When I first started dating I never went through that awkward phase where you go to dinner with a guy and you want to impress him so you just order a salad so you look like you're health conscious and you don't want him to spend a lot of money for you. This is for several reasons.
1. I started dating when I was 16 and dates typically consisted of going out with a large group of friends.
2. I never let the guy pay. And by "guy" I mean Jason, because I decided to latch on to the first guy who showed me any attention and marry that sucker. But my point is, I never let him pay*. I was raised to take care of myself and pay my own way through life, and that meant that I firmly believed he had no business paying for my meals, and since I was paying I ordered whatever the hell I wanted.
3. I have the pallet of a 5 year old. Even if I did order the most expensive thing I wanted from the menu, it was typically the $9.99 chicken tenders and fries. Picky eaters may be a pain in the ass, but they're cheap.
So now that I've reached adulthood, I'm struck with this weird dilemma. When I was working for the psycho boss in the company from Hell, the team would often go out to lunch and she would put it onto her purchase card. We'll skip the rant on how I don't think taking the team out to lunch 2 or 3 times a week should be expensed to the company. So anyway, we'd go to lunch at one of the two places available to get lunch in Amish-ville Ohio and everyone would order a salad of some type. Well crap, I don't eat salad. I have a lot of reasons, but the most primary is that I just don't like it. Lettuce isn't very intersting, salad dressing grosses me out because there are texture issues there for me that I don't even want to get into but trust me, it makes me want to gag. I don't eat a ton of veggies, so most of those would go to waste anyway. So, bottom line, I don't like salad. But salad is cheap, which is why girls order it on dates. It's $5 for a pretty decent sized restaurant salad. But here I am, looking at the menu and thinking "I really just want chicken tenders..." and realizing that those chicken tenders are almost twice the price of the salads everyone else is ordering. Shit. Now I have the dilemma of being the person who takes advantage of someone else's generocity by ordering the most expensive thing out of everyone at the table. No one wants to be "that guy". I got through this at the company from Hell by telling myself that I was on travel funding from the company and my lunch would be expensed regardless of who paid, so I might as well order what I want.
Then yesterday two of our vendor reps took my co-worker and I out to lunch, which was SUPER generous of them and again, I love these guys, so it was nice to have the opportunity to sit around and have some interesting conversation for an afternoon. Especially for me, who never takes a lunch break at work. But we got there and everyone was ordering salads. Shit. I ended up ordering grilled chicken skewers, which were relatively inexpensive and adequately lunch portioned so that I wasn't left with a ton of food that I couldn't finish, which is also a dilemma because you don't want to order the more expensive thing and then waste 80% of it. And I almost always waste a ton of whatever I order because I don't eat much. So, I went with that, but it was still $3 more than what everyone else ordered. And I still sat there wondering if I was "that guy". I really don't want to be "that guy".
Hell, even at my cousin's wedding when we were told repeatedly to order literally whatever we wanted because in the words of her new husband "We have a minimum tab we're required to hit here people. Order up!" I still was seriously afraid of being "that guy". I ended up ordering the most expensive thing on the menu. And by "I", I mean I mentioned that it sounded like it would be good and my cousin's husband ordered for me and then looked at me and said "Hello! Minimum tab!" But still, I felt bad. Well, I sort of felt bad, since everyone else was ordering the same thing, or ordering pricy entrees and then adding lobster tails to them. So I guess the risk of me being "that guy" was lower. Plus the restaurant had my favorite wine, which I'd already gone through two glasses of, so my judgement might have been altered.
I think my point here is that I either need to learn to like salad, which I don't think is going to happen, or I just need to not let people buy me lunch anymore. I mean, I already have guilt from letting someone spend money on me in the first place, and then I have to worry about ordering anything other than a salad and it just becomes stressful. I am not accustomed to letting people buy me things, even if it is just lunch. Or maybe we just need to pick lunch places that don't serve salad. GENIUS!
*Disclaimer: My refusal to allow Jason to ever pay for my meals in no way reflects upon his chivalry as he constantly tried to pay for me on dates and I constantly refused to let him. In fact, the first time he ever paid for my dinner somewhere, he tricked me into it because I lost a bet. I'm just a stubborn cow. Well...not a cow, because cows eat grass, which is like salad and I don't eat salad. I'm a stubborn something else.