I know it’s a cliche, but dating is a minefield. This blog has already dealt with many of the obstacles a girl can encounter (last-minute cancellations, lack of chemistry, emotionally stunted guys etc.), but something I’ve come up against recently is the issue of cold hard cash.
Like most people, I hate talking about money. I find it vulgar and irrelevant, and being in a fairly low-paid job it’s something I worry about constantly – so why vocalise that stress by talking about it? Money doesn’t impress me and it certainly doesn’t make someone more attractive. Anyway, where was I… Ah yes, dating. There is the unwritten rule that the guy will pay for at least the first round of drinks, if not the first dinner. Call me anti-feminist, but I stand by this rule. After all, if a guy says “can I take you out for drinks/dinner?” the implication is that he will be picking up the bill at the end of the night. Don’t get me wrong, I will nearly always make at least a half-hearted offer to split the tab, but I along with most girls out there will always appreciate the slightly old-fashioned gesture of the man insisting that he pays.
Up until a several weeks ago, I thought this was a fairly straightforward part of dating, especially in terms of the first date. How wrong I was. Let me break it down:
- Get asked out on a dinner date by Man In Uniform
- Go on dinner date, get taken to a rather swanky French restaurant, Man In Uniform pays
- I pay for a few rounds of cocktails
- At the end of the date I thank him for a very nice meal and a pleasant evening
- The next day, having given it some thought, I send Man In Uniform a message along the lines of “had a great time but let’s just be friends.” After all, I strongly believe that honesty is the best policy…
So what’s this got to do with money? Well, about a week later I received the following message from a mutual friend:
If you’re open-mouthed with shock after reading that, it’s nothing compared to how I felt. Rage, disgust, spitting feathers…. You get the idea. Apart from the fact that it’s utterly tasteless for a guy to tell his friends how much he spent on dinner, there seems to have been the expectation that fancy meal equals sex. One word: NO.
The thing is with dating, a lot of it means taking a gamble. Sure you might shell out rather a lot of cash on a first date hoping to impress someone, but there’s always the risk that it just won’t work. I can understand someone would feel frustrated if they’ve incurred a fairly hefty financial outlay with no return, but that’s not how any of us should approach dating. Yes, coffees and drinks and meals and outings all cost money, but that should never be the main focus. It’s also part of the reason why I think a couple of casual beers works best as a first date – if it doesn’t go according to plan, no person can accuse the other of using the date as a meal ticket.
No amount of expensive food and wine is going to make me overlook the fact that I’m just not attracted to someone. And then what if it did? Doesn’t accepting pricey dates and fancy champagne in return for sex make me have several things in common with an escort? Sorry, not my style.