We’ve all been on a date we’d rather not be on.
You sit there as your opposing courter goes on and you think “why am I missing The Leftovers for this?” You get to the bill and it’s crazy expensive because you/they were trying to impress you with a “bougie” location even though all the Google reviews say it’s crap and you spent far too much on drinks because you needed something to keep the banter – that was barely there anyway – alive.
Even splitting the check makes little difference to the damage done to your bank account, and God help you if they “forget their card”. The point is; dating is hard, awkward dinner dates can be the worst, but what’s totally unacceptable in my opinion is dining and dashing, date or no date. Someone in Los Angeles apparently didn’t get the memo.
Women in California are being warned about a so-called ‘dine and dash’ dater who orders expensive meals, then leaves them to foot the bill. The man, who usually goes by the name Paul Gonzales (but who knows what his real name is), attracts women online using apps such as Bumble.
Victims have been talking to various publications. “He was good looking… right away I think, why did he choose me?” said his latest victim, who asked not to be named. They arranged to meet at Smitty’s Bar and Grill in Pasadena, Los Angeles.
“He ordered a salad with shrimp, a filet mignon, yes, he went all out,” the woman said. But while eating their main course, Paul mentioned that he was feeling worried about a “sick aunt”.
“All of a sudden he’s all, ‘Oh, my phone’s dying and I’m waiting on the call from my mom about my aunt. I’m going to go to the car to get my charger’.”
Paul went out and never came back, leaving the woman to pick up the $130 bill. The anonymous victim says she paid in full because she was too embarrassed to admit to restaurant staff what had happened. It later turned out that there was a series of women with similar stories.
Last year, Gonzales met a woman for a first, blind date at another restaurant in Pasadena called BJ’s. The victim said he ordered “a glass of pinot, a Caesar salad with a side of shrimp, a steak and a baked potato”. After finishing his meal, he got up and claimed he needed to make a phone call, never coming back.
After a while, when she was approached by the waiter, the woman said: “The waiter came back and said ‘He’s not out there. Is this a first date?’ And I said: ‘Yes, this is a first blind date, and he said, ‘He’s gone.'” On that occasion, the restaurant kindly agreed to only charge the victim for Paul’s glass of wine, not his meal.
In another non-dating incident, he got an expensive haircut and ditched out of the salon without paying – still wearing a gown. Police said Gonzales, 44, has a number of convictions for petty crimes, and currently has two warrants out for his arrest. His face is out there, so it shouldn’t take long to hunt him down.