Entertaining & Etiquette

first-date, gender etiquette question


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Entertaining & Etiquette

first-date, gender etiquette question

buttermarblepopcorn | | Aug 18, 2011 06:38 PM

I hope this is the right board on which to post this question. And I apologize in advance for its rambling nature.

Recently I went on an online-dating-match first date. I am female, my date was male, and we're in our 30s. We had dinner at a nice but casual place. As we perused the menus, he asked what I was getting, and I said I wasn't sure yet (I'm incredibly indecisive). As is typical in this kind of dining banter, I then asked if he had decided, and he said yes and mentioned something about salmon.

It took me a bit longer, but I finally decided on one of their quiche selections. Happy about finally, FINALLY, coming to a decision, I announced "I think I'm getting the quiche!"

So I flag the waitress down and she comes over to take our orders. To be courteous, I always, regardless of whom I'm dining with, give the other person (or people) a chance to say their order first. I just don't like jumping in and hogging things and saying I'LL HAVE THIS! I don't know, it's just a general thing I do, where I purposely hesitate before doing or saying something for myself when others are also involved. The bottom line is I'm trying to be polite to my dining companions, whoever they may be.

So my date immediately jumps in and says "She'll have the quiche, and I'll have the salmon." And I was immediately... what exactly is the best way to describe how I felt? I think I was really quite taken aback by that. I hate to admit this -- please don't judge me, this was simply my emotional reaction that I could not control -- but I felt a bit ticked off that he'd decided to order for me.

It wasn't SO HORRIBLE that I showed any reaction, mind you. It was just a tiny, internal, mental, millisecond-long reaction I had that was easily swept under the rug. No big deal in the grand scheme of things, especially since he turned out to be a really decent guy.

But in that moment of purposeful hesitation, where I looked briefly at my date to allow him the chance to put in his order (or pass it back to me and let me order first), he completely took it the wrong way.

So ANYWAY, my question for this post is, why did he do this? The rest of the date went fine, and he never showed any other weird (to me) behaviors that were even remotely annoying. So days later, I find myself trying to brainstorm the many reasons and/or justifications for why someone would do this. What was he thinking when he chose to order for me?

OH -- also, the gallant-ordering-for-hislady act backfired slightly because when I'd mentioned I'd get "the quiche," it was obviously not intended as directions for what he would tell the waitress, it was just to be conversational and finally answer his question. And the menu had more than one quiche selection. So when the waitress hesitated after he said "She'll have the quiche," I had to quickly pipe in and say "quiche Lorraine." So if he thought he was saving me the trouble of ordering, he failed. That actually exacerbated the weird feeling I had about this whole thing; he couldn't even do whatever he intended to do correctly.

Anyway, any ideas on why he would do this and how he thought I would have received this gesture? I'm not very schooled in traditional American dining etiquette (I'm American, born and raised, but by immigrant Asian parents), so I don't know if this falls into that category or not -- though even if it did, it puzzles me as to why this guy did it because he seems otherwise to be a very "enlightened" modern guy, for lack of a better way to stereotype.

Thanks for reading this far and any brainstorming ideas you may have!

p.s. He also failed in the joyfully blasé ordering of his own food, as it turns out they didn't just have one salmon dish, so he had to turn back to the menu and look for the specific one he wanted. So it really was ordering failure times two, but I was more bothered that he assumed he could order for me.

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