Disclaimer: The opinions within this story are those of the participants and are not necessarily affiliated with In Real Life Malaysia. This story is only edited for grammar, formatting, and imagery. By Sathyashini In dating culture, there\u2019s the stereotype that \u2018men always have to pay on the first date\u2019.\u00a0 In a time where one might think going dutch is the preferred choice, there are still both men and women who believe in this convention. Recently, a man was conned into paying for the meal of a girl he didn\u2019t know \u2014 with the bill amounting to RM460 for one burger. But is it taken advantage of by some?\u00a0 The thing is, I know a few girls who did this, so I asked them: \u201cWhat\u2019s it like to get the men to pay for their meal?\u201d\u00a0 The life of a poor college student It might be hard to believe, but being a college student is not easy. Most of them depend on their allowance from parents to sustain their expenses. Sometimes it\u2019s not enough and they find themselves financially struggling to even afford a meal.\u00a0 Yes there are rich college students. But for those whose families refinanced their houses to afford their children\u2019s education, it\u2019s a different story. \u201cThe solution I come up with is to go on dates with the main objective of a free meal,\u201d says Ching Ee*, 1st year business major (*not her real name). \u00a0\u201cI\u2019d rather look at my food than his face,\u201d quipped Faeeza*, 2nd year in mass communications (*also not her real name). I asked them why they would choose this way of getting a free meal instead of asking for more money from parents. \u201cI\u2019d rather freeload from a stranger than borrow money from friends or families \u2014 I admit it\u2019s ego, but I don't want to\u00a0 admit to people I know that I\u2019m broke.\u201d Ching Ee said.\u00a0 They admit their pride is what makes go on dates with strangers from dating sites. Later, they ghost them because they are embarrassed.\u00a0 Faeeza\u00a0shared one particular date: One time, I went on a date with this guy I met on Tinder. I told him how I fancy Japanese cuisine. So for our date he brought me to this expensive Japanese restaurant in KL. You could tell he was wealthy just by his appearances so when he ordered the food he did not even glance at the prices. The only conversations he could carry was about what car he drives or how much his shoes were. When the date was over and the bill came, it was close to RM 400. I had to act casual and do my signature move where I act like I\u2019m reaching my wallet.\u00a0 He noticed and made me promise a date with him in exchange for him to get the bill which I agreed to and faked excitement. However, the moment I went home, I blocked him.\u00a0 Though I feel bad for making an empty promise to him, thinking about a second date with him just gives me goosebumps.\u00a0 Do they ever feel ashamed about it?\u00a0 \u201cYeah, it depends on the date. Sometimes the men are rude. Like one time, this guy wouldn\u2019t stop texting on his phone throughout the date. So I had no ragrets. He deserved it!\u201d Ching Ee said. Other times, the men are sweet and genuine, and it makes them feel terrible about themselves since they planned to ghost him later that night anyway.\u00a0 Surprisingly, the girls would rather go on dates with men that are ill-mannered just to ease their conscience.\u00a0 \u201cI wish I could tell someone's personality before they swipe right on me so I can avoid the genuine guys, but it\u2019s always a guessing game since you can\u2019t judge a book by its cover,\u201d said Faeeza. Why do some women date men for a free meal? Even though it's embarrassing to them, the girls do have their own justifications for their actions. \u201cAfter all, the man asked me out so doesn\u2019t that mean he should pay? Is he not a gentleman?\u201d asked Faeeza with a cocked eyebrow. The girls share how they don\u2019t really give much input to where they want to eat. \u201cOn a date where I\u2019m already expecting the man to pay, I let him choose where to have the date,\u201d Ching Ee said, \u201cso that he knows he can afford two meals.\u201d They also talk about how most men go on dates with the intentions of a hookup and it\u2019s normalised \u2014 so why is it not socially acceptable for women to go on a date with the intentions of a free meal? Hence, why most women don\u2019t talk about it when they do it. It\u2019s something very common especially with university students but it's just taboo. \u201cIf we talked about this openly, we\u2019d get shamed for it,\u201d Ching Ee explained. \u201cYet when men go on dates for a hookup, it\u2019s seen as something to be proud of. Is this just another double standard?\u201d pointed out Faeeza, again with a shrug. At the end, in spite of knowing your actions are wrong, would they do it again? \u201cYes I would,\u201d they both chorused.\u00a0 Along with Ching Ee and Faeeza, for certain women, it's a survival tactic to keep themselves fed, and for others, it\u2019s a form of light retribution towards certain men who \u201cdeserve it\u201d \u2014 because they do the same thing just with a different intention.\u00a0 What do you think? Is this a manipulative tactic, or is it just another example of \u201call\u2019s fair in love and war\u201d?\u00a0Let us know in the comments! For more stories like this, read: I Spent a Month Using Sugar Daddy Apps, and This Is What I Learned and Dating For Money: What Do Malaysians Think? Have a story you\u2019d like to share with In Real Life Malaysia? Submit your story here.