While frugality is a good trait to have in the most expensive city in the world, there are appropriate times and places to save money and a first date shouldn’t be one of them.
According to Lianhe Wanbao, a reader surnamed Wang wrote in to the paper to give his account of a nightmarish blind date where he was scolded for being "ungentlemanly".
On Dec 11 last year, the self-confessed "lonely" 37-year-old man paid $50 to a matchmaking agency in Eunos and was paired with a woman around his age, Wanbao reported.
A few weeks later on Dec 29, the couple met at a restaurant.
Here's how the night unfolded, according to Wang:
On the evening of the date, he arrived at the arranged venue only to realise that it was a Western restaurant. He was shocked by the prices on the menu as it was out of his budget.
He said: "I thought we were meeting for a chat after having our dinners separately. Upon arrival, the lady didn't even introduce herself and immediately flipped open the menu, expecting me to pay. Each item was over $30 and too expensive. Fast food would have been more filling."
Wang, who works as a driver, also described her as having a patronising attitude.
He left the date with the feeling that the woman was working in cahoots with the matchmaking agency to score a free meal.
When contacted by Wanbao for more details, the owner of the matchmaking agency, surnamed Chen, gave her side of the story.
According to Chen, the woman said that Wang kept staring at her during the date and also insisted she pay for her share of the meal. Wang had also found a $15 cocktail too expensive and took out two cans of soft drinks he brought along, offering it to her on the spot.
Deciding that he had "no standard", she scolded him for being "ungentlemanly" before the both of them parted ways.
Conceding that he can be "a little" stingy, Wang countered that she too didn't seem serious in wanting to know him better, and argued that going Dutch should be the norm on first dates.
MATCHMAKING AGENT ONLY INTRODUCED HIM OUT OF GOODWILL
Wang said he initially sought the services of Chen's agency online with the purpose of finding his other half, but found out that the agency's physical location in Eunos had closed.
Despite suspecting that it's an unlicensed business, he went ahead to contact and engage Chen's services anyway, because of the affordable price she offered.
"I did question [her], and she said that although the agency closed down, she was matchmaking people from home because she still had many contacts on hand," Wang told the paper.
When asked about this, Chen told Wanbao that Wang was informed that the business, which had been in operation for two decades, had been closed for nearly three years.
Out of goodwill however, she introduced him to a former female member of the agency but "didn't expect him to be so stingy that he refused to buy her a $15 drink, proclaiming in public that he would not give her a treat".
Furthermore, she alleged that the $50 Wang paid was given voluntarily and she only agreed to find him a partner because he kept asking her for help.
EXPERTS: AVOID MEALTIMES IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TREAT
So is going Dutch on a first date acceptable?
In an interview with Wanbao, a spokesperson from Fei Yue Family Service Centre pointed out that although some women will insist on splitting the bill, it is still the norm in local dating culture for men to pick up the tab.
"If the man is not willing to treat, his female date will view him as having no sincerity. So even if both parties are incompatible, most men will still pay for the entire meal and treat it as a way to see the other person's character," he explained.
His advice for those who want to keep to their budget for a first date? Pick a no-frills location or avoid mealtimes and arrange for drinks or high-tea.
At the same time, females should also show consideration to their dates, said Ling, and not choose the most expensive item on the menu so as to avoid letting the other party feel like they're being taken advantage of.
What do you think? Is going Dutch on a date acceptable? Let us know!