So, let’s talk about men paying on dates . . .

This topic has generated a lot of debate in the reply section of this post, so I thought I’d throw it out there in a blog. I’m sure it’s been beaten like a dead horse all over the internet. What’s another dead beaten horse, right?

My thoughts?

As one commenter said, it’s 2012 not 1952. I probably make just as much as if not more than many of the men I meet. I can afford my own coffee, drink, or meal. I can also take on and off my own coat and open doors all by myself. In addition, I can change a tire (so what if I call AAA!), hammer a picture hanger into the wall, and negotiate a car sale.

Again, it’s 2012 and not 1952, but I’m still not going to straddle my hot date and grope his junk or tell him all about my awesome blow-job abilities. I’m not going to take him home and fuck his brains out and then expect to ever hear from him again. I’m not going to emasculate him in any way by showing him up with my finances or successes. It’s 2012, yet if I chase or pursue a man, I’m going to be deemed desperate or psycho and he’s going to quickly lose interest in me, if he was ever intersted at all.

I know I can do anything for myself, and I’m assuming the guy does as well, but the men I want in my life feel good about me allowing him to do it for me even though I am perfectly capable. He doesn’t have to but he wants to because it makes him feel good. The men I like also appreciate the femininity of a woman. To be honest, I sometimes struggle with this because I am independent and often femininity is a sign of weakness (in business, for example). But, I do try and it takes a lot of work. 

At the very least, I want someone who offers. I may or may not accept, it depends on the situation. In the event that I’m meeting someone at a coffee shop and I am running late or he is very early, I do not expect him to wait for me (it’s really nice if he waits, however, and it is noticed), but I do expect him to offer to purchase my coffee. At this point, unless he is already standing up and walking to the counter with me, I tell him no thanks and get my beverage on my own. Often, if someone beats me to the location they will call or text and let me know they have arrived and then offer to get something for me. If someone asks me out, I expect him to pay. If I am dating someone and I tell him I want to take him to some awesome place for dinner, I will pay (or offer to). Obviously, if it’s a celebration (his birthday, a promotion, etc.) I will pay then as well.

I’ve never had a situation where the man did not pay my way and no, I did not have to twist any arms. The occasional first-date/meeting coffee, sure, a couple times (OK, there were three times total that a first meeting did not purchase my coffee and once when I bought frozen yogurt because my date drove quite a ways to meet me and I drove a mile and it was all because of my crazy schedule at the time — the only one that made it to first date territory was the latter). But never has a real date or meal even been negotiated.

My friends who go out with men who don’t pay are perpetually single. They are the types of women who accept DVDs on the sofa as a date. They get the pump and dump a lot. The men they go out with are quite a bit younger and are not successful — lazy turds. Or, they are successful and young, but they are douchebags who end up doing really shitty things in the end. In other words, they are not relationship material and usually have nothing going for them but their looks. Point being, always an issue or drama involved with these guys.

I’ve had a lot of first dates. I’ve dated a lot of men. I’ve had some bad luck and some good luck. But, I’ve never, ever gone out with someone younger than me (well, once, but he was only a year younger and a tenured professor — so he was old for his age). I’ve never gone out with a loser. I’ve never gone out with a real douchebag (mild douchebags, sure, but nothing like I’ve seen my friends go out with). I’ve never gone out with a gym-rat in love with his own reflection. I’ve never gone out with a total cheapskate — rich or poor. I’ve never gone out with a mysogynist. And, I’ve never paid for a date. Coinsidence?

Then there is the part about how men pay and women just show up. Sorry, but women don’t just show up. We have to “get ready” which is not only labor-intensive, but expensive. While men go bald, get wrinkles, and let their bellies grow when they turn 40, we are busting our asses at the gym, giving up cookies and bread, and paying thousands of dollars each year to look younger and better. We’re not really doing it for ourselves or for other women, we are doing it to attract or keep men. On top of that, we know men love to have their egos stroked so we smile and tell them that their dicks are amazing when they are not, that their wrinkles and gray hair make them look distinguished and not old, and that their belly really isn’t that big. And, we hope that when they finally make it in the business world, they won’t dump us for someone younger.

Yeah, sometimes I’ll go out with someone and afterward say, “Well, at least I got a free meal out of it!” Really, it’s a joke. And frankly, the only time I say that is when I end up going out with a man who blatantly lied about his appearance or age or who ended up being kind-of a jerk, or who was such a disappointment that it was the only thing I could say to not make me feel bad about the whole waste of a night. Frankly, I’d rather buy my own meal, eat alone, and enjoy the company of myself and my dog.

Your thoughts?

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23 thoughts on “So, let’s talk about men paying on dates . . .

  1. “It’s 2012, yet if I chase or pursue a man, I’m going to be deemed desperate or psycho and he’s going to quickly lose interest in me, if he was ever intersted at all.”

    But why would you care about the opinion of someone that believes you are desperate because you chose to be the pursuer instead of letting the man do the pursuing? Traditions are not set in stone. They are made to be evaluated and re-evaluated as time and society changes. And society IS changing. I think we are going through some very real growing pains right now in terms of gender roles and how that impacts dating/courtship. It’s scary to not have a “script” to work with.

    I don’t really think it matters who did the pursuing, when the sex happened, who paid for what. If something is going to work out, if two people are really into each other and form a connection, none of these things is going to derail it.

    • I know that there are these traditions and all that, but I think that we are wired a certain way. A woman will usually get turned off by a man who does not have masculine traits. A man is wired to chase a little. Etc., etc., etc. We try to buck those trends, but they are ingrained in us. So, while I don’t care about the opinion, per se, if I am in a situation where I am getting to know a guy and start pursuing, I know that he’s going to most likely be turned off.

      “I don’t really think it matters who did the pursuing, when the sex happened, who paid for what. If something is going to work out, if two people are really into each other and form a connection, none of these things is going to derail it.”

      I completely agree that no matter how things come about, when you have really strong chemistry with someone none of this matters. However, in my experience, really strong chemistry equals amazing sex, six months of sick-to-your-stomach being in love, and then one big disappointment when you realize that your values do not align and that he’s not the one for you. I’m looking for something else this time around though.

      • People place entirely too much faith in the idea that we “are wired” in certain ways. What I find laughable is that women spent a good century and a half rightly breaking down the notions that women were “wired” in biologically determined ways that made them “weaker” than men in all categories. However, what I see now are countless women (and men) returning to the same kind of talk, with a different spin. It’s nonsense. Sure, there are differences, but not nearly as much as the evolutionary psychologists and others make out to be.

    • I have to agree with Nathan here. I think the whole evolutionary psychology thing, the notion that men and women are “wired” in a certain way is just an excuse we use to justify behaving in certain ways. We don’t take into account the role that social conditioning and tradition has in why we act certain ways and accept that things are just gonna keep on being the way they are.

      And are we not human beings capable or rational, thought? Are we not capable of changing or breaking traditions when we find that those traditions are no longer valid or are even harmful to society? We have done this through the ages!

      • Well, we can call it a tradition if that’s what people want. (I don’t necessarily agree that’s all it is.)

        If we call it a tradition, it’s similar to saying that one of the values I want in a man is that he upholds the tradition of chivalry. Then it becomes a preference. So, my preference is a guy who opens my door, walks me to my car, pays for our dates, makes the first move, and asks me out on dates.

        Why? Because I like it. It makes me feel good.

        Nothing wrong with that. : )

      • And what happens when those preferences lead us to dead ends? I fully support people having their preferences. At the same time, if they don’t lead you to the long term partner you want, they’re useless. Those average looking men who are obsessed with the super model image, for example, have a mostly useless preference. We have to keep checking to see if our preferences really make a difference in the long run.

      • I completely agree! I followed all of the traditional dating rules, had the “checklist” for dates that I followed but was continually frustrated and stymied. When I decided to relax on some of the rules, things turned around for me.

        For example, I went on a date about a year ago with this guy. He was shorter than I liked, didn’t make the first move online, and then when the check came he – GASP – asked me to split it with him. I was put off, I have to admit, but I paid my half and took a few days to think about it. I realized that he was a pretty good guy, and everything else about the date was good so I decided to give him another chance. I am so glad that I did. We dated for a few months and although it didn’t work out, we are the best of friends today. I think about how I would have missed out on getting to know such a great person if I had stuck so closely to the “rules” that I let it blind me to the possibilities.

      • For me, it’s not about rules or a checklist. It’s a personality trait that I don’t want to live without. For example, being nice, not being an ass, not being a stick in the mud, not being a pig, not being a cheapskate, being a gentleman, having a job, not living with his mom, not playing video games or sitting on his ass in front of the TV for 8 hours per day, etc. Otherwise, even though facial hair makes me want to barf, I really have no checklist.

      • What happens when any preference leads us to dead ends? I guess we either date someone we don’t prefer or we stay single.

        I’ve never personally dated someone who hasn’t been chivalrous. I’ve never been asked to split a check, go dutch, take my turn to pay, etc. There have been three times I have bought my own coffee at a coffee shop during a first meeting with someone online. I’ve been on a lot of dates. I’ve had a lot of relationships. I’ve been married. Perhaps a younger woman might not have the same experience? But I rarely date anyone born after 1970.

        And, I don’t think this is as unrealistic as average men wanting supermodels. It’s not comparing apples to apples. Most men in the age range I date in are chivalrous. Most women in my age range (or any age range, for that matter) are not supermodels.

      • Interesting you say most men in the age range you’re dating are chivalrous, but you have no trouble coming up with endless examples of men who don’t fit that picture. No one repeatedly lists all those negative traits if they haven’t had a fair amount of experience dating people with them. But seriously, all I and Reluctant are saying is that it’s important to keep checking if your preferences are serving you. You – and other women who get questioned on their preferences – act like you are being asked to give up everything. That it’s either the “perfect guy” or some wayward slob. That’s a bullshit dichotomy. The truth is that there’s a wide spectrum. What I see in Reluctant’s example is that she recognized that things like who paid for the first date, who asked, and the kind really don’t mean much when it comes to long term happiness.

      • I’ve listed all the dates I’ve been on in my blog — I don’t know the number, but you’re welcome to go back and count — and only a few haven’t been what I’d call chivalrous. Chivalrous or not, the ones who weren’t I wasn’t interested in either way. I have never been in a situation where I really liked someone . . . but they asked me to split the bill. If that happens, I will be sure to blog about it!

  2. “We’re not really doing it for ourselves or for other women, we are doing it to attract or keep men” Speak for yourself sister. Not all of us think exactly in that way, that’s certainly not why I work out. I work out because I love it, it keeps my body great – a body that, yes, I use to attract men (and women) – but mostly because it allows me to be healthy and live a happy life. I used to be fat and I attracted just as many people then, so being the size I am now has nothing to do with wanting to trap or keep a man. It’s for me.

    As always, your blog is interesting. to read. I’m in the UK and dating over here is very different to how you describe. It’s good to hear how men and dating is over the pond…

    • Yes, of course, you are right. We also do it for ourselves because we want to be healthy and feel good. But, I think that a lot of people do it (at least in the US) to attract men and keep men. And the sad thing is, it’s never good enough because we don’t look perfect enough. Then we beat ourselves up for it and eat more ice cream.

      Men in other countries think I’m the bees knees. I’m healthy and curvy. But in the US, I’m pretty much average and even fat by some standards. I once went on a hike with a date and while he was more on the athletic/toned side and I was on the average side, he huffed and puffed while I chatted away without any problems and later I found out I wasn’t his type. I don’t know what that means exactly, but based on our conversations in person, I am pretty sure it means that I wasn’t thin enough.

  3. There’s a lot of contradictions in your blog post. I totally agree with you about the double standard when it comes to pursuing. Women should be able to initiate and purse as much as men. I really wish that stigma would go away, and whenever women have e-mailed me online or asked me out in person, I always have remembered that double standard, and have made sure my response was kind (whatever response it was).

    “If someone asks me out, I expect him to pay.” Men still do 90-95% of the asking, so this is a meaningless rule in my opinion. Very convenient for women though.

    “I do not expect him to wait for me (it’s really nice if he waits, however, and it is noticed), but I do expect him to offer to purchase my coffee.” If you are the one who comes early, do you wait and do you offer to purchase something? Women often say they want more equality, but then really they don’t. You want a kind gesture from the guy. But where’s your kind gesture in the same situation?

    “Then there is the part about how men pay and women just show up. Sorry, but women don’t just show up. We have to “get ready” which is not only labor-intensive, but expensive. While men go bald, get wrinkles, and let their bellies grow when they turn 40, we are busting our asses at the gym, giving up cookies and bread, and paying thousands of dollars each year to look younger and better. We’re not really doing it for ourselves or for other women, we are doing it to attract or keep men. On top of that, we know men love to have their egos stroked so we smile and tell them that their dicks are amazing when they are not, that their wrinkles and gray hair make them look distinguished and not old, and that their belly really isn’t that big. And, we hope that when they finally make it in the business world, they won’t dump us for someone younger.”

    Frankly, this is a subset of men you are talking about. And you are buying into the societal expectations that women have to pour thousands of dollars into make up, gym time, diet routines and the rest to remain attractive, and that most guys are going to dump them for younger, hotter “chicks” the moment they get a little flabby. Look, I get it that there’s a lot of divorce these days. And I also get it that men focus on looks a lot, and that you feel pressure to maintain a certain image. Every woman I know has faced this pressure, and again, there isn’t the same level of pressure when it comes to male bodies. Although more men are suffering from eating disorders these days than at any time in history, so I’d argue the pressure there is increasing.

    But if you truly think that the only way to get a man’s attention, and then keep a man’s interested is to bust your ass off to maintain a certain look, you’re in trouble. Furthermore, with that thinking, you’re probably going to attract guys who think like that. Take your power back. There are men out there who don’t need their egos stroked all the time, aren’t letting themselves go to shit physically, and won’t expect you to look like a 20 year old. Place your focus on those guys, and to hell with the rest.

    • I initiate because I have found that men are often pussies or they are lazy. But I don’t pursue. If a man, a real man, wants something — he goes for it. I strongly believe that. It’s a man’s nature.

      If I get to a place first I usually stand in the lobby and wait or I wait in my car until he gets there. I will often wait outside. I do the same with a friend. The only time I sit down first is when it’s imperative that you grab a table right away and then I get water while I wait. Most of the men I date want to buy the drink/coffee/whatever and they would be embarrassed or emasculated if I purchased it for them.

      About staying young looking and attractive . . . there is a lot of competition out there and you’re sorely mistaken if you think a man wouldn’t pick the interesting and attractive woman over just the interesting one. Women aren’t just pretty anymore, we are educated, wealthy, well-travelled, and interesting. Personally, it takes a lot of effort for me to try to be as attractive as I am interesting and smart and even with all of that effort, I’ve got more to offer on the inside than on the outside.

    • I don’t know how many times on this site I’ve read that “women want equality but don’t want to pay on a date!” HELL NO! We are WOMEN, and you are MEN. I work my ass off -at work-, and while I work in a profession filled with women, I would totally expect to be treated/paid equally at work. But when I’m dating, I’m not working. I’m still traditional. Yes, we CAN do all of these things for ourselves and we’re not going to act like we can’t open a jar on our own, but it sure is nice to have a man take out my trash on a regular basis when I’m doing his laundry. Just because women want equality in the workforce does NOT mean we think chivalry should be dead.

      If I show up early for a date and make the point to text him that I’m getting something (which I wouldn’t do, I’d wait for him), I sure as hell would offer to get him something and then I would pay for it without a second thought. And I will always offer to pay if there’s a second date, because I do make money too. But women do like feeling like a woman on a first date, and the man should still offer to pay.

      • “Just because women want equality in the workforce does NOT mean we think chivalry should be dead.”

        You don’t speak for all women. Most women I know wouldn’t agree with this either. I want to be treated equally ALL THE TIME. That means I will have to take out trash and open jars sometimes. But that also means that he will have to do laundry, cook and take care of dirty diapers as well. I do not want to box men and women into traditional gender roles if that isn’t what they want. Men and women should feel free to express themselves in whatever way makes them happy. Chivalry and traditional notions of male/female roles forces people to act in certain prescribed ways, which is fine if you agree. But if you don’t, there needs to be room for that too.

        There is no one right way to do this! The trick is finding someone with those values. A man that doesn’t pursue, that doesn’t pay for dates, that pre-orders his coffee may not be your cup of tea. But there are plenty of women out there that are willing to see him for who he is and not size him up against a checklist of expected behaviors and snatch him right up.

  4. Part of the reason why I keep commenting on posts about money and expectations of men paying is that I have read or talked to oh so many women commenting about men who fit their stereotyped view of a “keeper” – he paid for all the dates, picked her up in his car, complimented her frequently, sometimes bought her gifts – and poof, one day he was gone. Maybe it was after they had sex the first time. Or maybe it was after a few months of dating. Sometimes after a year or two of what seemed to be “a perfect relationship.” Time and again, they missed all the other signs. Or they overlooked clear red flags because he was charming and “giving” (in a materialistic sense). I’m really convinced that we all have been lied to by romantic comedies, TV, romance novels, magazines, and often our own friends even. Whenever I speak with elder women (friends and family) about successful relationship keys, no one brings up things like staying “physically sexy like a 20 year old” or who paid for the first date or how many gifts the man gave her. It’s always things like having a great sense of humor, being flexible, and caring, and listening, and sometimes letting go of your needs to help the other.

    • I agree, but how do we get to that point without the intial attraction? Everyone wants chemistry regardless of shared values. For me, I am past that. But one of the things I highly value in a relationship are the masculine/feminine roles.

      • I would never say stay with someone that you have no chemistry with. It’s more about seeking that mind blowing chemistry out of movie scenes, and then finding it, and failing to see that you really are a bad match. I’ve been burned by this, and so many others have as well.

    • Agreed. And I agree with the comment below. You do need that initial date to go well to get to the humor, caring, etc. I do notice when a man will take care of things financially (but usually won’t let him continue to do so, I do try to keep money spent equal as long as we make similar salaries) but I really hope no woman is dumb enough to stick around just because a man is financially sound.

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