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POLL RESULTS: Leftover resentment: (30 comments)
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POLL: Leftover resentment

Friday, January 22, 2010 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes... Q: I went on a date with a man back in December who took me to a nice restaurant. Afterward, he told me he had a problem with the fact that I'd taken a doggie bag of leftovers home with me. The guy told me he doesn't like it when women do this, because it makes him feel as if they are more interested in the meal than the date. That really bothered me. In fact, I'm still baffled. Is it tacky for someone to take a doggie bag home on a first date?

POLL: Is it bad form to take a doggy bag home after a dinner date?
 
19% (363) Yes. It's tacky
 
80% (1495) No, it's perfectly acceptable
1858 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
Gadfly
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 12:08 AM (#51486)

That really makes no sense. First, why waste the food? Second, shouldn't a man like it if a woman eats moderate portions? Third, taking food home should be a sign you're more interested in him than the food. My wife and I barely touched our food on our first date because we were so excited. We left with two boxes of food that we dropped getting out of the car because we were so giddy with each other.


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BenPaddon
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 01:07 AM (#51495)

This sounds like the frozen-over top of a lake full of crazy. If not crazy, then certainly bizarre oddity.


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DanialArin
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 01:26 AM (#51497)

Except in L.A. (where restaurants catering to "health kicks" serve tiny portions at huge prices), many better restaurants will generally serve large portions. Unless you're ordering appetizer portions, there will be leftovers. How much is a function of, believe it or not, the "Dining Philosophers Problem" [wikipedia.org].

What does dating have to do with a classical Computer Science scheduling problem? Oddly enough, in this case, everything. The idea behind the problem is that the philosophers have to divide their time between eating and talking. (And also, since they're using chopsticks, if one of them is eating, his/her neighbors can't eat, so they talk.)

Basically, the more time you spend talking, the less you spend eating. As Gadfly said, if you're really in sync, you won't get much eating in. Also, if you end up both going back to the same person's place, and you both have leftovers, that's one more meal for which neither of you have to get dressed to go out or answer the door.

Besides, if you leave a lot of food on the plate, and don't take it with you, the wait staff and cook may become concerned that there's something wrong with the food, when the real reason is that there's something right with your dining companion.

I can see this particular guy's perspective; he may be thinking that you're just using the date for a couple of free meals. But if that's the case, he should be taking you to a (typical L.A.) "health food" place that serves smaller portions. Even if you're skinnier than an anorexic supermodel.


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AdviceIncorporated
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 01:29 AM (#51498)

I have read that it's considered improper/tacky to take leftovers home from first dates, or dates in general. However, I feel that anyone who believes wasting food is good form requires a trip in the tumble dryer with a bucket of mixed paints. A date is more than simply talk; personally, I'd be more offended if my date let half a plate go in the trash.


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DanialArin
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 01:30 AM (#51499)
In Response to DanialArin (#51497):

But if that's his mindset, since that's obviously not your mindset, then you should move on. Your values and his appear to be a little too different on a fairly key point if the relationship were to go anywhere past casual.


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chrischris
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 03:20 AM (#51510)

I find myself siding with the guy...

It must depend of places, but where I come from, doggies bags are very rare: People who eat little order smaller dishes, also because restaurant food is way more expensive than home-made food, so you would be pretty stupid to order too much and take it home.

As a result, doggie bags are considered as inelegant, and fancy restaurants would likely refuse to give any. You would certainly not ask for one if you are trying to impress... like, say, on a date.


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Azerik
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 03:24 AM (#51511)

In general I don't think it's tacky. Maybe, just maybe mind you, on the first date it might be skirting the edge.

Really it serves as a good compatibility test. It makes the statement that you are a practical person at the very least and possibly a statement about his taste in restaurants. The food was obviously good enough that you are taking it home with you, that means he picked someplace you like.

In this particular instance I would be very concerned about what this says about his underlying personality. If he is this fussy about a doggie bag, what is he going to do the first time an embarrassing gaseous emission occurs? What about if you put the toilet paper roll on "backward" or ball your socks instead of folding them? If he is going this nuclear over a doggie bag then I agree that it is the frozen surface of a very deep lake of crazy.


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joyfulflyer
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 04:13 AM (#51516)

No No No No No!
It may be that I come from a culture where people very, very rarely request doggy bags but, in general, I consider it to be poor manners to request a doggy bag, especially on a first date. I'm not talking about a deal breaker (in the US I generally find it to be common to request doggy bags after a meal) but I usually expect to eat my fill and leave the rest. Perhaps I have been brought up to expect that people eat their fill, no more, and finish, not that they want to eat more later, but a doggy bag (at all) seems tacky to me, especially if there is a planned activity after dinner.
I have been on wonderful first dates where my partner has requested a doggy bag and, especially if I am smitten, not even noticed, but I would not even have noticed if they had not requested a doggy bag. To me, the default option is no doggy bag - I don't even notice - a doggy bag is (in general) not a bad thing, but I believe that you should just let it be. He or she is less likely to notice *not* taking a doggy bag than requesting one.


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Murgatroyd
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 05:33 AM (#51524)

People who want to get worked up over something will always find a reason.

Consider: The woman didn't finish her meal and she asked for a doggy bag, so the guy got upset. But on the other hand, if she hadn't asked for a doggy bag, he might just as easily have become upset over the fact that she was letting all that food that he'd paid for go to waste.

On the third hand, why didn't she finish the meal? Did she deliberately over-order, knowing that he would pay and she'd get a second free meal out of the deal? In that case, the guy would have a right to feel used.

I recall that when I was in college and not blessed with an overabundance of the local medium of exchange, it did annoy me on a couple of occasions when my dates ordered the most expensive items on the menu and then barely touched their meals. No doggy bags were involved, so the food -- and my money -- went to waste. Surprise! Both girls turned out to be quite self-centered.


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CasualNotice
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 08:28 AM (#51541)

I can see his side, if only because ordering a doggy bag is sort of a signal that the date is over as soon as you leave the restaurant. No one wants to be burdened with a bag (or, more probably, styrofoam box) of food when they intend to spend more of the evening enjoying themselves and their date's company.

On the other hand, I come from a big family, and I never waste food if I can avoid it, so it would never occur to me that ordering a doggie bag meant anything other than that my date enjoyed her meal.

I think this is one of those situations where customs and mores vary so wildly that it's something you need to discuss. If he's honest with why he feels it's tacky, one should feel obliged to honestly express why asking for the doggie bag was necessary and natural. Hopefully, if no voices are raised, a reasonable middle can be reached.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 09:16 AM (#51545)

I have to agree with Mr. December. No doggie bags on a first date.

The funny thing about rules of etiquette is that they're different for people of different backgrounds. But, the one thing that Murg touched on is that you and your date are watching for signs, especially on the first date. It's so easy to offend someone who's putting themselves out there just as you are. And, we all do it. We look and we offend.

Many people, these days, don't feel the same stigmas from the 50's and 60's. Proportionately, many people aren't so interested in whether or not they offend their date. When there are so many more people available to date, what's one bad opinion, right?

It's all about being considerate of the other person.

If they are paying (and you're not putting out overt signs of interest), it does look like the only reason for going out was to snag a free meal or two. Show that you're not just a user by either ordering smaller, or paying less attention to the food. The reason being: if it's a good date, shouldn't you not notice that your meal was taken away before you were finished?

If you're paying, what does taking a doggie bag say about you? Are you displaying strength and/or financial stability? (Don't balk. The aggressive one is raised to provide/impress. And the submissive/passive one is raised to seek a provider or, someone who isn't dependent upon their income.) And, are you expecting to end the date right after dinner? And/or do you prefer to eat your nice dinner without the company of your date?

I'd suggest holding off on the doggie bags until you've dated a person long enough for them to know how you live. Or, at least until they know how you feel about them.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 09:22 AM (#51547)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#51524):

-"my dates ordered the most expensive items on the menu and then barely touched their meals. No doggy bags were involved,"-

Not to be a bastard...

Some might consider that a green light, or a test. And, showing annoyance could be a turn off. Looking back, could that possibility alter your perception?


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NunyaBidness
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 09:53 AM (#51550)

I know it was considered tacky in Europe some years ago, but this is America, where wasting the food is tacky, and not finishing is also tacky. A "to go box," (Let's not lie and pretend the salad is going to a dog) is perfectly acceptable.

I don't understand his point, but, for the sake of argument, let's accept it. This guy saw fit to lecture his new date on manners? This works both ways. If manners are that important to him, he should demonstrate some himself.


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Archknave
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 11:18 AM (#51559)

I think the poll results reflect a reasonable understanding of what people might THINK TO THEMSELVES about this issue.

However, the fact that the guy felt strongly enough about this very minor issue to express his feelings in the way he did is a big red flag.

Beware of a personality that may be controlling, nitpicky, and that may frequently overreact on minor issues. Not worth a second date in my book.


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vorlonagent
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 01:52 PM (#51573)
In Response to Archknave (#51559):

For this to come up on the first date, suggests some insecurity on the part of the guy. Maybe hes had a lot of first dates and no second dates?

Maybe he is hyper-examining every move she makes for a sign this will be another "no-second-date" date?

Getting a doggy bag is trivial.
Getting a doggy bag is nothing.

How was the frigging *date*?

Forget First Date Protocal. That's not where this came from with this guy. he just told you he was insecure and has felt used in the past. That's all.

The fact that Our Girl went on a date with the guy in December and is still confused about his behaviour now strongly suggests she's another no-second-date.

So how was the date? Did he seem nice? Consider--consider, mind you--calling him up. Base that choice on how he acted the rest of the time and how you can expect his insecurity to manifest. We are none of us perfect and we're all a little messed up somewhere, after all.

If the balance of the date leaves Our Girl with the impression that he's controlling or otherwise toxic, let him go. If he doesn't seem that way, maybe give him a second look.


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meiji
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 05:33 PM (#51594)

I think it has a lot to do with what was ordered etc. If you got more food that he did and are taking most of it home it may feel like you were getting him to pay for your food rather than having dinner with him. I mean its one thing to just eat less but not if its out of proportion or such.


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Mutt
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 07:18 PM (#51601)

My dad had to spend much of his teenage and early adult life choosing between food, rent, and gas. To waste food would have earned me a grounding.

To my own and all the other not-jerk families I have been friends with, it is considered beating-worthy to waste good food. Leaving a decent amount of good food is like leaving two pennies and a middle finger to the staff to our local.
Only if it is summer and there is a lot to be done afterwards do we thank the staff and apologize for not taking it home.
If carrying it around is a problem, many of those reusable bags fit nice in one's purse or pocket, and can easily be used to disguise the food being carried.

It might be a location thing, but to be perfectly honest, round here they don't expect y'all to finish your food, so they give you plenty to bring home too (which includes adding more sometimes when they get you the to-go box). And going to someone's house, if they've made enough, they might push it on you to bring some more home too.


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StormFire
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 10:18 PM (#51603)

This is very much a cultural variance thing, and I'm curious where the people who think it's tacky live (or were raised).

In all of the regions of North America where I have lived, a typical restaurant meal is far larger than the average person can eat comfortably. My usual solution is to split a meal with my companion, but that is not something I'd want to try to negotiate on a first date.

And in December? A carry-out box doesn't mean the date is over. Depending on the weather, your car might well be colder than a refrigerator, and if the weather is warmer, then after the movie/club/whatever, a moonlight picnic in the park of the leftovers is a lovely end to the evening.

Now we come to the real question. Are you still pondering this simply because it confused you, or because the date was otherwise good and this one final note baffles you? Compromising and learning to accept another person's foibles/quirks/cultural relics is key, but it has to be a 2-way street. If he expects you to conform to his culture, to the curb with him - or if that was his way of saying no second date, good riddance. Those would be signs of someone who isn't capable of the compromise and communication needed for a real relationship.


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Nylter
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Easy way to deal with this (Score: 1)
posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 10:39 PM (#51604)

Say something along the lines of, "Oh, look! We got to talking, and I didn't finish up." And then there's the line "well, now I'll definitely have a reminder of how wonderful the evening went." Several ways to defuse the situation.

But I'm with the posters who say that the guy's reaction is a red flag for the girl. While he may consider her taking a doggie bag home as a red flag--as is his right-- him feeling the need to say something about such a minor thing is a danger sign. He might be controlling, or he might be too easily upset, or he might have several other quick triggers that will manifest themselves in other ways.

Honestly, write this guy off, and the next time, order a half portion or ask the guy outright if he has a problem with doggie bags.


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spzeidler
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 11:25 AM (#51607)
In Response to StormFire (#51603):

I'm in Germany, and restaurants don't serve more than an average person would eat. When you're unusually hungry you'd get soup or a starter course (or and), and dessert after, if you're not, you'd not. I'm not sure most restaurants would even be prepared to have something to put food in for you to take home.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 12:05 PM (#51610)

I'm a bit perplexed by those who keep saying, "here, in North America".

Not speaking for such a vast region; from my own observations, the rules of etiquette are usually determined by social class, not geography. And, most North Americans (as determined by the Census Bureau) fall in the lower or lower-middle class. Especially if that person attends/attended public school. I'd like to hear from private school-ers on their observations. (And, I don't mean Catholic school, either. That's a whole other topic.)

I think Mr. December's only real mistake was discussing rules of etiquette on this, or any, date. It definitely says, "no second date."


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reynoldsrap
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 04:40 PM (#51625)

I honestly can't see how anyone says it's tacky. I would have no issue at all with a woman I'm on a date with taking home a meal if she can't eat it all. Sometimes, you're just not as hungry as you thought you were. Just because we're on a date doesn't mean that you should have to live up to a ridiculous protocol that really makes no logical sense.

And since when was this even a rule? Absolutely ridiculous. That guy's way beneath you, reader.


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Murgatroyd
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 04:16 AM (#51661)

-"my dates ordered the most expensive items on the menu and then barely touched their meals. No doggy bags were involved,"-

Not to be a bastard...

Oh, go ahead Jes! ;^)

Some might consider that a green light, or a test. And, showing annoyance could be a turn off. Looking back, could that possibility alter your perception?

Nope, because I made a point of not showing any annoyance while on the dates. (Not while the possibility of nookie was at stake!) But I didn't ask either girl out again, due more to their personalities than anything else. Leaving a platefull of expensive food behind was just one symptom of the larger problem -- they were unpleasantly self-centered. Very attractive, though, which may be relevant. Some physically attractive people can get away with being shallow and spoiled.

One thing that's ambiguous about Ms. Leftovers' letter: Did he volunteer the information that he didn't approve of her taking home the food, or did she ask him why he didn't ask her out on a second date?

We really don't have enough information about either of them to make a definitive judgment. Perhaps he's obsessive and controlling, or perhaps she gave him good reason to feel used. Or perhaps they simply had individual styles that were incompatible.


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Wbird
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 11:21 AM (#51683)
In Response to StormFire (#51603):

I live in Canada and the meal portions are not so large that people need to take any home.
I have to agree with Jes that it is odd that people keep referring to North America as a single cultural unit. There is another Country on the continent with a different culture that has different rules on etiquette.

I think that the guy making a comment about taking a doggie bag home could be an indicator of how the rest of the date went. It does not come across as a deal breaker and if I really liked the person it could be something that I would overlook. If I did not see another date in the future then maybe I would not care and then would speak my mind regardless of how trivial.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Leftover resentment (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 11:38 AM (#51684)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#51661):

Thanks for the feedback, Murg. (And thank you... for lettin' me... Be Myself, again!)

-"Nope, because I made a point of not showing any annoyance while on the dates."-

That's what Mr. December should have done.

As for your point: I read Ms. Leftovers' letter to believe that he brought it up at the end of the date, either on the way home or at her door. But, that's just the impression that I get.

-"We really don't have enough information about either of them to make a definitive judgment. Perhaps he's obsessive and controlling, or perhaps she gave him good reason to feel used. Or perhaps they simply had individual styles that were incompatible."-

I think this whole discussion isn't about right or wrong. But, as your last sentence hits it; it's about right or wrong for "you". Like you're story illustrates, you found out just what you needed to know about your date. And, it didn't have to go any further.


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