Picking the cheapest thing on the menu when out on a date — is it an act of consideration or derision?
Many of us may think being considerate to our partners would mean making more frugal choices when dining out, especially if it's on their dime.
One man in Malaysia however, thought the worst of his girlfriend when she picked the cheapest item on the menu.
The online "confession" was first published on Facebook page UTAR (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman) Confessions 2017/2018 on Sept 13, but has recently gone viral.
In the anonymous post, the man wrote about an incident while dining out with his girlfriend and his friends which left him fuming and "humiliated".
Made him feel 'sia suay'
Right off the bat, the user prefaced his "confession" by stating that his girlfriend is "not someone who knows about etiquette and protocol".
As such, her behaviour makes him feel humiliated and "lose face" in front of his friends, using a colloquial term in Chinese to describe the feeling of being ashamed or embarrassed.
He also complained that she'd look like she's about to cry whenever he tells her not to "behave that way", which results in him looking like a bully and feeling "very frustrated."
Recounting a recent incident, the anonymous poster wrote that with dine-in restrictions lifted for vaccinated individuals in Malaysia, he decided to go out for dinner with his group of friends and their girlfriends.
"I brought my girlfriend so that she can get to know my friends," he wrote, adding that the group met in a mall and settled on a restaurant that serves Western food.
He added: "We were discussing what to order and my girlfriend said she wanted to order the fish and chips. My friend who'd been to the restaurant before warned that the fish and chips was not nice as the quality of the fish they used wasn't good. He recommended the short ribs instead."
His girlfriend then replied that "it's too expensive", which immediately ruffled her boyfriend's feathers.
"I felt annoyed. Do you mean I can't afford to pay for a dish that costs slightly over RM60 (S$19.50)? I've been working for a year, I can occasionally splurge on good food if I want to."
The man said that he managed to keep his anger in check, but felt embarrassed when his friends and their girlfriends "all turned to look at us" when they heard his girlfriend's response.
"You know how humiliated I felt?", he wrote, adding that her actions "made him feel sia suay (disgraced)".
"I helped her out by explaining that she doesn't really eat beef," said the man, who encouraged his girlfriend to pick anything on the menu that she wanted to try.
Making him look like a miser
However when he looked at the menu, the man understood why his girlfriend insisted on choosing the fish and chips.
"It's the cheapest item at over RM20," he said, complaining about her usual "pattern" of being "afraid to waste money".
He also recounted feeling "paiseh" when his friend turned to him halfway through the meal to ask if his girlfriend still ordered the fish and chips. Taking a bite of her fish, he commented that it was "tasteless and seemed more like food for dogs".
He also complained that his girlfriend's behaviour made him appear to be a miser in front of his friends, and that he couldn't afford to let her eat whatever she wanted.
On the way back home, the man brought up the incident at dinner to "teach her a lesson" and told her that even if she had an opinion, she should "find another way to express it".
He wrote that the girlfriend got upset and "looked like she was about to cry".
He added that this is not the first time this has happened, but reasoned that his girlfriend's frugal mindset is due to her coming from a poor family.
As a parting shot, he stated that if she doesn't adapt to his ways, "it'll be hard for us to get along".
'You don't deserve her'
As expected, netizens tore into the man for his views, slamming him for being ungrateful and undeserving of such an understanding girlfriend.
In a comment that was echoed by many, one user wrote: "Let her go, you don't deserve her."
Said another: "Wait till she orders A5 wagyu beef, see if you are still able to afford it… For her sake please break up with her, she deserves better!"
In what we hope to be a stab at sarcasm, one user joked: "You are considered benevolent to offer her fish and chips. I used to ask my girlfriend to go and fish by the river before digging in the garden for potatoes to eat. Let her off, she doesn't deserve you."
Another commenter wrote: "I can only tell you that many others would want a girl like that. If you don't then let go, don't waste her time."