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Dating is a many-splendored thing. So is living in New York City, which is listed as one of the most expensive cities to live in the United States. Between skyrocketing rent prices for shoebox size apartments and the daily struggle that is life here, I have had to figure out being frugal in every sense of the word.

I can appreciate a man who’s just as smart, and maybe even frugal, with his funds. What I haven’t experienced since my infamous Groupon date, is being given an actual spending limit on an outing with a man. Recently I was asked to go on a date by a man I’ve been getting to know. Whenever I’m asked on dates, I usually inquire where we’re going just to get a proper sense of dress code. Our date happened to be at a fancy restaurant I had mentioned wanting to go to in passing and, to my surprise, this guy managed to swing a reservation on a Friday night. I was over the moon at his attention to detail and extremely excited about our outing. And on that Friday night, everything went well, up until we were seated for our reservation.

After the waiter brought us the menu, and we made small talk about what we were going to order, my date proceeded to ask if he could make a request. I obliged playfully, thinking his request would be something cheeky or a little corny, maybe even romantic (hey, a gal can dream). But it was at this point my date mentioned he had a spending limit for dinner and that “it would be best if I stuck to a few appetizers as opposed to an entrée.”

I’ve never been so confused in all my life. Here I was sitting with a man who did well for himself and yet somehow treated me like a child whose only option was to seek sustenance on the kid’s menu at your local drive-through. Perhaps I was naive to think that if someone extends an invitation to you for a date, they’ve budgeted enough to cover the cost of a fairly decent time for two (an appetizer perhaps, the main course, dessert and maybe drinks) because that clearly was not the case here.

Needless to say, I was put off by this request I didn’t have much choice but to adhere to, and both my appetite and attention checked out of that date pretty quickly. In the interest of fairness, after we left the restaurant, I did ask why my date why he had imposed a spending limit so impromptu at dinner. He replied, “I’m someone who’s money conscious. I don’t believe you have to spend a lot to have a good time, plus we’ve only just started dating.”

True as his answer may be, it was exactly the dismissive response I needed to confirm I’d never go out with him again. Don’t get me wrong, as a working woman who is trying her darndest to date and put myself out there, I realize the importance of being frugal with my funds and I’m fairly respectful of a man’s money whilst on a date as well. At the very least, I always make sure I have my own money as a buffer for any possible issues that may come up. However, I resent the idea of being “frugal” with your date when you have full control over where you go. I’d never walk into the Ritz-Carlton for dinner with a budget. If that were the case, given the myriad of conversations surrounding our interests, dinner as a first date did not have to be the only option.

Honestly, setting a budget is just cheap and certainly not a good foot to start off any relationship. I never got back to this guy about a second date. I did, however, take myself on a date to that same restaurant with a reservation for one and had everything I wanted, with dessert. #treatyourself

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