Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon: April 16, 2014

By Holly Phillips

We were sitting across from each other at Bin 77, with a candle and two drinks between us. It was our first date, and things were going as well as they could be.

That is, until he started to talk about his budget, and then the stock market.

Money gives me anxiety. I do what I need to do to make sure my finances are in order, but beyond that, my lips are zipped on money matters.

He went on, talking about saving money for this and that, and being stressed over having to get a new car someday, and the resale value of his New Orleans’ home.

I ordered another vodka and felt like I should’ve paid for it.

As my friend said, “Pretty much everyone under the age of 40 is on some kind of budget.”

But this guy had broken one of the basic rules in dating: Don’t talk about money. Or politics. Or religion – Don’t worry; those came up later.

I’m not huge on following rules, and ultimately if someone is passionate about discussing the trifecta of evil on a first date, then I’m sure there is someone out there willing to listen.

I’ve been on dates where those topics have come up, and it was fine, because we agreed, for the most part. (Republicans are ruthless).

After two drinks, we called it a night, I went in for the hug, he went in for a kiss—a long, awkward kiss, right there, in the street.

Upon parting ways, he sent me a text about the kiss, and wanted to know when he could see me again.

While I wasn’t sure the spark was there, I felt this guy deserved more of a chance than two Stoli-and-sodas could offer. So we agreed on a second date at an LSU baseball game.

But in the week between the drinks and the game, I heard more about his budget.

“Buttered toast and a yogurt, budget breakfast,” he texted me on a Sunday morning, as I was getting ready to go to brunch.

It was awkward for many reasons.

For one, I wasn’t sure why he was telling me his meal plan, and two, I didn’t know what to say. If he really wanted to talk budgeting with me, I’d suggest eliminating the yogurt from the breakfast, as an egg is more finance-friendly. Yogurts are, like, $1 each.

But instead, I felt guilty for my future indulgence in overpriced champagne and hollandaise. And then, I just got angry that a person I barely knew was making me feel guilty for spending my own (hard-earned, if I do say) money.

“You’re really big on that budget,” I replied, which was rude, I’ll admit.

Even then, though, he still didn’t get my point, and I eventually cancelled our baseball outing—I’ll happily buy my own $4 hotdog, thank you.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate a man with a plan, or a budget, for that matter. I’m on my own financial plan, too. But instead of forcing my money woes on those around me, I catch deals at the grocery store and am not afraid to get thrifty on the fun stuff.

I don’t have money in the stock market, but I think splurging on a fine meal or a unique experience is worth it. I’m not looking for a sugar daddy, but I also don’t need my boyfriend to nickel-and-dime me when I’m getting a La Croix (non-budget beverage) out of my fridge.

Money matters came up in a previous relationship I had, and the guy wanted to compare salaries. While he told me he made less than me each year, he was constantly treating me to dinners and drinks, even after I offered to pay or suggested staying in.

It didn’t add up to me, but our relationship wasn’t at a point where I felt I should meddle. Then, he was fired from his job for stealing funds.

I’m still no financial advisor, and I’m not opposed to dating one, but maybe I do know a little something about the price of eggs.

Read more about costly relationships on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.



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