Another unbelievable letter:
I want you to answer a question about what happened to me.
I went out with someone once. He took me out to eat. I wasn’t really feeling the vibe, but I was still talking to him and pretending to have a good time. As we were finishing up, he puts his hand to the Hatzalah earpiece he was wearing; I was able to hear some chatter from during the date. He said there was a call a few blocks away from where we were. He told me that he had to leave and respond. He apologized, took out money, put it on the table, and left.
We met at the restaurant, so it’s not like he left me without a ride home. And I can understand him wanting to respond to a call, BUT—
There are times when volunteers can’t respond to emergencies, and they turn off their radios. I thought a date would be one of those times. He was wearing an earpiece and occasionally would put his hand to his ear as if to better hear because of background noise. But he suddenly felt he had to respond? I think that’s rude. This was his way to “dine and dash.” End of date.
The amount of money he put on the table wasn’t enough to cover the bill. Not really close either; I had to add $62. Don’t think I’m against paying or anything like that. But the day after, when we both told the shadchan that we didn’t want a second date, there was no mention of money or if he owed money because he didn’t leave enough to cover everything. I wouldn’t have taken the money. He must have had some idea of how expensive the dinner was. He looked at the money he put on the table. He may have come up short on purpose. But I think having the shadchan ask, or being an adult and texting me about it, would be the right thing to do.
I think this was an easy exit to the date, or a cowardly one. But I don’t get why? We were almost finished with the meal, and he wouldn’t have to spend time with me going home because we had our own cars. Do you think he didn’t give enough money to cover the bill on purpose, or could it be an honest mistake?
Thank you for your very interesting email, Janey.
To answer my reader’s questions: Yes, I did think that this was too fake to be real – walking out on a date, intentionally not leaving enough money. I can imagine readers thinking, “Two weeks in a row with outrageously out-there stories? C’mon; one or both have got to be fake.” But again, I did a little research in the name of Jewish geography.
When I initially responded to the letter, I asked some questions. Eventually, Janey and I were able to speak on the phone. It happens to be that I sort of know someone she is related to (like four degrees of separation here). All of Janey’s answers seemed to be honest, and when I checked with the “fourth party source” about Janey, she vouched for her. I will respond to the letter, but I do realize: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Janey, I remember standing at the Bursar’s Office in Queens College on a very long line. I took the time to look at others on the line (no iPhone yet) and noticed someone I had taken two courses with a year before, at the front of the line. He was wearing his Hatzalah radio and it was turned on. He kept fiddling with it; making it louder, lowering the volume, then finally taking out an earpiece so the rest of us didn’t have to hear the calls. To this day, I wondered what he was doing standing on line in a Queens College building. The office wasn’t near a parking lot, at the time. (I don’t know if the office has moved since.) And unless there was a call for someone on the QC campus, I didn’t think he should be listening to it in public. If he were to hear a call that he had to respond to for whatever reason, minutes would pass before he would be able to get out of the building and to his car – again, unless the call was for someone on campus. It annoyed me. I don’t think of listening to Hatzalah calls as entertainment or a way to pass the time. Maybe this former classmate did. I thought it was inappropriate then, and I think it was inappropriate on your date, as well.
Others can disagree with me, but how can you fully invest yourself, and concentrate, focus on the person you’re with, if you have the radio buzzing in your ear, even if the volume is turned down low? There is a time and place for everything, and this was not the time to rush to the emergency. He should have not had the radio/earpiece at all. Baruch Hashem, there are thousands of Hatzalah volunteers in the New York City area; surely at least one other volunteer would have responded. I want to be dan l’chaf z’chus here because he was trying to help someone (if that is really the truth), but leaving in the middle of a date? And to top it off, not fully paying?
When I went on dates and even when I dine out with my husband, I always look at the prices. I never wanted and still don’t want to order the most expensive item on the menu. Just because a date is paying, it doesn’t give me the right to take advantage of it (Listen to me, some of you ladies out there!). I’m not a mathematician or a human calculator, but I get some idea of what the bill will be after the orders are placed. I can understand if he was short $20 or even $30, if you add the tip in. But $62? That’s a lot in my book. If he put down two $100 bills, maybe I can understand him thinking that was enough. But if the two of you had appetizers, entrees, drinks, dessert, even $200 may be lowballing it these days. I don’t want to say that he didn’t leave enough money on purpose; after all, he was leaving in a hurry and his mind was probably elsewhere. But if he looked at the bills, which would have added less than five seconds to his response time, this could have been easily avoided. And back in my dating days, there were very few dates where dinner or the night activities were paid for in cash. Yes, this is over ten years ago, but about 90 percent of my dates were paid for by credit card – except for ESPN Zone (zt”l) or Dave and Busters.
It’s just too much to digest. Added to the fact that he also didn’t want to go out a second time leads me to unfortunately agree with you. He “dined and dashed” and, like you, I don’t understand why. If you were almost finished with the meal and you both arrived on your own, possibly with your own cars, to the restaurant, I don’t know why he couldn’t finish the date and spend another 15-20 minutes with you. Unless you took the subway, and he was expected to accompany you home – there are mentchen out there who do that. But then again, maybe your Romeo didn’t want to ride the rails with you.
Janey, with all you wrote and told me and from what I am leaning to believe, I think you have every right contact him and nicely texting/saying, “Unfortunately things didn’t work out for us. But I want to let you know that I paid $62 to settle the bill. You can Venmo me the money. Hatzlachah to you in the future.” End on an upbeat note so you don’t come off as sounding demanding and angry, although you are. Honey attracts more bees than vinegar. If he is a real mentch, he will send the money. If he doesn’t respond at all, or responds “No,” then you know the answer as to what type of person he is.
I hope you included some of these details to the shadchan, not to make him look bad, just stating facts: “He answered a Hatzalah call towards the end of the date and that’s how we left things.” Maybe the shadchan has heard of him doing this before, or maybe she will speak with him about leaving the radio home for the next date.
But if this is his MO when he’s dating someone he doesn’t “vibe” with, I wonder how many times he has pulled this schtick?
Hatzlachah to you all!