Fact Check

Man Invoices Date

Man invoices his date for half the cost of dinner?

Published June 17, 2004


Claim:   Man invoices his date for half the cost of dinner.

Status:   Undetermined.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2004]

Just to give you an idea of what dating life is like in June 2004 — This is an email I received from a guy who I went out with ONE TIME from Jdate — No worries, I am definitely sending him a money order — not a check with my home address on it!! Calgon, take me away!!

Subject: Invoice 6/12/04
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 17:15:59 EDT

Dear Dana:

On June 5, you agreed to accept dinner, paid for in full, by me, based on your stated offer that we would go out again. In that you have ignored all overtures to said follow up meeting, you are hereby considered in breach of contract.

To that end, you are being invoiced for 50% of the cost of the dinner, pursuant to the offer. For the record, the offer presented you with the option of not going out again and paying for half of the dinner, or going out again and not paying at all. You accepted these terms, choosing to go out again, as stated above, but have since failed to deliver your end of the agreement. In that this was merely a promise to meet, and not a promise to marry, the agreement is binding under New York law and does not require a written agreement (i.e. statute of frauds).

Furthermore, this is absolutely not a joke.

Your share is 50% of $74.51 which is a total of $37.25. Payment in full is expected within 30 days.

You may remit to:
Andrew Goldberg
720 Greenwich Street, #4d
NY NY 10012

Variations:   Some versions open with the following paragraph:

For you single girls, in case you ever start to think your dating life is bad.... see below. If you're attached already, well you should thank your lucky stars you don't have to be on the receiving end of THIS. As for the guys, well, you can take heart that this guy is part of your competition pool.

Origins:   This missive from a woman who meets a man through JDate (a Jewish singles network), goes on a date with him, and then receives an invoice for half the cost of dinner after supposedly reneging on an agreement to accompany him again began circulating on the Internet in June 2004. We have since been unable to discover whether the message reproduced above reflected someone's real experience, whether it might have

been intended merely as a joke (perhaps the parties involved were members of the legal profession), or whether it was possibly a tall tale cooked up by someone who had reasons for wanting to promote the sending of angry mail and phone calls to the person identified.

However, whatever the origins of the 2004 tale, its scenario was apparently acted out in real life in June 2006. According to the New York Daily News, Darren Sherman, CEO of Regulatory Advisory Services (a private financial consulting firm in New York) and former SEC official, sent a number of e-mails and left several voice messages for 'Joanne,' a woman he'd taken to dinner on 4 June 2006 at China Grill, an upscale Asian eatery on W. 53rd in New York. Apparently, despite saying while on the date that she would agree to a second outing, Joanne did not subsequently contact Darren to set up another meeting, leaving him to feel (as he put it in one of his phone messages) "you took advantage." A few weeks after their evening out, he began pursuing her for payment of $50, an amount he regarded as her fair share of the restaurant bill. Those pursuits have included leaving voice messages threatening to contact her employer about the matter and take her to court, making sure to have a summons to appear served at her place of business.

"You ate the food. You drank the wine. Kindly pay your bill," said Sherman on one of the voice messages he left for Joanne. The frustrated swain also contacted China Grill, asking that his AMEX charge for the evening in question be reduced by $50 and 'Joanne' dunned by the restaurant for that amount. Personnel at China Grill have confirmed to a number of people who have checked with them that yes, the couple did dine there, and that they've subsequently spoken to both parties.

According to JDate, Sherman has been suspended "for behavior that violated the terms and conditions of membership," so date-minded ladies looking for him in that forum should now search elsewhere. Copies of his e-mails and voice messages to Joanne can be found at PR. Differently.

Mr. Sherman might have gained the idea to dun Joanne from a story circulated online in 2004 (quoted in the "Example" block above), which would make his 2006 collection attempt an act of pseudo-ostension, a term meaning "the deliberate re-enactment of an existing legend."

Last updated:   22 July 2006

  Sources Sources:

    Grove, Lloyd.   "E-Romancer's Cash-Anova Complex."

    New York Daily News.   21 July 2006.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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