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I think we can all appreciate a man who is smart with his money. It shows that he is thinking about the bigger picture and is doing well for himself. But there’s a difference between being frugal and being cheap. Oh yeah, and doing the absolute most.

A girlfriend of mine has been trying her hand at online dating lately. She recently went out with a guy who, based on his profile, seemed like he could be a keeper. He was handsome, intelligent, they liked similar things, and she was excited about the prospect of finally meeting up with him.

And then he blew it.

Initially, everything was great. While talking to him about going on their first date, the guy had all kinds of nice ideas for trendy restaurants here in New York City that they could try. She was open to his suggestions, and the both of them seemed like they were on the page, hitting it off well. There were some small red flags here and there though. They mostly had to do with money:

“I’m giving you a coupon. The first three dates are on me, and then the fourth one, you can pay for. Cool?”

She assumed that he was joking so she laughed it off, but the more often they talked, the more he talked about money. Or better yet, they talked about his efforts to save it:

“We should definitely try this vegetarian restaurant in Park Slope down the line. I have this Groupon we can use that I don’t think has expired yet…”

Again, she didn’t think all that much of his comments. A coupon isn’t a big deal, right? She still thought he was an intriguing guy, so she decided to meet up with him for dinner. On date night, they were having a pretty good time getting to know each other. But then the bill came.

When the waiter came over, my friend’s date announced that he had a coupon that he would like to use. My friend wasn’t too crazy about this because it was literally their first date. A coupon on the second or third is one thing, but out of the gate? To her, it was a bit much. Still, she shrugged it off and reminded herself that there’s nothing wrong with trying to save money.

Well, the waiter told him that the coupon he had was not eligible for the meal they had ingested. It was only for certain dishes. Things went downhill from there. My friend’s date literally haggled back and forth with the waiter about the bill and being able to use the coupon. After at least five minutes, he asked to speak to the manager, who in the hopes of being relieved of such nonsense, broke down and conceded. Homeboy could use the coupon. He was pleased. She was not.

As she told me, it was one thing for him to use a coupon, something that already rubbed her the wrong way, but it was another for him to then literally fight to use it. It almost made her feel like an inconvenience, the idea that he would go out of his way to avoid paying the full tab to take her out on a first date. To her, it was insulting. It was extra. It was cheap. It was not a good message to send. And it was a wrap for him. She cut him off afterward, not even letting him know where he erred (I’m sure it was obvious though). She also blocked him on the online dating app they initially met and mingled on.

I can’t even be mad at her. While I’m all for individuals saving money (time is hard as I like to say), it would be nice if he had kept things discreet. Ranting and waving around a Groupon coupon on a first date isn’t really a good look, and that’s obviously not proper etiquette. In fact, it’s tacky as hell. If you know you don’t have the ducats to spend on a big meal at a restaurant, there are countless other first date options to try. Drinks. Coffee. Going for a walk in the park. Just anything but haggling in a crowded restaurant like you’re attempting to get the last pair of handmade earrings for the low-low in an open market overseas. That’s not sexy, and it’s not a good first impression to make. While there’s no need to feel ashamed about wanting to use a coupon, there’s no need to be so damn loud about it either. Sheesh.

But as always, that’s just my opinion. I’m always down to hear yours. Was he petty for going well out of his way to save money on their first date? Or was she petty for cutting him off after the fact?


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