on a first date. There really is no reason to try to change the venue on the guy, unless a woman is looking to financially support her idea. The privelidge the guy gets for paying, is his idea for the venue, given a relatively benign venue, where no harm comes.

      Now a word of advice for online dating. Do not take anyone to dinner on a first date. Online dating is not regular dating. You really have no idea who you are meeting. People have layers and personas. The one you get in person is always different to chatting on the phone or chatting at messenger. Look for a situation where you can connect on some level. Dinner is too cliche. Wine bars are too noisy, but if dancing is possible there, you could give it a shot.

      What works? Connecting and not being boring. Here are some ideas and these work for any types of dates, offline, online, third date or whatever. Off-beat romantic cafes work. Museums work. Activity dates where you both have that interest works well, ex, bowling, pool, dancing, biking, roller-blading, beach volleyball or paintball, even shopping. Scenic locations work too, especially if it’s one she has never been to before, nor in a long while, ex fort tryon park, cruise around manhattan, helicpoter ride, walk across brooklyn bridge or day outing to Governor’s island.

      Don’t overlook a walk somewhere beautiful like the park or along the river, or on the highline. Even a drive out in the country stopping at the quaint ice cream store or antique place works too. Try not to be so boring in the future. My winner was always a picnic with a wine bottle and snacks on the highest spot overlooking a city. I will certainly admit to having a penchant for day dates or very early evening dates, especially on first dates. They always assure the person you are meeting and sets a better stage for them to open up and connect with you.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        It’s not about you dictating the venue that works for you. It’s about selecting a place that you can afford and that, you think, the other person may actually want to go.

        I agree that the woman shouldn’t change the venue but if you’re going to suggest TGIFridays or a “walk in the park,” in 100 degree heat, you should expect that the woman might change her mind, or suggest something else. You can’t conrol her, you can only control yourself. If she suggests something else, and you don’t like the suggestion (for whatever reason), then say no or, god forbid, suggest something else. In some ways, I agree that “upgraded” dates generally don’t go well – I can only think of cases where a woman did not like my suggestion and none of those dates went well. On the other hand, I like when a woman picks the venue, so in those cases, I’m “paying” for the privilege of not having to decide. That has value to me too. Bottom line, though, if you accept her suggestion, you’re done. The complaint window is then closed for the day.

      • fuzzilla Says:

        Hell no, I’m not going for a “leisurely drive to the country” with some dude I never met before. I mean, really. Think of that from a woman’s point of view. I don’t think I’m overly panicky or paranoid that every guy I meet is a potential rapist, but it’s just common sense to have control of your environment.

        All your suggestions do sound like fun (though I think some would need to wait for date 3 or 4), but the tone of your advice seems weirdly determined on avoiding dinner or drinks as, like, the lamest things ever. You just need to meet and see if you like each other, no need to wrack your brain thinking of a million different things to do. The focus should simply be on getting to know each other, not on the activity. Plus, you want an easy “out” if it doesn’t go so hot.

        • Howard Says:

          Some of the ideas are definitely suited better for later dates. If you are an urbanite like me, a drive in the country sounds too much. if you are a suburbanite, it’s probably not that weird. The focus is still about avoiding cliche venues where people don’t connect. And as you said an easy out works well too for those online encounters that turn into first dates.

          • fuzzilla Says:

            I am an urbanite and I don’t have a car. I suppose if I was a suburbanite then being driven somewhere by a date wouldn’t seem so weird. I’d still want my own transportation so I felt free to bail at any time (like, we’d both drive separately to an agreed on public place, kind of thing).

            • myself Says:

              I am a suburbanite and when I did online dating, I always got myself to and from my first dates. A) I want to be able to control when I leave and when I am going to get either to my next destination or home B) If it’s the date from hell, last thing I want is to endure another 20 mins in a car with them C) safety. Only time I might consider getting in a car with a relative stranger is if I’ve been fixed up and dude has been vetted by someone I know and trust, but even then….I still want to get away if I don’t like them.

              But honestly? I know I’m probably so outside the norm as a woman, I’m just as happy meeting someone for the first time in a Tim Hortons (Canada’s equivalent of a Dunkin Donuts) knowing that it’s quick and easy and if no one is enjoying themselves it cost next to nothing for either party.. I’m there to meet someone and get a sense of their personality, not what they can afford to buy me. I’m just not built like that and cringe at women that are.

      • Eliza Says:

        OK. You are in one second stating that “first on-line dates” should be too long or you should NOT be vested in them time-wise…yet you suggest a drive to the country? A picnic by the way, isn’t an inexpensive proposition, especially with a bottle of wine, and it’s not a brief time either. Unfortunately, since people are so shallow–and don’t want to commit to much time on a first-time online date, the only option here is Starbuck’s…you get a $3-$5 cup of coffee, if that, look at the person up and donw, and then decide if you want to continue the conversation. if it goes well…you can take it from there, go for ice cream or a walk. There you go fellas…a cheap date! it seems that’s what is so important here…spending minimal. If there is one disease out there that there is no cure for–it’s “Cheapitis”. There is no bigger turnoff for ANY woman–than being in the presence of a “CHEAP” man.

        • Ralf Says:

          Why is that cheap? Aren’t we investing our time too (So do you). Firs the back and forth online for days. Then deciding a spot. Mostly I decide a place closer to the woman or something in the middle. And most of you don’t even dress decently on a first date (despite all the advice you give to men). You don’t take our time and effort seriously and come as though you dont’ care to impress. I agree we are strangers. But then why do you expect to be splurged on fancy dinner in a fancy restaurant from a stranger you met online who has no idea until he meets you what you really look like or if we really connect in the 3D world? You can’t have it both ways.

      • VAharleygirl Says:

        I have never, repeat never, had a venue changer that worked well on a first date. There really is no reason to try to change the venue on the guy, unless a woman is looking to financially support her idea.
        I disagree – depending on *why* the woman is changing the venue. Food allergies or sensitivities don’t always crop up right away. I am allergic to all seafood (if it lives in the water, I’m screwed) – I can eat it, but have to plan on the possibility that my allergy flares up & I have to rush to the restroom. Not a great way to spend the evening, or even after-dinner, if things have clicked. I really dislike Mexican & SW food.

        So if something like Chitpotle, or Uncle Julio’s were suggested, I would ask for a venue chane – BUT I would chose someplace that was in the same price range.

        And while it’s 50/50 if I have to pay my share – I don’t choose a place I can’t afford my share, and even when it is a place I can/can’t afford, I offer to the limit I can afford, with suitable meal & drink choices (no filet mignon & top-shelf alcohol).

        I’m one gal who doesn’t operate on the assumption that the guy will foot the bill for dinner nor activities. Lovely if they do, but I will always offer unless I made it clear up front that I can’t swing it (between paychecks or beyond my budget). If that makes me look cheap – so be it. I’d rather be thought of as cheap, and be able to afford food & meds for my son, and gas to get to my 2nd job.

        • LostSailor Says:

          VAharleygirl: It’s one thing to suggest a different venue because of food allergies or extreme dislike of certain types of food. It’s quite another thing to insist on a change because you “prefer” your favorite place or an obviously more expensive venue.

          I have no problem with women responding to my suggestion saying they don’t like Tex-Mex or can’t eat sushi (well, I do, but only because both cuisines are ones I like, but that’s another story). I’m prepared to make a different suggestion or even ask if she had a preference. I also don’t want to take a prospective date to a place they’re going to hate; it’s bad for business…

  3. Dimplz Says:

    I had dinner on my first date with my boyfriend, but I don’t recommended for everyone. I say that because my boyfriend knew that he wanted to take me to a nice place for our dinner, so he wasn’t even open to anything like TGI Friday’s or what we do Houlihans. To be honest, I think the reason that our first date turned out to be okay was because he was pretty open and he didn’t want it to end. I followed his lead because of that, and even if we hadn’t wound up together, it still would have been an enjoyable date because he was open to suggestion. However, he didn’t want to go to a cheap place because he said he could afford to buy me a nice dinner and he wanted to go somewhere nice. Now, I realize not everyone is in a financial position to afford “nice “dinner, but then that means that you do have to stick to your guns as Moxie suggested. Otherwise, you wind up sounding bitter and cheap when you recount the date to others. Dating is a series of missteps and misfires. No one really needs to be at fault. However, I think because you were already bothered by her upgrade, you probably shouldn’t have gone on the date. Were you just ignoring your annoyance because she was hot, and then once she blew you off, reacting negatively? I would suggest treating everyone the same. Whatever you’d tolerate from an unattractive girl you should tolerate from a hot girl. This way, you will have zero regrets.

    • Selena Says:

      Weren’t you already acquainted with your boyfriend before your first date, or am I thinking of someone else? To me, accepting a dinner date with someone one already ‘knows’ a little bit is different than signing on for a few hours (and $$$) with someone one has never laid eyes on.

      • dimplz Says:

        You’re right. I met him a couple of times, and he is my mother’s accountant, so I knew of him. The date was awkward at some moments, he was very quiet after he stuffed himself and I had to plaster a smile on my face and wait it out. We had some commonalities that allowed for conversation: we both graduated from the same college and we both know my mom (ha!).

        It’s harder to go to dinner cold with someone you’ve exchanged a few emails with. You don’t know their quirks like allergies, food preferences, if they are talkative etc. My boyfriend is friendly because of his job, but he was very nervous in our first few dates. I didn’t know this until later, but he got a piece of gum stuck on his pants because he was too shy to dispose of his gum and tried to discreetly hide it until later, and he noticed days later that his pants had gum on them. Dating is tough for people like him, who are inexperienced at it. I think when people complain about little things that the other person does that give them pause, they should remember that. If I had been trigger sensitive, I would have never given him a chance. He said some things on our first date that made me think, “Oh no! Disaster date!” but by the end, he really pulled it together. I don’t have a lot of experience, but what I do know is that when you’re most open, dating will be a very positive experience for you, and you might find someone to fall madly in love with. :)

        • Selena Says:

          I very much agree. Thank you for sharing your and bf’s experience. :)

        • Eliza Says:

          I agree–it’s just hard to be around someone that is “cheap”….it’s truly a disease. such a turnoff. It takes away that romantic element, when the check comes – and the man across from you–that did the inviting, makes it an awkward moment. Or suggests “splitting an entree”. You feel very self-conscious about ordering anything. Not fun at all.

          • nathan Says:

            Apparently, for women like Eliza, the only way to be “romantic” is to take them out to dinner and foot the bill without any qualms. Otherwise, you are “cheap.”

  4. fuzzilla Says:

    >Whatever you’d tolerate from an unattractive girl you should tolerate from a hot girl. This way, you will have zero regrets.<

    Amen to that. (Well, I date guys, so substitute genders, but yeah).

    There's not really much point in the OP being bitter and picking apart what this woman should or shouldn't have done. That's never a good use of time. Although there is value in sussing out how to better handle these situations in the future. It sounds like the wine bar idea bothered him from the get-go, so he should've shot it down. I'd suggest doing this by finding a cheaper place and talking up its merits ("it's in this really cute neighborhood, it's this great hidden gem with authentic Persian food that got written up in Time Out," etc.). Focus on the positive and what's in your control.

  5. Charlie Says:

    Breadsticks and whack-a-mole sounds a lot more fun than going to some prissy upscale restaurant or bar and doing nothing other than sitting, talking, and eating for a while.

  6. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I don’t see any evidence in this story at all that the woman was doing anything manipulative or wrong. She went on a drinks date with a guy and didn’t feel like she wanted to go out again. (She shouldn’t have contacted him after the date just to tell him that, in my opinion, but that’s another post for another day).

    First of all, Houlihans and TGIFriday’s, while notoriously cheesy and cliched, are not especially “cheap.” They are moderate, true, but they’re not McDonalds or some discount restaurant. They’re just unpleasant for many people. The reason she “upgraded” to wine bar was not to get a more expensive deal, but more likely, because she didn’t want to hang out at a place like Fridays. There is no evidence in this story that money was the issue for her. She didn’t try to get a free meal at Jean George. Sorry but most people in John’s age group do not consider a wine bar to be outrageously expensive or inappropriate. I doubt this woman even understood that it was an issue.

    Further to that, I don’t doubt that people of both genders are opportunistic and frequently take advantage of others. I will be the first to call it if I saw it. However, I don’t think women are regularly going out with guys on “wine bar” dates, knowing in advance that they will be spending hours with them, with no genuine interest other than getting a free glass of wine. Give me a break. She just wasn’t interested in the guy because, it turned out, after a few hours, that he wasn’t such a good date – not because she knew in advance that it was going nowhere. I’d go so far as to say she wouldn’t have even stayed for the second glass if she wasn’t at least on the fence. Nobody needs free wine that much. They went to a freaking bar and had a few drinks. And she wasn’t interested.

    So, that interpretation means the guy has to figure out what he did wrong on the date, or why she wasn’t interested. That’s the tougher question. May take some work. It’s easier to call her a dinner whore, isn’t it.

    “No doubt she went back to her friends to retell her tale of the rube who invited her for apps and drinks at a chain restaurant.”

    I doubt this. She probably didn’t tell anyone about her “meh” date. If she was so put off by the suggestion to go to Fridays (and she had every right to be put off) I don’t think she would have gone out with him. True, bloggers seem to knowingly go out on bad dates so they can write about it with false bravado. But, most people are not bloggers. Most people are going out on dates generally in the hopes of meeting someone they like. Who really has time for anything else? Especially an attractive woman with dating options?

    “She was there so she could say she had a date, and she didn’t offer to pay because she needs to be able to say that she “never” pays for first dates.”

    I doubt this too. Again, is there any evidence that this woman is some kiss-and-tell blogger. She was there because she was open to meeting the guy for a date, I believe, and see no evidence to the contrary. She didn’t not offer to pay so that she can “say she never pays” but because she , in fact, didn’t want to pay. It is not unusual for women not to pay. If she was worried about telling people that she doesn’t pay, she could do that regardless of whether she offers to pay. Since when are drama queens or bloggers requried to report the truth?

    We don’t know the full context of her statement about going on a lot of dates. I don’t view that statement as particularly offensive – it wouldn’t be to me if someone said it on a date. At worst, it’s a moderate faux pas.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      The blogger reference was more tongue in cheek. I don’t actually think she’s a blogger. I do think she’s a date whore, which she all but admits when she tells him she’s been on those sites for years and had a ton of dates.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        What the…?! Some imposter is posting under my name, albeit brilliantly. The real DMN would never misspell Jean Georges.

      • Allan Says:

        Date whore for two glasses of wine? Please, be kind to the girl. If two glasses of wine breaks your balance sheet, then you should stick to activities you are comfortable paying for, or state up front “dutch”. There are free activities one can engage in, like a walk in the park. More likely she was either enjoying your company, neutral about the situation, or not sure how to hint that she wanted to leave.

        If you feel there is no chemistry, drop a hint. Say that you have plans later that evening. You can excuse yourself as well you know. For me, first meetings are definitely NOT dates. Set aside half an hour, and be clear on that point. Expect nothing more than some shared stories and a drink.

        • Laura Says:

          Absolutely 100% agree. How is 2 glasses of wine (let’s say $8 each or $16 total) any more than some shitty $20 meal at Friday’s or Houlihan’s? And if you’re going to Friday’s or Houlihan’s for drinks, they’re $8 apiece there too. I fail to see how finances have anything to do with this situation.

          Frankly, I’d probably turn the guy down as soon as he suggested a chain restaurant for a date – so tacky.

          • Chester Says:

            I agree with your concept.

            … but a glass of wine in NYC costs a lot more than $8! It’s funny how women add up the price…one drink each $13 plus tax and tip….that’s $33. Two drinks is $66.

            • wishing u well Says:

              Okay, well – do you date at all then in NYC? To your point – a typical movie ticket costs about $11.50 these days (not even for the IMAX experience at that!), and once you add in the extras – a “value” package for each with the popcorn and the drink per person – you end up potentially spending around the same amount of money.

              Taking this into account, the wine date isn’t so “unaffordable.” Actually – the woman may have even thought of this herself and may have been trying to go to a “budget-friendly” cool place. And since we’re on the topic, I just looked up the dinner menu for a Houlihan’s in the northern NJ area where I am. The main entrees are right on par in pricing with the $13 per glass wine bar.

              So in actuality – the 2 dates were likely of similar pricing, just one sounds fancier then the other! And both establishment require tips….

            • Rosie Says:

              What is all this talk about women needing to give up an entire night to get – gasp- two free glasses of wine??? I would say he got the “bargain” the company of a woman much higher class than him for 2 glasses of wine! TGIF is fine for coffee during the day (i would prefer Peets whose coffee drinks are almost as expensive as wine), but not for nighttime for grown ups. Are these people in their 20s? Maybe that explains this collegiate immature mentality.

              She certainly wasn’t scamming and scheming. Like so many cheap losers, this guy is paranoid about “these women” trying to get his money. I would suggest therapy so he can work on the “us” vs. “them” mentality or he will truly be single forever.

              We “gals” do understand. We also have many other options out there. Why is the writer saying only men do??? And we should be thankful for anything we get?? That’s just crazy.

          • Kurt Says:

            I personally think that a woman who complains or turns a man down because he picked a restaurant chain is a complete bitch. It isn’t as though he picked a fast food-type of place.

            If a woman otherwise is attracted to a man and seems compatible, rejecting him or complaining about a chain restaurant seems very superficial to me.

            I woman might be able to get away with this when she is 25, but when she is mid-30s or older, she would be a fool to be so picky if she really likes the guy.

            • Allan Says:

              I’d be suspicious of a woman complaining about a chain restaurant, but some people seriously dislike the atmosphere at those places. You need to take opinions like that in context. If she’s griping about upperclass and lowerclass activities etc, then you probably already know to skip meeting her.

              By the way, there is a Houlihan’s in Weehawken that has some pleasant outdoor tables. Sure it’s a yuppie meet market in there, but it’s still a decent place to have drink.

            • Jackie Says:

              You need to stop with the “males are superior” complex. It’s very unattractive. It’s so unmanly.

              I’d never date a guy who thinks an older woman is less of a human being. Do you hate women that much?? Do you think of a female human being so little???

              Unless you’re from another planet, you’re gonna become an old man too. Your testicles are gonna sag to your knees. You will have impotence problems that you might need impotence medicines for. Your man boobs will sag too. Your cheeks will sag also. You’ll get droopy eye lids. You might get prostate problems like many men are getting, not being able to get to the bathroom to pee on time.

              I’m not old, but there’s many older males in my family, and I have news for you: Men age, men get old age illnesses, men get uglier as they age, and men live shorter years than women.

              If anything, women should be smart and date younger men who are more modern, less bitter, and will have a more equal life span to women.

              • LostSailor Says:

                Whoa, Jackie. Talk about bitterness.

                Of course men age. But if they take even minimal care of themselves, they’ll age better than a lot of women. By all means go for younger men, if you can pull them.

                Actually, I’m not even sure what comment this is in reply to. Perhaps it’s just bitter venting buried in a 3 1/2 month old post…

                • Helena Says:

                  On blogs like these, the undesirability of older women is rammed down our throats. Jackie is just redressing the imbalance, don’t take it so personally LS, I’m sure you’re desirable enough to some women.

                  • LostSailor Says:

                    Oh, Helena, you drastically undersell me. I’m desirable to most women.

                    I’m just questioning the bitterness displayed on an old comment thread where no one mentioned the undesirability of older women.

                    Bitterness in people of any age in inherently undesirable and unattractive.

                    Balance to the Force bitterness brings not…

            • enchantees Says:

              Mid-30`s and older women should be grateful for scraps? And there was no indication from the OP letter that she was really “into” him from the get-go. They agreed to go on a first date. He seems inexperienced, and from now on should suggest a coffee house and politely offer to pay for her coffee. Suggesting a TGIF shows he has no clue or no taste. A hole in the wall Chinese place or dive bar is way better.

    • Eliza Says:

      I fully agree with you here. TGI Friday’s–for any date is rather tacky and not well thought out at all. A place or date doesn’t have to be very expensive, but it should reflect a little bit on who you are, what you enjoy and actually it’s thoughtful when the person doing the inviting actually asks a woman, what type of food do you enjoy…some people have food allergies, or actually don’t even drink alcohol. Some women are vegans. And yes, there are some very low-maintenance women out there too. In any case, I just feel it’s so easy to go on-line and find info. about where to go–that’s it’s inexcusable to be at a loss here. Fellas, unfortunately- dating does requires some spending….so if you are going to be that tight-walleted here, and don’t want to spend at all? Don’t date. Even a simple picnic is going to cost something…or a movie, or mini golf. Fellas…think about it–dating costs a lot in many ways for women. Think about it…some women do put a lot of though and time into making ourselves pretty–we don’t just wake up in the morning, and look that way, with our hair, nail, skin, makeup, and pedicure all done! That does cost us a pretty penny too. Ever go into a salon and inquiry? Perhaps if you did–you would have a newfound respect for what women do to prepare for a date.

      • Allan Says:

        I say both yes and no here. Meeting someone you never met in person before is not a date. It’s a meet and greet, and a chance to see if there is some common ground. Only then should anyone commit to more than half an hour to size each other up. I might splurge (treating the lady in the process), but that is only so I enjoy myself. I have little interest in impressing a stranger with treats.

        Now, if at that point she agrees to go on a real date, then I’ll starch my shirt and buy tickets to a show.

      • VAharleygirl Says:

        Think about it…some women do put a lot of though and time into making ourselves pretty–we don’t just wake up in the morning, and look that way, with our hair, nail, skin, makeup, and pedicure all done! That does cost us a pretty penny too. Ever go into a salon and inquiry? Perhaps if you did–you would have a newfound respect for what women do to prepare for a date.

        And some of us do the above ourselves. I keep my hair neat, wear makeup, and smell decent for work – the only thing I do “special” for a date is make sure my legs are shaved if a dress or shorts are more appropriate for the evening or activity.

        Even if I had the $ to go to the nail-parlor more often, I wouldn’t – it doesn’t last with my lifestyle.

        I want to look nicely put together most of the time, particularly where I might meet folks for the first time that I might run into again – why would I do so much more just for a date?

      • Kurt Says:

        So in your mind, as a woman all you have to do is show up? Don’t think for one second that men don’t also spend money on their appearance.

        You claim that the man really needs to put some thought into his selection of a venue, but what you really want to see is that he not pick a chain restaurant.

    • Chester Says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head here…. Even an expensive wine bar is less than a cheap meal at Houlihans. He was self-sabotaging the date by suggesting a very unromantic place… Some women here already said they would just reject the offer. She changed it to a more romantic venue trying to undo his sabotage and make the date work.
      I try to keep new encounters to one drink…it usually lasts about an hour to maybe 90 minutes. You then part and set up a second date. If it is going that well, She’ll want to see you again. Either way, I see no reason to order a second drink.
      The girl was on the fense or perhaps interested in him to stay for a second drink. The OP probably talked his way out of a second date during the second drink – He probably said something that turned the girl off. Or talked too much about himself.

      • Joey Giraud Says:

        He was self-sabotaging the date by suggesting a very unromantic place…

        Unromantic.. loud, garish, noisy, uncomfortable, loud, and also loud.

        Hell, I hate going to business meetings in those places. Having a real conversation there?

        Only good for getting drunk with buddies and yelling about sports.

  7. John Says:

    Hello everyone -this is the OP.
    Thanks for all your input. Moxie, in hindsight I do agree that I should have researched the area a bit more for places other than the chain restaurants. In my old stomping grounds, I would never do the Fridays thing simply because I didnt want to run into anyone I knew during the date- not because of the cheapness perception.

    Now that it has been pointed out that those places are perceived as cheap and a bad idea, I will get up to speed on the other places in my new town. I am glad I wrote to you after the first time this happened instead of making the same mistake and always wondering why I got off on the wrong foot. And like I said in my original note, I did learn of a really great 2nd date place.

  8. Paul Murray Says:

    He should have flaked. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  9. Selena Says:

    Trying to “upgrade” an invitation is rude. If someone prefers more ambiance than a chain, they can always suggest a local spot with similar pricing. Most cities of any size have such places and it’s nice to introduce people who are new in town to them.

    John, consider asking people you’ve met since you’ve moved where they like to go. They may know of some venues with great happy hours, free live music, etc.

  10. Steve Says:

    I don’t think she did anything wrong except saying that she dates a lot and has been on dating sites for years. I think that emailing you back was actually polite, though best done if you had asked her out again first. I think the norm these days is just to ignore. I don’t think a couple glasses of wine can be considered overly expensive. At least you didn’t spend money on an expensive dinner. You may not have done anything “wrong” either but didn’t do enough to stand out. She has probably gone on dozens of these and you are just another one of many. I think even going to “drink” dates are too cliched and now that it is summertime, prefer to go to the park. You don’t spend a dime if it doesn’t work out and it is more relaxed and enjoyable in my opinion. Also, an idea if you are sure things won’t work out and think you have been taken advantage of, just send an email after a few days saying thanks, I had a really good time, but you ended dating someone else instead. That way you are the one doing the rejecting. Give these girls a dose of their own medication.

  11. Allan Says:

    Two glasses of wine? Personally I think that is no big deal. Also, generally one should keep things brief. If there is no feeling of magic, you are pretty much done after t he first few minutes. A half hour should be agreed on up front. Then you can decide to go into overtime if you are really hitting things off. After all, there is always next week for a follow up meeting.

    Back to the original commentary: It sounds as though she made an honest effort to see if there is chemistry. I could recite stories where I walked away pissed off, but this would not be similar to anything that would annoy me.

    Sexist statement spoiler: As the man I believe you are best off assuming you will pay for the evening. That means that you should be comfortable with the results of the night given reasonable expectations. This might mean that you make the date simple, or it might mean that you go all out to see a show. As long as you enjoy yourself it’s a win as far as I am concerned.

    Bottom line is that you want to meet women who are seriously giving it a shot. As adults were have (unfortunately) learned rather devious ways to use other people toward selfish ends. There is no planning for chemistry. The most a person can do is approach the evening with an open mind and treat the other person with respect. Don’t expect more, even subconsciously.

    As to the selection of wine bar. That’s probably fair. After all, everyone wants to feel special for a half hour, I’d only be miffed if she were tossing out digs about other types of less “upscale” places being beneath her.

    • dimplz Says:

      I agree with this. Maybe she didn’t want to go to a place where people were singing “Happy Birthday” at the top of their lungs every 10 minutes. I went on a date to a Cuban place once, and during dinner, the “Happy Birthday” thing happened 3 times, with bongos. Each time, we had to stop talking until after they were done. It was ridiculously loud and intrusive. C’est la vie.

  12. joe-f Says:

    Look at the bright side John, you dodged a bullet there. Dating her one time is bad, dating her for the long-run is going to be hell.

    Everyone has a standard of what they want to spend on a date. You can find happiness at any price point. You have to learned to say”, no” when your gut tells you that the wine bar isn’t for you. I know it is hard to say “no” to a beautiful and fun woman but you got to do it because you can’t keep her.

    A few years back, I asked a wonderful woman (no sarcasm, she really is great) out for a first date. I suggested a low-key place and she responded with a high end restaurant. I could afford the high end restaurant but I don’t frequent those establishments. I wanted someone who would be happy with the 98% of the time when I go out to the low-key but good places. Today, she is married to a man who can take her to those places or cook for her when they don’t go out. I am married to a woman who is perfectly happy with the $6 bar that serves great burgers. We both found someone who fits us.

    • anon Says:

      That’s a really great post, Joe. Really non-judgemental, and shows that “live and let live” is a more effective route to happiness than trying to change someone.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Rosie Says:

      I agree. A man asked me out on a friday night first date to a really bad chinese restaurant — cheap, ugly, not even sure they had full bar. I said no to him and the date. Anyone who would suggest that is not my type.

      Good thing about getting older is you learn, if it’s not meant to be, it’s ok.

  13. MU Says:

    Calling the guy cheap is ridiculous. As soon as a woman that I’m going on a first date with suggests some overpriced pretentious wine bar, that’s when she stops hearing from me. That is an immediate dealbreaked. Not just because I hate pretentious overpriced wine bars, but her expectations for a first date are clearly completely out of whack. I would go so far as to say you can weed out the free meal/drink searchers by simply setting a limit to what restaurants you are willing to meet up at.

    Luckily, almost all the women I’ve gone on dates with have been perfectly happy to meet up at a cafe, or hit up a local pizza joint with amazing food. I usually pay the bill BUT if the woman offers to pay half I let them. In fact, my current girlfriend paid her share on our first date and it didn’t turn her off at all.

    So guys, on a first date never take a girl out to a hip overpriced restaurant where the food probably comes nowhere close to living up to its price (but dammnnn that atmosphere is just amazing :) ). Keep it simple, keep it cheap and make it easy to bail if things aren’t going well. If she likes you she will like you regardless of the venue you choose to meet up at. You don’t want a girl who will only be interested in you if you feed her expensive cups of wine. If it doesn’t work (which is most likely the case) you won’t be 100+ dollars poorer.

    • Laura Says:

      I guess I’m just confused where “wine bar” equals “overpriced and pretentious.” To me, a wine bar IS a cheap date – you spend $8-12 each for two drinks (vs dinner), and it’s quiet enough that you can actually talk. I’m a girl who LOVES good beer and would never date a guy who didn’t like dive bars, but I’m much more likely to suggest a wine bar for a date simply because they tend to be quieter and it’s a much more appropriate place to take someone you don’t know very well.

      A cafe would also be great for a first date, but that’s VERY different than something like Friday’s/Chili’s/Applebee’s/etc. It’s not about the price point (which is exactly the same for both); it’s about the fact that those places are tacky chains. I also don’t think it’s a bad idea to try a new place for a first date. I realize you’re new to town, but how hard is it to spend 5 minutes on Yelp looking at reviews? I’ve frequently suggested places I’ve never been, adding “I’ve always wanted to try” or “this place sounds fun and got great reviews”. Even if it’s a bust, you went in with good intentions – and in some cases, you may even get a laugh out of how bad it was.

      • dimplz Says:

        I was just going to ask how much is a wine bar in the heart of Manhattan. Ok, google to the rescue. This one is in Hell’s Kitchen , and it has a 23/30 Zagat rating. Check the prices of the glasses, since she didn’t order a bottle. Is it really that much? I live in NJ and food at a diner is the equivalent of most of the glasses listed.

        • Laura Says:

          Funny you pick Ardesia – I’ve actually been on a first date (from an online dating site) there and thought it was a perfect spot. I’m confused why you think that’s expensive? Glasses range from $8 to $17 (unless I missed some pricier ones on my quick once over), with most in the $9-$12 a glass range.

          • dimplz Says:

            I don’t think it’s expensive at all. In fact, if I were really into wine, I would go there. I like a good wine tasting myself. I went once in Napa, and we had a great time. Gorgeous! I went to a wine and burger bar in NJ called Zinburger. Normally, I don’t drink, but I had their Skinny Margarita and it was $10-12, I can’t fully remember. I can assure you where I had it was not at the heart of any metropolis. But that drink was worth every damn penny.

          • Eliza Says:

            Laura-I guess when a man is cheap–even $8 -$10 for a glass of wine is too much for him! Not sure how little he was expecting to squeeze out of his wallet that evening? Why go out at all? if someone is going to nickel and dime everything, don’t bother dating period. I would pick a wine bar over a loud place like TGIF’s, since it’s a nicer atmosphere–and easier to have a conversation – and not have to yell. I actually once went out with a man for – ONE cup of iced coffee. When the check came…he actually asked me if I had some cash! He never saw me again. ONE CUP OF COFFEE! How cheap is that? Cheapitis is such a horrible disease.

            • Joey Giraud Says:

              Some men are sensitive about price in the context of a date due to the obvious conflict between patriarchal expectations that men should pay, and the modern, western feminist principles of complete social, legal and fiscal equality.

              Not me though. I’ve fully accepted the double-standard.

              And *that’s* why I’m still single, again.

            • Ralf Says:

              @Eliza, you seem more focused on getting free stuff from a stranger. That’s cheap. If you go on a glass of wine, it doesn’t end there. If it’s happy hour then comes the pressure to get appetizers and one more glass of wine. Additionally, the bar tender or the server come and ask you more times than usual when you are with a girl “Do you need something to eat?”. And it seems awkward when the girl seem to expect something to eat. So I order. So you spend $50 on a date with a stranger you met from online and there is no connection and you don’t get a second date and not even a message with a thank you or courtesy. How about if I meet at least 2 women a week? $400-$500 is worth spending on some cheap women who use thee dates to try out some fancy places or get free food? I’m not kidding. I have heard many women talk about this (using dates to for free dinner and drinks) proudly. It’s not whether I can afford it or not, I don’t like feeling duped and used. I could have done something else or spent on someone who is worthy.

          • Ralf Says:

            Does it just end with one glass of wine? If you go on a happy hour at 6 PM, it almost dinner time by the time you finish one glass. The women kind of indirectly expect us to order appetizers and then go for a second drink. There you go.

        • LostSailor Says:

          dimplz, yeah, actually those prices are pretty much standard for a wine bar. I used to know the owner of the Cavatappo wine bars (2) and restaurant, and his prices are similar. Keep in mind that these aren’t glasses of Yellow Tail or Blue Nun. These wines are usually carefully picked for their quality and price. These are actually pretty moderate. Wines in any fine-dining restaurant in NY will be much pricier (outside of the usual one or two moderate, lower end offerings).

          I’m going to have to try Ardesia, though. They claim to have a dry Riesling and I’m on a quest for a really dry Riesling. Though I will say that the Argentinian Malbec seemed a little overpriced. I’ll let you know after I sample it. Oh, and a tip for drinking at the wine bar: ask to sample the wine before you buy the glass. They should have no problem giving you a small tasting portion.

      • MU Says:

        I’m not sure where you live Laura but where I am (Boston) wine bars generally sell wine for 10+ dollars a glass. At least that is what I have experienced first hand. I can’t say I drink wine- I actually rarely touch alcohol in general so perhaps my experiences are isolated.

        But trust me, I have been duped into 100+ dollar checks in the past so now I avoid hip, trendy, etc restaurants/bars like the plague and Boston is absolutely infested with them. Wine bar is a big red flag in that direction. And no, I never suggest chain restaurants for a date – I always pick affordable hole-in-the-wall local places that have amazing food, or a cafe in a nice area and skip dinner altogether. I’ve also gone on bike rides and hikes on a first date.

        The real problem is that in online dating, dates are a dime a dozen. If the guy is expected to foot the bill for the date that can be pretty damn expensive when say you even go on one or two dates a week.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Oh. So when the woman suggests a wine bar its perfectly ok to label her in a negative way. But if a man picks a tourist trap like Houlihan’s and we label him cheap, we’re wrong?

      Sorry, but anybody who suggests a chain restaurant for a first date dooms themselves. The fact that she went out with himat all once he suggested that tells you what her intentions were. Most women would have bailed right then. And, no, she wasn’t giving the guy a chance. If she were thaq compassionate,x shed have had one drink and left. She was never all that into him in the first place.

  14. LostSailor Says:

    Have to agree with most of the commentary: a wine bar is not an unusual first-date venue. I keep a list of a couple in various neighborhoods as potential first-date meeting places. The more interesting thing here is that she bounced him to her preferred location, rather than the one he suggested, which I’ll talk about below. As John himself noted above, as a guy, you have to do a little research. I don’t know if you’re in NYC, but in such a big town, you have no idea in advance where your prospective date lives. Even in Manhattan, the logistics of find a place to meet when one of you lives in Washington Heights and the other lives in the Financial District can be daunting. It may be geeky, but last year I started keeping notes on good first- or second-date places in various parts of town. Some I’ve been to before, on dates or not, and others have been recommended by friends (which is also a good opening: “I’ve never been there, but hear it’s great, let’s explore it together.”) But when making those first email connections, once you’ve agreed to meet up for a drink or coffee or whatever, and you’ve found out what part of town she’s in, you should have 2 or 3 places available to suggest. They may be in your neighborhood, hers, or somewhere in between, but you should have a suggestion and a backup plan, especially if she suggests somewhere more expensive than you’re willing to ante up for.

    Hey, if anyone told you that online dating (or offline dating) in the Dating 2.0 world was going to be easy, they lied. But it doesn’t have to be a ton of work, either. A little research and planning go a long way.

    Now, about that bounce…

    I’ve had this happen a number of times, which is why I want to have a couple of places in mind if she rejects my first suggestion. Chain restaurants are completely off the menu. No matter where you are, there are better, locally-owned choices.

    It’s one thing when a woman suggests fancier, pricier places when you’re setting up the meeting and you should be able to manage that. I’ve also experienced a date wanting to change venues after we’ve already arrived at the agreed upon location. It hasn’t happened often, but it’s happened. Mostly the objections have been along the lines of “Oh, I’ve been here before and it was terrible. Let’s go to X, it’s just down the street.” After thinking about it, I don’t think that there was a conscious effort to just get a pricier deal out of me–maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t–and in most instances, we went on to 2 or 3 dates before fizzling out.

    The first time it happened, I was very new to dating, so just kind of went along with it. The date was fine, but quite a bit more than I had expected to spend. I can afford it, but I prefer to limit the cost of the first meeting; I’m fine with spending more if we hit it off.

    I had a bit more experience under my belt the next time it happened, and while I again went along with it (since I didn’t have an immediate alternate suggestion–Do More Research, LostSailor!), it was a pretty fancy place. She ordered some expensive wine and about an hour in suggested food. I was gently insistent on just sharing a couple of apps since dinner for two could have gone into the hundreds. When the check came, like John’s experience, she said “Thanks!”

    I had to do a quick calculation: the date had gone quite well and while I knew that I could get a second date, I gauged that there was a 50/50 chance of us going further than that. So when she said “Thanks!” I smiled and said, “You’re welcome. Your half comes to $X.” Now, I could have just blown my chance and come off cheap, but I said it with good humor, and to her credit, she didn’t bat an eye, and handed over her credit card. We had a couple more dates (if I recall, brunch and a tour of the Met) and parted on friendly terms.

    If a woman is a serial dater, more out for free drinks and meals, that will become clear soon enough, which is why it pays to have suggestions and backup plans to keep control of the initial dates.

    And, John, dates like this happen more often than you’d think, sometimes you just gotta roll with it, bro…

  15. LT Says:

    I think that since the woman probably knew before she was finished with the 2nd drink that she wasn’t interested in the OP then she should have offered to pay. I also think she may have talked about doing a lot of dating because she wanted to let the OP know that she wasn’t interested (or she is just a bad dater!!).

  16. colin Says:

    This scenario supports my theory that men in general are screwed when it comes to the first date and that women have nothing to lose. As a suburbanite, I dont personally see anything wrong with Fridays or Houlihans. Yes, it may be cheaper and not as chic as a wine bar, but it suits the purpose for a first date. And she tried to take advantage of him being new to the area.

    Upgrading the date happens more frequently than most people acknowledge. I have been on several dates when I specifically said that we were meeting for drinks only and my date decided to order an appetizer or even an entree anyways. What is the man supposed to do in this situation? Tell her that she cant order it? Then there definitely wont be a second date!

    • dimplz Says:

      If she’s going to get hungry while you’re out and you don’t want to pay for her, tell her to pay for her own dish. Why would you want a 2nd date with someone if they are doing things you don’t like on the 1st date. If you’re going to ask someone for another date after they’ve already done something you’re obviously not cool with, then the problem is you, not her. You’re basically telling us that you’d like to ask her out again, regardless of the fact that she’s upping the bill for you and you don’t want to spend money. Does that make sense to you?

    • Selena Says:


      Do you really tell your first dates you are meeting for drinks ONLY? If you are that specific, it surprises me so many would order a meal. Do you order food when they do? Do these women offer to pay for their meal? Do you decline their offer in hopes of second date? But resent doing so?

      If you don’t want to pay for someone’s dinner when you’ve only planned to pay for a drink or two, you have several options:

      1) Choose a venue without a restaurant.
      2) Make a polite exit after the drinks – you hadn’t planned on staying longer than that after all.
      3)Do a pre-emptive strike and order an appetizer along with the second drink. Your date may be hungry and this is a nice gesture. It may also discourage her from ordering a dinner.

      • Allan Says:

        There are two points here worth noting: first of all blindly meeting someone should not come with any strings or commitment beyond half an hour of conversation. Do not, I repeat do not rely on the company you meet up with to be the sole entertainment for the evening; it’s simply too much to expect in cases where there is no chemistry (or worse anti-chemistry). One can and should expect civil treatment, nothing more. The entertainment would be the coffee, drinks or activity planned. Whether this involves a cash outlay is immaterial, but if twenty dollars keeps two people entertained for half an hour and we walk away with a realistic understanding of what we each seek, then it’s money well spent. Anything more is gravy.

        I have treated women to dinner and a show knowing that there is no chemistry, simply because I wanted to see a show with some arm candy. A kiss on the cheek and I wished the woman well (and I paid the cab fare home). Other times I suggested that the rendezvous be at Cafe Sabarsky within Neue Galerie, or maybe just Zaros Bread Basket for coffee. Point is you go into the experience knowing that the only reasonable expectation is the coffee will be good, drinks will be strong, or the show will hold your attention. If the gods are smiling there will be some chemistry, but if there is no chemistry, it is nobodies fault (unless someone is not being honest). But that would be another essay.

        Pint is that if we could agree to be honest and civil with one another dating might actually be fun.

    • Trouble Says:

      Frankly, I would welcome the addition of Houlihans to our current selection of chain restaurants in my personal backwater. I’m in the same camp with Coin…I’m perfectly fine with Chilis or TGI Fridays for a beer or something relatively simple. My favorite is actually Starbucks, for the reason that you aren’t committing to much longer than an hour if there are no fireworks and neither party is out more than $10 bucks if things fizzle.

      As far as women who attempt to upgrade a date, it smacks of someone who is utterly clueless, not only about dating do’s and don’ts, but also about basic manners.

      For every woman who considers Houlihan’s beneath her, there are probably plenty of other 40-something women who would be perfectly content to eat at Houlihan’s on a first date (preferably for lunch…dinner seems like an unnecessary expense for a first date, to me). I don’t think it means he’s cheap…in big cities, there are lots of options for hole in the wall restaurants with good food at a reasonable price. In smaller or suburban areas, those spots are more difficult to find and less available.

      My advice to John: Find a starbucks or coffee house/bakery near you, and make that your go-to for first dates. If you like the woman, then upgrade her to lunch. Maybe after 3-4 dates, consider dinner, but only after she’s offered to either split or pick up the tab, and followed through on that offer.

      Just my 2 cents as someone who re-entered the dating game a few years ago in my early 40s and was similarly baffled. And, if a woman tries to shift the plans, take it as the red flag that it is (in my book).

      • wishing u well Says:

        The area of the country that you live in is completely relevant to this discussion, I’d wager. The Houlihan’s by me in NJ is a known professional meetup / happy hour spot for the local businesses in the area and I’d avoid it at all costs – as no one wants to enjoy a date with their co-workers being able to observe. Ditto for the Friday’s. There are other great local spots that are affordable and do not appear to be “cheap” that would more than suffice. Were that me, I’d have suggested an alternate location as well, with no ulterior motive besides wanting a bit of privacy. Not all “upgrades” have sinister motives behind them.

        • Dimplz Says:

          Weehawken? I still love that spot. I had a lot of good laughs and good times there.

          • wishing u well Says:

            The Weehawken one is a good one! That’s actually not a bad date spot, and there’s stuff to do in the area also! No, I’m referring to the Paramus one.

            • Dimplz Says:

              You’re going to laugh. I’ve never been to that one and I’m there all the time. I worked in Ramsey for 3 years and had to pass through Paramus to go home and I still haven’t been there. I’m going to have to check it out one night.

              • wishing u well Says:

                That is funny! I just took a second look because the one I’m talking about is on Route 17 southbound, and it turns out that that one is in Hasbrouck Heights. I always get the town changeup confused, but the Paramus Houlihan’s is kind of hidden, on Route 4 westbound right before the main 17 / 4 intersection. That one might actually be a decent date spot because you don’t expect it to be there….everyone is clamoring over the Garden State Plaza for the food spots there.

    • Angeline Says:

      I don’t have a problem with either of those places, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do a first meeting at Starbucks (even though I am a caffeine addict) for the reason that it is too *quiet*. I edited a book for a friend, and did most of it at my local Starbucks, and it was an amusing distraction when I was stuck to listen in on the first dates. My personal record was four dates in a 3 hour period at the same table (different couples). The awkward, nervous jitters were on full display, and I’d never be able to sit through that, knowing the people around us could hear everything that is going on.

      There’s a balance between too noisy to think, and tomb-like silence where you can hear the other person swallowing. There was also an uncomfortable similarity to the other two stranger meetups you see in Starbucks – the sales pitch and the job interview. I am firmly in the camp that does not believe in instant chemistry, but I’m also not going to scuttle from the outset the chance of gradually growing attraction and delight in the other person.

      Outside of NYC, we aren’t tripping over cool little places that serve drinks and have that balance. The birthday crap drives me bonkers, but it would also be something to laugh about. On two separate occasions I invited a first date to my favorite bar, a total dive, but fun and relaxed, with great food and darts, which gave us something to do as well as talk about. The only reason I’d turn down Fridays or Houlihan’s here is the likelihood, as mentioned above, that I’d see coworkers (but I would have stated that).

  17. arbee Says:

    Once again, the column writer interprets things to the extreme and in a patronizing way to people who are just asking for help. The woman is clueless and will be single for the rest of her life. The guy is also clueless, as well as cheap. I don’t think it’s cool to put down people and make conclusive negative assumptions about them based on very little information and in the apparent interest to sound smart and sassy. Anyone can speculate about these issues; it doesn’t mean you’re right about people.

    It’s good to have a dialogue about these things and it’s good to give some guidance, but there is a consistent theme here: the people who write in are always responded to by the blogger as clueless idiots who think they are cooler than they are. I don’t get the value of putting people down rather than to be more understanding. You’ll probably respond with anger or saying that is coddling. But it’s really not that hard to be helpful without being insulting and overgeneralizing.

    • LostSailor Says:

      Hard truths can be, well…hard. If you’re looking for soothing, pretty lies, there are plenty of places to get them. It’s sad that some people will interpret plain speaking from a well of experience as “insulting.”

      Of course, this is belied by the OP who posted up-thread that he appreciated the advice. Most of us do, when we finally decide to get over ourselves and take a long hard look at how to succeed at this dating thing. After 9 months or more of reading here, I’d say that Moxie is usually right about people about 90% of the time.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      The woman is clueless and will be single for the rest of her life.

      The woman was deemed clueless because, despite all of her years on these sites and all of the dates that she’s had, she still doesn’t know that you don’t *tell* your dates just how frequently you date. Reason being that the date’s immediate thought will be, “Gee, if she’s had so many dates and been on these sites for years, why is she stills single? Hmm, wonder what is wrong with her”

      The typical thought process of your average seeking a relationship online dater type – why is this person in their late thirties/early forties and still single? To add fuel to that fire and bray about how frequently you date and how long you’ve been online dating demonstrates a lack of self-awareness and social aptitude. That’s why she’s single. At probably close to 40 if not older, she doesn’t need “understanding.” She’s not some newbie.

    • Dimplz Says:

      So you decided to comment in a patronizing way and call everyone here idiots. And we are supposed to listen to you why?

    • Allan Says:

      Whatever is on the lady’s mind is immaterial and you have no control over it beyond a quick aborting of the date. Always keep enough money rolled up in your pocket for the following contingency: a controlled scuttling of a ship that is sinking anyway. Once a date starts bragging about how cold she can be or how others don’t appreciate a tough as nails woman, ask yourself if you want to deal with this. (Bragging about being sarcastic is always anti-sexy). If the experience is so bad that you feel you are being used to prop up someone’s creaky self esteem, simply take that bailout money from your pocket (uncounted), and place it on the bar. State clearly that this is obviously a waste of your time and note that the cash on the counter will more than cover the bill. Turn on your heel and walk.

      Beyond this I say one should never pass judgement. She is who she is, and if that’s not your thing, then wish her well.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      I don’t think it’s cool to put down people and make conclusive negative assumptions about them based on very little information and in the apparent interest to sound smart and sassy.

      Don’t read many dating websites, then? Does the concept of gossip elude you?

      Pretty ballsy; coming here and insulting people who are just having some good, clean fun.

  18. chillybeans Says:

    another variation of the date upgrade I hear from my guy friends is that they suggest drinks/apps, and the woman says No I want dinner…..Red flag right there.

    On an (somewhat) unrelated note, I’m not a fan of the TGIF type chains, not so much for cost/atmosphere issue as for the food is heavily salted and the next day I blow up like a pufferfish! But maybe thats just me:)

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      hey suggest drinks/apps, and the woman says No I want dinner

      Then you show your flexibility and resourcefulness and invite her to your place for some macaroni and cheese.

  19. Robyn Says:

    Most people are – plain simple – hungry at the end of the working day. Plus it’s NOT a good idea to drink alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach.

    So if you invite some one (a friend or a date) out for a drink/drinks after work, you really should plan on that outing at least including appetizers.

    If it’s too much hassle or expense to spring for appetizers to go along with the first date drink(s), then rather stick to coffee & a muffin/doughnut @ a local coffee shop for a first date.

    • Allan Says:

      That’s a good point, and dinner can be fine if both people are in the same mindset. For all my dissecting of dates and relationships I have never come up with a way to convey that we could have dinner, but lets keep the conversation casual and don’t expect me to pay for your meal.

      I’ve done it and had a good time (even with women who I had no chemistry with), but they were usually not American. Foreign born women are more likely to understand the concept of pleasant conversation and a night out — and nothing necessarily implied.

      Agreed, easier to just agree to have drinks, especially for an initial meeting.

      Here’s an idea for a column: is the concept of a civil date (just enjoying a night out) dead? The younger women I meet talk of hanging out or shacking up, but there is no concept of a date where men and women are civil to each other with only the intention of seeing a show. Keeping company with the hope that there is a special chemistry but no necessity that there it be so.

      • Allan Says:

        PS: I never agree to dinner unless I am ready to treat without having hard feelings if we do not get along. In practice that means that I’ll be generous if I am flush with cash, and less so if I am paying off a recent large purchase.

  20. M Says:

    What is wrong with Houlihans or TGI Friday’s? Or Olive Garden, Dave and Busters or Red Lobster for that matter? Are you one of those people who hates all chains because they are chains, or do you have a legitimate gripe about such places? Financially, these places dont cost any less than independent restaurants; the most expensive first date I ever went on was at a Dave and Busters (remember: meal and pool and game play). He was new to town and he picked a brand he was familiar with. Thats a better idea than picking a place you know nothing about, which was probably his other option. Other than that, you dont really explain what this guy did wrong. Maybe this could be an idea for a separate blog post.

    • LostSailor Says:

      In larger urban areas, there are a lot of other options, and the choice of a chain restaurant could be seen, rightly or wrongly, as either cheap or unimaginative. In more suburban or even rural areas, they may be the only option. I personally wouldn’t choose a chain mainly because those where I’ve eaten, admittedly a small number of times, the food was crap. Indifferent ingredients, loaded with unnecessary sauces, overloaded with calories and salt. Ugh. In almost any area there can be better choices if a guy does his research, new to the area or not. If there aren’t, there are other options than a restaurant for a meet-up.

      • Dimplz Says:

        I know people keep saying he’s new to the area, but then I would think maybe if you’re new, you ask a person who has been there what they recommend. I usually like 3 places to choose from. Then he could google and check the prices or whatever and get back to the person. Sounds simple enough to me.

      • M Says:

        I can understand that that my be the case in a place like NY. Even when I was living in DC, I dont think I ever went on a date to a chain restaurant. However, where I live now (still a major city, albeit smaller than DC), I ask people where a good date place is and one of the most popular responses I get is Cheesecake Factory. Judging by the wait times when I get there, lots of other people agree this is a good place to go as well. I know of some smaller, independent restaurants in the area that I like, but then you have to ask does she like Indian/Thai/Vietnamese/etc. Ive planned for such places before, only to have my potential date plans shot to hell. I really dont know any American food places that would be good for a first date around here.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Financially, these places dont cost any less than independent restaurants;

      In Manhattan they do. These places are tourist traps. The prices are intentionally jacked up because it’s assumed by the management that the tourists will be a bunch of rubes who don’t know they’re being ripped off. They also know that tourists will gravitate towards a chain because it is familiar to them. This is why I say that somebody in NY choosing a chain restaurant displays a naivete that would just not be compatible with someone who lives here.

      • Joey Giraud Says:

        As a rube from the Midwest who occasionally tourists in NYC, I would be sickened at the idea of eating homogeneous corporate dog-chow when I know there *must* be inexpensive, top-flight food like.. everywhere


  21. Nathan Says:

    Yet, some prefer chain restaurants. Even in big cities. And so this guy could have gone to the trouble of asking someone for recommendations, looking up prices and the rest, only to get a response of something like “Oh, but I really enjoy Olive Garden or Fridays or whatever.” This focus on restaurant choices is really nitpicky. If all it takes is a guy making the “wrong” choice of restaurant to question his entire character, the odds of you staying single for a really long time are going to be high.

  22. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    This focus on restaurant choices is really nitpicky. If all it takes is a guy making the “wrong” choice of restaurant to question his entire character, the odds of you staying single for a really long time are going to be high.

    It’s not his character that gets questioned. It is his understanding of his environment and of dating itself that gets questioned. Sure, in my home town people wouldn’t think twice about going to Houlihan’s for happy hour or a date. A choice like that in a town like that wouldn’t be questioned. But in a larger city, a choice like that would demonstrate the person’s naivete. That one choice would tell people here a lot about them. People who live in big cities do so for a reason – to be around like minded people. The mind set of someone who chooses to live in a city like Manhattan is vastly different than someone who chooses to live in Long Island, Queens, Staten Island etc. We’ve discussed this before when we talk about people who are geographically undesirable.

    To put it bluntly, most people who live in a large metropolitan city don’t wish to date simpletons.If we enjoyed being around simpletons, we wouldn’t live in Manhattan. And only a simpleton would think that a chain restaurant is an ideal place to take someone on a date. This woman knew this guy wasn’t for her the minute he chose Houlihan’s as a date spot. I can assure you that many if not most of the women who get that kind of invite will bail. The majority of the ones who do go out with someone like that do so KNOWING there won’t be a second date.

    • John Says:

      This is the OP again,
      I am not sure what led some people to think I was in NYC. My letter made no mention of that fact. I am on Long Island. I moved from Eastern Suffolk to Nassau- about a 75 mile move. But Long Island is still Long Island as far as the culture is concerned. So Moxie while I get what you are saying about the NYC mentality, this date and our geographic location was suburban Long Isand- not the bright lights, big city.

      I have taken your advice and used Yelp to find some interesting spots for future dates since Houlihans or Fridays is a big no-no. But just wanted to clarify this was not a Manhattan situation but rather a Long Island one. Not sure if that changes your opinion, but just wanted to clarify.

      • Robyn Says:

        It’s been a while since I did a 2 year long project in Long Island, right on the Nassua-Suffolk border, but I found quite a few good bar/restaurants in that area that weren’t chains.

        Unfortunately my #1 favorite place (Manero’s/Fulton & Prime) in Syosset closed down in June this year.
        But the good news is that it is supposed to be re-opening some time in the next few months in Jericho (one town over from Syosset) as Vintage Bar & Grill at 399 Jericho Tpk..

        There were a couple of other places in Plainview, Bethpage & Garden City where we did project team dinners. Can’t remember all of the names off-hand, but Houston’s @ the Roosevelt Field Mall was awesome.

        You just have to take the time & do some research, and (most importantly) field-test places at least once before you take some one there.

    • uesider Says:

      Wow. That was probably the most arrogant post that I’ve ever read here. Some of the “advice” here is good, some of it just tends to keep people single. This is the latter.

      Maybe this fellow is a “simpleton” because he hasn’t dated in awhile. Maybe he is busy. Maybe his palate isn’t that refined. Maybe he’s new to the area.

      I wouldn’t take someone to a chain restaurant, but if I am asked (read: invited to a free meal) I would go if I was otherwise attracted. I’m willing to actually meet someone to find out if I’m interested, rather than make judgement on someone’s suitability based on restaurant choices.

      A former friend used to tell me about dates that invited her to such horrible places such as the Cheesecake Factory and Houlihan’s. Funny thing was, every one of these guys had more education and was more accomplished than she professionally. I guess they’re simpletons though because they didn’t pick out the “right” place for the first meeting.

      She’s still single- the guys? Don’t know. Maybe they found women who spent time getting to know them rather than writing them off as “simpletons” because they picked the wrong restaurant.

  23. Steve From the City Next Door Says:

    I have found that chain restaurants for early dates are pretty much hated by all women. Unfortunately the places I have dated in that means you are going to expensive places… it seems like all the non-chain restaurants are either ultra-cheap teriyaki type places or expensive places — and usually they aren’t much better. The place by my office at the old place had a good atmosphere…but Applebee’s had much better tasting food for the most part (the indie place had a few things they did well…e.g. baked potato…but couldn’t get a steak right)

    It is actually one of the things that has held me back in dating where I now live…I have no idea where to go. Asking co-workers they suggest “driving into the city…or there is always that one brew pub.” I just don’t want to deal with the games.

    • Allan Says:

      Generalizing, but here it is anyhow: women want a Mediterranean atmosphere (French or Italian), or coffee at a European cafe followed by a rich dessert, which they will have one small taste of.

      In the case of a first meeting I think it’s a bit much to start with all that ersatz romance with someone you don’t know, but one should put one’s best foot forward.

  24. LostSailor Says:

    Found this, which speaks volumes. Six women talking about the “Best First-Date Moves for Men.”

    Some choice quotes, related to this thread:

    “A date either has to be relaxed and confident, or he has to be good at faking it. ”

    “Paying for the meal is a must. On the first date, never let the woman pay. If you’re not willing to pay her way on a date, don’t ask her out in the first place.”

    “Whether or not he pays for my part of the bill shows how the relationship will go if we keep seeing each other. I hate it when a guy’s like, “Why don’t we split this check?” College students are like that, and I am not trying to re-live those days. “

  25. JS Says:

    You need to improve your game. You came across as “Nice. Try to be more funny, cocky, etc. Tease her, whatever, but stop being so damn nice. That doesn’t mean begin rude. As for the drinks, WTF! Another game killer. Also, you need to read a woman’s signals better.

  26. jojo Says:

    As a guy, I love reading this thread as I am going thru this right now w/a woman. As a guy, I’d also like to flip the script based on my reading and get some feedback by seeing myself as the woman.

    First, If I was a woman I would be happy to always go dutch. That way I am not putting the guy out. I also don’t have a guilt trip. I would make this plain up front w/the guy so if we went to an expensive restaurant we’d know ahead of time that it was dutch. If the guy then chose to pick up the tab, fine. If not, also fine. It would make the date less anxious for both people and enrich the experience. I would not want to be taking some dude’s last dollars. Most of us are not made of money and work hard for what we have. And don’t have a lot to burn.

    2nd, I would never suggest an expensive restaurant w/a guy for a first date to begin with. It’s almost like the woman is using it as a litmus test. Recently I suggested coffee or a drink, keep it simple, we’ve never met before and she has changed the venue to the one of the city’s most expensive restaurants. Why? What if we don’t jibe? Then she’s sitting there w/a guy she has no interest in and I am counting the minutes to leave. But first I have to get thru the expensive dinner (ruined, if I don’t like the company). W/a coffee or drink date, either person can split if the scene isn’t for them. What’s wrong with that? I am happy to treat w/a person I am serious about over time. But it seems totally exploitative of the woman to use this cultural norm as a litmus test or to get free drinks or dinner. She is obviously not my type (as I seldom go to these places, only for special treats or w/a woman I am involved with), or she is clueless, or she knows exactly what she is doing to boost a meet and greet to a $100 plus dinner. Instead, I am going explain to her that I do not go to such places with someone I haven’t yet met, and instead suggest a romantic, reasonable bistro to meet for a drink or coffee and apps. Though I think it is perhaps foolish to do so, I will give her the benefit of the doubt. But I think it is a litmus test for her and to telegraph the guy her expectations. ‘Love and money, I’m gettin all mixed up!’–Talking Heads, Love For Sale

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