There’s been a Facebook photo floating around lately in which a man details an odd occurrence on a date:
I have no idea which group was asked this query, and in all my years—10-plus—listening to dating anecdotes from thousands of people and advising or coaching people through various mishaps, I have never heard of anything like this (and I’ve heard horror stories). But alas, and sadly, there is a first time for everything.
I hope the participants in whichever group received this man’s questions gave him the only correct answers, which are, respectively, “Heck no! You weren’t wrong!” and “Heck yeah! She was asking for too much,” now and in any future situation where the guy isn’t living in the house and/or isn’t officially the stepdad of the children in question.
There’s no way around it: This woman was terribly out of line for thinking this man was her family’s meal plan for the evening. And bless this gentleman’s heart, because he must have really liked this lady to continue the date after she asked that question, and even to contemplate whether he was in the wrong when she line-stepped by catching an attitude.
I’m preaching to the choir, though. I saw this query posted in multiple status updates and various other places around the Internet, and the consensus was, “No, ma’am!” in response to the woman’s behavior. That, and an overwhelming curiosity about why the children weren’t fed dinner before Mom stepped out with a new boo.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge that it’s hard to date as a single mother, but every parent—married or not—that I saw a response from in my timeline agreed: There’s no excuse for leaving your kids hungry while you go out for a good time. Furthermore, if the state of your children’s stomachs is of concern, after he said, “No,” why didn’t Mom pay for the dinners so the kids could eat? If she didn’t have the money, why did she stay on the date with an attitude instead of asking to be taken home to whip up some food for her children? There’s so much about this story that doesn’t make sense.
Here’s how this scenario should have gone if food just needed to be ordered, which admittedly strikes me as an odd, but not awful, thing to do on a date: Nearing the end of dinner—not when the bill comes—Mom should have asked her date if he minded if she ordered and paid for food for her children—hopefully the following day’s lunch or dinner because the children would have already been fed for that night. Any inconvenience to her date would have been perhaps the additional time to wait for the meals, which would have been limited because she was being considerate enough to order early.
The man sounds as if he was enjoying her company, so the extra time likely wouldn’t have been a problem. And given how into her he sounded in his query, he might have wanted to impress her enough to pick up the tab for the children’s meals. But if he did not offer, it should have been no problem, since her children are not his responsibility.
I’m doubtful that this lady experienced a “teachable moment” if she had an attitude after he refused her completely obnoxious request. I hope she’s not somewhere complaining on her own Facebook status about how he didn’t pay.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and the upcoming Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.