Free Dinner Has a Price

Story Sent in by Eric:

I was out to dinner on my date with Tracy. She had already finished one and a half diet sodas before I was done with my first glass of water, and well before our main courses were served. In the middle of our conversation, she picked up the liquor menu and scanned it, then asked me, "Do you have a favorite type?"

"Burgundy," I replied.

"Burgundy, okay."

When the waiter came by to refill my water, Tracy ordered a bottle of Chardonnay. After the waiter left, she said to me, "I'm just in one of those Chardonnay moods, you know."

The bottle arrived and the waiter poured two glasses. Tracy downed hers pretty quickly, but I let mine sit. "What's the matter?" she asked, "You don't like Chardonnay?"

"Not really," I replied.

Tracy then beckoned across the table to my filled glass. I slid it over to her. She poured its contents back into the bottle and shook the bottle up a bit. She said, "I don't think we can return it, now. It's been open and I've had some, already."

"Enjoy it," I said, and I meant it, even though she never even asked me if I liked Chardonnay before ordering a bottle.

"Wow," she said, "You must be really bitter about this, huh?"


"It's just Chardonnay. It's really not a big deal."


"Are you even listening to me? I can see you trembling with rage from here."

I frowned at her. "Excuse me. I'm not trembling, and I'm not in any rage. I'm surprised that you didn't ask me if I liked Chardonnay before ordering it, but I don't think you meant any harm by it."

"I knew it," she said, "You're furious. It's not worth it. It's just Chardonnay!"

"Okay," I agreed, "It's just Chardonnay. It's not a big deal."

"You're lying!" She leaned back and gave a heavy sigh. "I can't believe this."

Our food arrived. The waiter left. Just before I dug in, I said, "I'm not lying."

The next five minutes, we ate in complete silence. Hoping to salvage what little hope I had for a pleasant evening, I extended what I thought was an olive branch and asked, "Could I try some of the Chardonnay?"

She moved the bottle off the table and sat it next to herself. I then said, "If I'm paying for it, then I'd like to have some."

She said, "I'm paying for it. I'm paying for everything. Seems to be the only way to defuse your attitude."

I went through her logic in my head, understood that it made no sense at all, then offered, "You don't have to pay for everything. Just let me have some Chardonnay, is all I ask."

She replied, "I'd rather pay for everything than let you drink a drop."

I was content to let her win that one. Returning to my free dinner, I looked forward to returning home after the date. No matter what I'd be up to (sleep, reading, etc.), it was guaranteed to be better than where I was.


  1. Why does it seem like there are gaps missing in this story? I'd like to hear the other side... if there even was a date.

  2. I tried to be sympathetic to OP, I really did. But he just comes across as a jerk. Team Nobody!

    It may have been based on spite, but at least Tracy offered to pay for everything.

  3. Team Burgundy. Chardonnay is a sophomoric wine choice.

    Benefit of the doubt.. perhaps she misinterpreted his Burgundy comment as a request for Chardonnay grown in the Burgundy region of France.

    However, it seems like neither of these folks know a thing about wine based on the OP's one-sided rendering of the conversation. Or perhaps they just don't know a thing about how to communicate. If he objected to drinking that varietal, why not mention that when she ordered a BOTTLE? Simply saying something to his distaste of Chardonnay when she ordered it would have sufficed. Or if going the indirect route, he could have ordered a glass of something else while the server was present. That would have given her the hint, and likely sparked her to rethink her choice of a bottle rather than a glass. Oh wait, here I am thinking logically again..

    And someone please tell me, what is "one of those Chardonnay moods?" I'm picturing it as one of those moods I get into in summer in which I just want to drink some wine tapped into a red solo cup from a box with letters spelling out "Franzia" printed on it, lounging crossed legged on my lawn chair in my back yard, donning white pumps and stretch pants. Nah mean?

  4. This reminds me of a Foxtrot cartoon: Peter's girlfriend has goaded him into taking her to a really fancy restaurant for some special occasion. He spends all night stewing about it, then finally unloads on her about how presumptuous she was, how long he had to save for it, etc. She pulls out her mom's credit card and says something like (paraphrased) "How presumptuous of YOU." That said, I'd be wary of anyone who ordered a whole bottle of wine (clearly for themselves) on a first date, but really, who keeps track of how many diet sodas someone's already drunk first? It makes it sound like you were accounting even before the wine episode.

  5. I believe this could have happened exactly as described, only because I've dated a gal that was just like that. She'd say or do or ask me something that just didn't make sense, but it would be a minor thing and under the premise of "choose your battles" I'd just say okay and go along with it. Then she'd says she knew I didn't like it and accuse me of passive-aggressively trying to sabotage her by pretending to go along.

    At the time I naively gave her the benefit of the doubt, just figuring she was a little loopy or just confused or something. After a while I realized she just liked to pick fights and cause drama.

  6. I'm really wish we had a rebuttal from Tracy, because's Eric's story comes off as one-sided and biased.

    1) The fact that the OP was counting diet sodas before the meal implies that he was in "accountant mode" from the very start of the date, which is tacky and lacks class. If you're on a tight budget, don't fret over what's ordered - just explain the situation to your date beforehand and pick a cheaper restaurant! If she makes a fuss over it, then she's too materialistic and you should kick her to the curb. ANyone worth your time will be understanding of that.

    2) The fact that Tracy was willing to pay for everything is another strike against the OPs credibility. This is not necessarily a universal rule, but generally women who are willing to pay not only for themselves but also for their date tend to fall into the classier end of the spectrum.

    I think the OP is just pissed because he didn't score.

  7. I'm not on anyone's side with this one - the OP feels like he doesn't understand tone, and just because his words were passive, he thought she was overreacting. And Tracy wasn't smart enough to clear whether or not he even wanted wine with dinner, which sparked this whole debacle. She also could have just ordered a glass for herself.

  8. I think im with wolfdreams opinion on this one.
    IMHO, she mistook chardonnay for burgundy, and OP was too weak to mention he didn't like it when she ordered a bottle (thinking it was his favourite). All the rest comes down to lack of social skills, possibly on both parts.

  9. Nah, I'm with Team Burgundy. Accusing him of trembling with rage? Really? Refusing to share the bottle after he asked politely? She clearly had issues that had nothing to do with OP. He should have called the waiter over and ordered himself a glass of chardonnay. I wonder how she would have responded to that!

  10. Yeeeahh I could really see this playing out perfectly from Tracy's perspective, with the OP saying the same things and coming across as a complete jackass (as opposed to pompous as it is).

    However, my biggest pet peeve with Tracy (before she delved a little too far on the side of childish in response to his perceived offense) was that she asked him if he had a favorite type of wine, then just inferred that of course that meant he wanted to join her in drinking a bottle, without following up with the simplest and most logical question of does he want some.

    Not everyone drinks a glass of wine or two on the fly, even if she had ordered the right kind. Just...could have avoided so much of the aftermath that way. But, maybe she was trying to impress him with her ability to pick up and act on subtle clues, which could also explain why she reacted so poorly when it didn't work out as she imagined. I dunno.

  11. It was a stupid situation anyway, plus, she should have asked beforehand, if he actually wanted to share a whole bottle with her.

  12. Even with editorial bias, the OP still comes across as a passive aggressive twerp.


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