There was a time when I said, “a whole new world,” and it was while singing the song of the same name from Aladdin. Unfortunately – yes, I said unfortunately – I seem to be using the phrase more often, and it has nothing to do with the happy magical world of Disney. Everything that used to be “normal” or common place is now taboo to talk, write, or think about. But I only think of the phrase “a whole new world” in regard to dating in this column. I won’t bring politics or current events into these paragraphs that people read in order to take their mind off of the everyday.
I love chivalry – the idea of it, the act of it. Call me old-fashioned, but I think there is something sweet about having a man open a door for me, offer to hold heavy packages, and pay for the activities on a date, at least in the beginning of the relationship. The activities don’t have to be expensive. Dinners at a high-end restaurant and limo rides aren’t necessary. Starbucks and a café are fine. A day exploring a museum or park where admission is free is good, too. Once the relationship gets serious, then you can go ahead and invest the big bucks once you know that the relationship may lead somewhere. When I was dating my husband, it got to the point where I offered to pay for dinner. We had been dating for months. We knew where the relationship was headed, so why should I make him pay for everything (I can do that for the rest of my life, Lol!)? I paid once, maybe twice. I understand that my way of thinking is old-fashioned and sets women’s lib back 50 years. But I don’t care. Many women today want to be independent and not rely on anyone, least of all a man to help them.
I’ve met people and read emails from women who insisted on paying their way on a first date (or every date) for a variety of reasons. But this letter takes the cake of all other similar letters on the topic. And it’s not the actions of the woman that surprised me. This letter has a twist.
I’m writing on behalf of my daughter. She just finished dating a young bachur. They went out three times. The decision to end things was my daughter’s. She said he was very different from her and couldn’t see herself or him changing enough to please the other and themselves.
Yesterday, my daughter showed me a text message that she received. It was from the bachur asking for her to pay for her share for their last date. “You can Venmo me the money.” I didn’t even know what Venmo was until my daughter explained.
Can you believe this? Is this what the yeshivos are teaching? If you date a girl and things don’t work out, ask her to pay you back for the money you spent? How about this: Maybe you shouldn’t spend money on a date you can’t afford to lose.
On the first date, he took my daughter to a lounge. Second date, he took her out for “dessert.” For the third date, my daughter told me they went to an amusement park arcade type of place and then out to dinner at a nice restaurant. My daughter didn’t insist on going to the arcade, nor did she ask to be taken to that restaurant. The whole date was planned by the boy. So now, because my daughter doesn’t want to see him anymore, he regrets the money he spent on her, because he didn’t get what he wanted – a relationship, I’m guessing. I am beside myself! My husband and daughter had to stop me from calling the rosh yeshivah to tell him what his bachur is doing and what midos he lacks. I am completely stunned.
I told my daughter to ignore the text message and block the number. But have you ever heard of such a thing?
Ima, thank you for the email.
This is a new type of situation for me. I’ve heard of women who pay their half or even for the whole date. Never have I heard of asking to be repaid after the date, especially when it didn’t work out. It seems kind of like a “jerky” type of move. After reading your letter, I called single friends and asked if this ever happened to them. Both said no. I once received a letter from someone where the man asked if he could repay her for the time she spent waiting for him on dates, because he was always late, and to pay for the carfare.
I would be over, under, and beside myself if this happened to me. I agree with your opinion: Your daughter didn’t insist he take her to those venues. If she did, maybe this would be a different situation. The first two dates appear to be on the low-cost spectrum of dates, while the third date sounds like he amped up his game a little. Maybe he wanted to impress your daughter. Maybe he liked your daughter and wanted to do a fun activity with her. Who knows why he seemed to have changed his dating routine. I don’t think your daughter owes him any money. When you commit to dating, you commit to all that goes along with dating, including paying for food and admission fees – unless there was an agreement ahead of time for each to pay for themselves.
Ima, I would also think long and hard about speaking with the rosh yeshivah. Yes, this request speaks volumes of the bachur. But we don’t know the real reason why the boy did what he did. Did he borrow the money from friends/his parents? Yours is a knee-jerk reaction to make the call and to tell the rav what bachurim in his yeshivah lack, or maybe that this bachur may need extra hours learning. But you need to think of all the repercussions. This may embarrass him, to have his rebbe discuss the matter with him, or you may be surprised if you are told, “I am sorry this happened to your daughter, but there is nothing I can do. He is a mature adult.” But if you are really determined to have someone speak to the bachur about how rude and lacking his request is, then maybe start with the shadchan.
Hopefully the shadchan that redt the shidduch is one of those with seichel and tact that I write of. If this is the case, have your daughter (yes, your daughter is the adult here) tell the shadchan what happened. Like I said, if the shadchan has seichel, she or he will not need to be told what to do. The shadchan can offer advice to the bachur regarding what is expected and acceptable behavior before, during, and after dating. The shadchan won’t spread the word around, and it isn’t so uncommon for shadchanim to advise the singles that they set up.
I don’t even want to say it, but I will. Just as when non-Jews date and the man wines and dines the woman, he is not entitled to anything afterwards. She does not owe him a penny or anything else. It was the man’s choice of where to go. He could have picked Dunkin’ Donuts, but he didn’t. Even if the woman pays for the date and afterwards requests to be “Venmo’d” the money, I don’t think he owes her anything. If both parties on the date decided where to go as a team, then I would say the bachur may have a case here – and that’s a huge maybe. There are a lot of variables in play: who took the lead, exactly how much the total date cost, etc. But in this case, I don’t think your daughter owes him a penny. And if the bachur does receive any extra money, he may want to invest it in mentch lessons.
Ima, you provided a good life-lesson to everyone: Never invest/or spend more money (or anything) that you can’t afford to lose.
Hatzlachah to you all.