I'd written a piece about cheapskates and why it's not a good idea to be that person who skims on the dating experience. However, this also raises a question: Is it cool to always pick up the check and take your date out to a fancy spot every time?
The simple answer to that is “no!” There's a fine line in dating, actually there's several of them, it seems. No one wants to spend money frivolously or needlessly. Right? When on a date, some balance must be reached.
By no means should a person always be expected to pick up the check or buy extravagant gifts for their date. That's just uncalled for and, to a degree, a cry for help! The key, once again, is to strike that balance between being frugal and, well, being a sucker. I had mentioned that starting “small” when getting to know someone is a good idea. By “starting small” I mean that instead of a dozen roses, perhaps your date a single rose; it's just as thoughtful and not considered to be cheap. Don't go showing your cheap side by stealing a rose, though. Getting picked up by the cops is still a lame excuse to no-show for a date, kids. I'm just saying. Also, making a mix CD for your date is an inexpensive way to show your thoughtfulness.
This article, though, isn't about how to be economically thoughtful. It's about how not to be the sucker; the person who's always footing the bill.
There is no set rule of who should pay and how often. I would say it comes down to common courtesy. At one point I was very casually dating a few women at the same time. I didn't go out with them a lot, maybe once a week or so. I found that I was paying all the time for two of these women I was dating and not so much with the third. The third gal I was dating, we'll call her “Vanessa.” Vanessa always offered to pay her half and was all too happy to help out with the bill and offered to take me out on a number of occasions. The other two, who will remain nameless to protect my wallet's pride, never offered, never remarked or even pretended to want to pay. I settled on “Vanessa” soon after this realization… And a hefty “OMG” after looking at my bank statement for the month.
As I said, there's no rule. Who ever asked the other person out is the one who pays, generally. Though, my rule of thumb is to sit near the doors and to run like hell after the bill has arrived. Though, your date may think you're a bit of a jerk should you do that.
How do you know if you're with someone that wants to dig into your wallet? Well, you don't, really. As I mentioned above, Vanessa would offer to pay and was fine with it; it made no impact on our dates at all, not negatively anyway. However, I did, several years ago, go on a couple dates with a fairly (in my opinion) attractive girl. I met her at work, when I was doing customer service.
We met for a walk in a local park to listen to some live jazz. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, we had gone to the store to buy some food to “brown bag” our dinner. The whole time, while at the store, my date seemed awkward and a big agitated. A couple times she mentioned just going to a couple good restaurants that she'd heard of in the area. I politely declined. Still, we had an okay time; but there was no magic to be had, no kiss and not even a “thank you.” Seriously. So much for that date. Well, we ended up going out again a couple weeks later. We were to have dinner at this hole in the wall Cuban place, but upon my date's arrival, she called me and wanted to go elsewhere (we were going to meet at the restaurant). This time, I caved and met her at this steakhouse. It was spendy, I ended up paying the bill. I did get a “thanks, that was nice.” Which was okay. Still, no kiss. I never heard from her again.
I try to avoid those girls that are just looking for that “free meal” when out on a date. It's a mentality that I don't agree with. I've had conversations with a particular female friend about this very thing… She'll remain nameless unless she'd like to offer her two cents on the subject.
I'll list a few traits that I feel are common place with the “free meal ticket, gold digger” crowd:
- People who are prone to fantasize about money, success and influence frequently.
- A general lack of empathy for other peoples' situations, regardless of how unfortunate.
- Someone who seeks a lot of admiration or attention.
- Generally Materialistic persons.
Other queues that might be useful in pinpointing a gold digger:
- Ask them what their best gift was. You're looking for something along the lines of a lavish possession.
- Ask them what is the most important thing they had to give up to get something else. You want to key in on delayed gratification. “give something big up now to get something bigger later.”
Listen to what your potential gold digger is asking you:
- Do they ask you your income?
- Do they remark or ask about the brand of your clothing?
- Do they ask you questions about if you own your home, car etc etc.
Generally, I'd say that if the person you are dating exhibits any form of generosity, such as cooking for you; or offering to pick up the tab then you're not with a gold digger. The kind of people who won't play you as a meal ticket, or a sucker, are the people that will offer to pay, at least, their share of the bill, or perhaps the tip. And, generally, if you and your date do something else, your date may offer to pay for that, whether it's a movie or drinks. The people that do not follow this behavior, you may want to consider leaving to their own devices, if your pocket book requires it.