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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was going through some old e-mails when I came across one about a discussion I had with my sister (a lawyer) a few years ago. (Possibly I've asked this question before.) The relevance of her being a lawyer is not that there is any legal issue involved, but that she gave a fairly "tough-minded" response.

Here's the question: Suppose you go out with someone and they behave in a manner you consider to be abusive. What do you do? To be more specific, suppose I invite a woman out to dinner. Suppose I pick her up at her place. When we get to the restaurant, she orders a drink. And then another drink. And then another drink. And then another drink.

My sister, after berating me for arriving at my advanced age without knowing how to handle social situations, advised as follows: Call for the check. Pay the check. Walk out immediately. Period. (Or feign a "splitting headache" or some other acute illness if you feel that makes it easier.)

Have any of you ever done something like this?

I would be reluctant to do this, in part because if I pick a woman up on a date, I think I have an implied duty to see her safely home. (Call me a patriarchal, paternalistic chauvinist if you must.)

Also, since I generally do not date people entirely outside my social circle, I have to assume she would make a big stink about being "stranded" to all of our mutual friends, and there would be all sorts of negative repercussions.

I imagine that there are those who would say that I should just "suck it up" and tolerate such behavior, take the woman home, and just never ask her out ever again--that that would be the proper course of conduct, rather than walking out.

What has been your experience?
 

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I've never been on a casual date, so I can't give my opinion.

Wait. Yes I can. Hypothetically...it depends on what he's doing to make me want to kick him in the teeth. If its just not working out, and I'm the one that drove, i'd take him and drop him off and never talk to him again. If he's really being inappropriate or whatever, I'd leave his dumbass there.
 

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I think Joe, that you should just be kindly honest with this person. Just say something like, "Hey, drinking to this extent isn't my scene and it makes me really uncomfortable. I'd like to drive you home if you'll get your stuff together while I go pay the check. It's been really nice meeting you, but

I don't think we're compatable."

I think all you can do is be honest (in a nice way) about why it isn't a good idea for you. Then leave it at that.

B
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe View Post

I would be reluctant to do this, in part because if I pick a woman up on a date, I think I have an implied duty to see her safely home. (Call me a patriarchal, paternalistic chauvinist if you must.)

Also, since I generally do not date people entirely outside my social circle, I have to assume she would make a big stink about being "stranded" to all of our mutual friends, and there would be all sorts of negative repercussions.

I imagine that there are those who would say that I should just "suck it up" and tolerate such behavior, take the woman home, and just never ask her out ever again--that that would be the proper course of conduct, rather than walking out.

What has been your experience?
Call for the check. Pay for the check. Escort her home.

I agree with you that in this case, you should get her home safely, if at all feasible.

I was in a situation where I should have walked out on someone in high school, but I chose not to. I mae sure she got home, in spite of her boorish behavior.

Word did get out from witnesses about what went on, and I got props from the other females over how I handled the situation.
 

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I don't take rides to dates nor give them if it's someone whose behavior I'm not familiar with. It gives me a feeling of independence. I don't have to worry about someone trying to insist that I come over their house or acting like a jerk. It's also a safety thing.

I think if you are the one with the car, you are pretty much stuck taking them home or in an extreme case, calling for a cab and handing them a wad of cash to pay for it. But it's perfectly fine to cut the date short if they are being really rude. If you didn't give a ride, or if you can pay for a cab ride home, I don't see a problem with walking out.
 

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If the person is endangering you in some way, get out and don't look back. When your date is swinging a golf club at your head, run like heck. It doesn't matter who drove.

If it's just a matter of not particularly enjoying the date, I'd suck it up for an acceptable time frame. For example, if I realized half-way through the game of mini-golf that this just isn't clicking, I'll finish the game and then see myself out. If the original plan was to play mini-golf and then get a bite to eat, but the thought of the person makes my stomach churn (not in a good way), I'd probably come up with some reason that would spare my date's feelings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input. I guess I am a bit surprised that there seems to be a concensus that I do have some responsibility to see my date home (surprised because it might seem a little old fashioned), even if it is only to the extent of tossing some money on the table for cab fare. Interesting.

I didn't have the opportunity to question my sister about possible objections to her position, but I'd imagine that what she would say is that the kind of misbehavior I described would mean that my date had chosen to forfeit any "right" or expectation she might have otherwise had that I would take her home. Also, she might say that leaving the woman at the restaurant to get home by her own devices (pay for a cab, call a friend, walk, whatever) sends a clear message that I will not be used as a doormat, whereas taking the woman home anyway pretty much removes any consequences from misbehavior.

ETA: This kind of situation--neither the problem nor the response--is never discussed in books like "Dating for Dummies," which seem to presume good will and good faith on the part of all parties concerned--an assumption that I think is far from realistic.
 

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Like I said, I think it depends on what they did. If it's just a general "not really compatible" thing, then I'd say end it early, take her home, whatever. If it's blatant disrespect for you, or whatever, then screw it. Hope they enjoy walking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

I don't take rides to dates nor give them if it's someone whose behavior I'm not familiar with. It gives me a feeling of independence. I don't have to worry about someone trying to insist that I come over their house or acting like a jerk. It's also a safety thing.
Hmmn, this is interesting. I think many people would say that, barring very unusual circumstances, if each person furnishes his/her own transportation to/from an event or meeting, then this event or meeting is not really a "date."

As far as safety is concerned, I think most women are advised (even in books like "Dating for Dummies") to keep cab fare in cash in their purse in case they need to get home on their own.

I think if a ride is offerred and is not taken, then this sort of sends a "mixed signal" that kind of undermines the date. If I were the guy, I would wonder why you were doing this, and the possibilities that would come to my mind would not be positive. I would wonder: Does this mean that the woman does not trust me? If so, why is she going out with me in the first place? Does it mean she has some other guy at home (husband, boyfriend, whatever) and thus does not want to risk being seen being dropped off from a date? Does it mean she has a second date scheduled for the same evening, so needs to be able to drive herself directly to that appointment?
 

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I have walked out on a date, but it was probably just past the middle-point. We had gone to dinner, and gotten into an argument which sort of died off, and re-kindled in the car on the way to the bar for a post-dinner drink.

It died off again at the bar, and came up again about 45 minutes later.

I was pretty irritated, so I walked to the bar, paid the tab and walked straight out the door.

I was riding in her car, so I didn't feel bad about walking off. I had made it about 1/2 of the distance to my house when she caught up to me with her car. She got out, we stood and talked about things and eventually I agreed to get back in her car and let her take me home.

Apparently, she never expected me to just leave like that. I was pissed and done with the conversation. I just wanted to go home. Walking seemed a better option than an awkward car ride.

I know that this probably isn't the same situation you were asking about, Joe but seeing as how I have walked out I thought I'd post anyway.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe View Post

Hmmn, this is interesting. I think many people would say that, barring very unusual circumstances, if each person furnishes his/her own transportation to/from an event or meeting, then this event or meeting is not really a "date."
This seems to expose a huge difference between dating conventions in the US and my experiences in the UK. I have never got a lift from anyone on a date, I would always expect to make my own way there and back. I would never expect the man to pay for me either: if it's drinks, we would take it in turn, or if food, cinema etc I would pay my half. It seems rude for the woman to expect the man to pay for everything. For me, this is part of being independent and equal. Thus, I would have no problem walking out on a date if I felt it necessary because there is no 'debt' owed either way.
 

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I don't really think it's old fashioned, just a matter of good manners. I would think that way whether it was a man or woman. Particularly in an instance where you say you have mutual friends and he only heinous act she's committing is drinking too much. In which case she probably (whether she wants one or not) really needs a ride home from a safe party.

To me it's not about chivalry or some old fashioned sense of women needing help. It's about Karma. I mean you can always say to the person you just aren't interested in dating them ever again...while still making sure that person is safe, particularly since you were her ride.

b
 

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That said a few years back I walked myself to a date (I lived about a quarter mile and it was a nice evening). I had a terrible time and thought the person was creepy. In the end he offered me a ride home and I said no thanks, I wanted to enjoy the evening. He was worried because it was dark but I felt comfortable with it, so we parted ways....thank god.

b
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Brandon View Post

I was riding in her car, so I didn't feel bad about walking off. I had made it about 1/2 of the distance to my house when she caught up to me with her car. She got out, we stood and talked about things and eventually I agreed to get back in her car and let her take me home.

Apparently, she never expected me to just leave like that. I was pissed and done with the conversation. I just wanted to go home. Walking seemed a better option than an awkward car ride.
That's what girls do in horror movies.. only they end up in a pickle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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Originally Posted by Black Heart View Post

This seems to expose a huge difference between dating conventions in the US and my experiences in the UK. I have never got a lift from anyone on a date, I would always expect to make my own way there and back. I would never expect the man to pay for me either: if it's drinks, we would take it in turn, or if food, cinema etc I would pay my half. It seems rude for the woman to expect the man to pay for everything. For me, this is part of being independent and equal. Thus, I would have no problem walking out on a date if I felt it necessary because there is no 'debt' owed either way.
I should say that my question basically only applies to the situation in the US. Dating customs differ widely in other countries, even English-speaking countries, so I can't really speak about those situations.

Here in the US, though, the general rule is that the person who does the inviting picks up the tab. The general rule is also that the person who does the inviting will pick up/furnish transportation to the invitee. (If the two people develop their relationship into being a "couple" or steady dating or the like, then they may set up some sort of arrangement for splitting the costs of their dates.)

This can lead to situations in which the invitee tries to take advantage of the situation by, for example, ordering the most expensive item on the menu, ordering (alcoholic) drink after drink, so that the liquor portion of the bill exceeds the food portion of the bill, even though the person was invited to "dinner," etc.

I am reminded here of a scene in the Woody Allen film "Match Point," set in London. The relatively poor Irish tennis pro, Chris Wilton, is invited to lunch at a posh restaurant by the wealthy Hewitt family. Chris, either out of politeness or calculation or a little of both, orders the least expensive item on the menu. His hosts countermand the order and insist that he shall have what they are having.

I haven't met any "Chris Wilton" types among women during my dating experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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Originally Posted by bethanie View Post

I don't really think it's old fashioned, just a matter of good manners. I would think that way whether it was a man or woman.
But it is not 1950 anymore, and what constitutes "good manners" today is more open to question. I think you might think differently about some of these issues if you were a man and if you had been upbraided by women for doing things like holding a door open for them, letting them go ahead in line, etc.--as I have been.

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Originally Posted by bethanie View Post

Particularly in an instance where you say you have mutual friends and he only heinous act she's committing is drinking too much. In which case she probably (whether she wants one or not) really needs a ride home from a safe party.
We are not talking about a "party," but a dinner date, where she can only abuse alcohol--basically--if *I* let her do so. True, if I pay the bill and leave, she can choose to stay there and continue to drink on her own dime, but then it is totally her responsibility, not mine.

There are "rules" about good manners, but there are also "rules" against excessive drinking. For example, the Century Council defines "binge drinking" for a woman as consuming four or more alcoholic drinks in a session. I don't see why one set of "rules" should be taken to be absolutes, while the other set of rules is ignored. I also don't see why one party to the date is bound by rules, while the other party to the date appears not to be bound by any reciprocal rules.

Whether the woman "needs" a ride home more than she "needs" not to be "enabled" in her abusive drinking is something about which reasonable people might disagree. I think if you talked to the people at Al-Anon, they would argue that the latter is more important than the former.

No one likes to be "used" or feel used, and I think that to have a date drink to excess under these circumstances sends a pretty strong and pretty insulting message that she is just "using" the host to get drunk (or near drunk) for free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethanie View Post

To me it's not about chivalry or some old fashioned sense of women needing help. It's about Karma. I mean you can always say to the person you just aren't interested in dating them ever again...while still making sure that person is safe, particularly since you were her ride.

b
Thanks for your opinion. It seems to fit in with the majority opinion.
 

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I guess I am unorthodox because I do not feel comfortable being in a car with someone I don't know well, date or not. Especially with dates because there is a sexual undertone to it all, and it's really easy for the driver to coerce the passenger into going to more and more places together or stop off at his house, or whatever. Maybe I have this attitude because the "dates" I've had were with people I met of dating sites and that situation, you are never supposed to take a ride from someone you haven't met.

Joe-

Can you be more specific at all about how this woman was being abusive to you? For me, part of giving the person a ride or cab fare is almost more about the fact that they are drunk than that they are your date. In fact, as a waitress, we were legally obligated to tell a manager if someone was drunk and they had to call that person a cab or make sure they had a way to get home without drinking and driving.

There is an issue of enabling, but I think making a minimum amount of effort to ensure a minimum amount of safety for a person who is in a disabled condition is just a responsibility to a person, far from enabling.

Once I went to pizza with a guy I met at a party and after we ordered, it became apparent he was really, really, drunk. I tried to get him to eat and drink, and I got some friends to stay with him while I got my car and we pretty much forced him in it and took him to his dorm. Another time someone at my house in college got very very drunk and they could not wake him. They called the ambulance. I don't think Joe's situation was quite like this, but I think in some situations we have a minimal duty to a person even if they don't "deserve" it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

I guess I am unorthodox because I do not feel comfortable being in a car with someone I don't know well, date or not. Especially with dates because there is a sexual undertone to it all, and it's really easy for the driver to coerce the passenger into going to more and more places together or stop off at his house, or whatever.
I think I can understand your feelings, and I am not saying that you shouldn't behave in this way. What I am saying is that this level of mistrust just does not seem to "jibe" with dating that person. If you feel you really don't know him that well, then it would seem to me to be better either to have nothing to do with him or to have some sort of plan for getting to know him first through some sort of non-dating activities where your safety would be protected, like meeting for coffee during the daytime or attending activities in a group where you know the other people and you and Mr. X would not be alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

Maybe I have this attitude because the "dates" I've had were with people I met of dating sites and that situation, you are never supposed to take a ride from someone you haven't met.
I think you are prudent under these circumstances. I think I did make an exception in my comments above ("barring unusual circumstances") for unusual circumstances, and I think 'meeting a stranger from a dating site' qualifies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

Joe-

Can you be more specific at all about how this woman was being abusive to you? For me, part of giving the person a ride or cab fare is almost more about the fact that they are drunk than that they are your date. In fact, as a waitress, we were legally obligated to tell a manager if someone was drunk and they had to call that person a cab or make sure they had a way to get home without drinking and driving.
Well, I could be more specific, but let's not confuse two different questions.

One question is how is it appropriate to respond to abusive behavior on a date: walk out/not walk out/whatever. That is the major question I wanted to talk about. The other question is where is it appropriate to draw the line as to what behavior is abusive vs. not. It seems like you are perhaps disagreeing with me on that, which I think is the more minor issue.

First, there is the purpose of or plan for the date. If I ask a woman out "for dinner," that means something, at least to me. If I ask a woman out "for drinks," that means something very different. I've never asked a woman out "for an unspecified activity, to be kept a mystery until the time of the date." If I asked a woman out for dinner and she accepted, and if when I came by to pick her up she said: "Let's not do dinner, let's just go out for drinks instead," I'd say, "No way!" If a date is planned and agreed to for one purpose, and then one of the parties acts as if it was planned for another purpose without the consent of the other party, then that's dishonest and abusive in my book.

Second, what does "for dinner" mean? Where I come from, it is normal to have dinner without consuming any alcoholic beverages; it's also normal to have one or two drinks with dinner. Having three alcoholic drinks is kind of pushing it. As I said before, the Century Council defines "binge drinking" for a woman to be consuming 4 or more alcoholic drinks in a session. It seems to me that "binge drinking" is abusive if one has been invited out "for dinner." If you have a different standard, and a different authority to back it up, I'd be very interested in hearing it. Where would you draw the line? Five drinks? Six? Eight? Ten? Twenty? You tell me what your standard is.

I agree that a waitress and a manager in a restaurant that serves alcohol have a duty to assist their patron in getting a cab if they have consumed too much alcohol. But there is a reason for this, and that is that the restaurant is subject to legal liability if the patron injures himself or others after consuming alcohol at the restaurant. The general law that imposes the liability is called "the Dram Shop Act," and state laws in the US imposing this liability are modelled on an early law in Britain.

But the thing is, if you work as a waitress in a restaurant that serves alcohol, or as a manager in such a restaurant, you consent to take on this responsibility by virtue of accepting that employment. I do not consent to playing nursemaid to a drunk by asking a person out "for dinner."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

There is an issue of enabling, but I think making a minimum amount of effort to ensure a minimum amount of safety for a person who is in a disabled condition is just a responsibility to a person, far from enabling.
I basically don't agree with this, since the person is choosing to "disable" herself, and at my expense. Also, my hypothetical willingness to tolerate and/or assist the person under these circumstances encourages the (mis) behavior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

Once I went to pizza with a guy I met at a party and after we ordered, it became apparent he was really, really, drunk. I tried to get him to eat and drink, and I got some friends to stay with him while I got my car and we pretty much forced him in it and took him to his dorm. Another time someone at my house in college got very very drunk and they could not wake him. They called the ambulance. I don't think Joe's situation was quite like this, but I think in some situations we have a minimal duty to a person even if they don't "deserve" it.
In my case, we are talking about people who are well above college age, so ought to know better. I think it is very nice of you to have taken care of this fellow, but if he was drunk before you even met him for a pizza, then the situation is different from the one I have described, where the person starts drinking once the date begins.
 

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Joe- I'm starting to see your point. If I took someone out for dinner and then the guy got riproaring drunk in front of me, I'd be tempted to walk out, too. Perhaps pay the bill, give the waiter an extra big tip and point out that one of their customers is loaded. (because it is their legal obligation, anyhow to make sure they are safe.)

I guess I'm still wondering though is, how does it get to this point? Walking out is something that shows you aren't worried about politeness anymore, but couldn't politeness be breeched before it gets to that point? I know you don't want to get into details, and it might be one of those things that sneeks up on you.
 
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