The real problem with "So, do you mind splitting the check?"
Shannon was on a date with a guy (we'll call him Sean) who had been chasing her for the better part of a decade. She finally caved into his advances and agreed to go on a casual date at a local bar. Shannon was not a fancy, prissy type. She played in an intramural softball league, preferred flip flops to high heels and owned a handicapped dog. But when he uttered the fatal words "So do you mind splitting the check?" she assumed one thing; he wasn't interested.
Things fizzled between them and Shannon later learned Sean was interested, but he was flat broke. She was perplexed. If he was so low on cash, why didn't he take her somewhere less expensive? Or to a free art gallery? Or a movie in the park? Or a dive bar instead of the fancy wine bar he had picked out?
In What Men Really Want: For Ladies To Pay On The Date Too, we learned that many men would like women to start paying their way when it comes to dating. I would also like a Johnny Depp lookalike with an anaconda in his pants. Just kidding! But in all seriousness, what those men fail to realize is that most women are not out for a free ride. For Shannon, it wasn't about his money—it was about being courted.
Yes, it's 2014, but in these days of texting instead of calling, late-night booty calls instead of dates, men disappearing and reappearing, it's nice to have a little old-fashioned romance. Women may have increased wealth and equality, but some things may never change. Gold diggers aside, most women don't care how much a man drops on a date.
According to a Match.com study, 46 percent of women say it doesn't really matter how much a date spends on the evening, and 58 percent of women are not even looking for an expensive date. A whopping 75 percent of women do not want to eat dinner at a fancy restaurant.
Historically courtship has revolved around "a man proving to a woman that he values her," says YourTango expert and psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina. In the days before women were CEOs and doctors, a woman would lose all of her wealth to her husband once she was married. So it was imperative that a man proved to both the woman and her family that he could take care of her. Hence a man paying and providing for a woman.
But now that it's 2014 and not 1952, where does that leave us? Many women, myself included, do not need a man's moula. According to relationship expert and author of Date Out of Your League, April Masini, the real problem is not that men are spending too much money on dates; it's that they're not dating wisely. In the age of online dating and the gaggle of choices out there, truer words were never said. Men waste money and energy dating the wrong people.
"They don't have purpose or focus, and they go out with folks who possess dealbreakers — simply because they're not taking the dating process seriously." For these men, it's not about the money either. By dating only people they're truly interested in and who have the same goals and desires, men can save time and energy.
Having dated online myself, I can certainly attest to that fact. Though I stated clearly on my profile that I was looking for a longterm relationship, there was no shortage of men who took me out with less than serious intentions. Men who go on date after date hoping that just one of them will "stick". It's not just men who do this; I've been guilty of it too. I've gone out with guys who possessed way too many of my dealbreakers — believed Top 40 was good music, didn't vote and owned cats — because I hoped that if I was more open-minded I might meet the right guy. It wasn't until I focused on quality not quantity that I met the right guy.
On the flip side, I had a guy friend named Greg who signed up for an online dating profile but refused to actually message a single woman. Instead he would just wait until they noticed him lurking on their profile and message him; that is if they even noticed or cared to message someone who would check out a profile without at least a wink. As you can imagine, his lazy methods got him nowhere. He went on a lot of crappy dates, could never understand why none of his dates worked out and complained that women are just interested money.
Men also forget all the time and money women spend pre-date; a new outfit, waxing, shaving, makeup and hair. Consider this: according to the survey by Match.com 65 percent of women spend $50 or more on pre-date grooming and clothing, (and no contrary to popular thought we don't dress for other women. That only happens at Vogue.)
Don't want to spend money on the first date? I'm guessing many women would rather not spend the time or money shaving, putting on makeup, choosing an outfit and blow drying their hair. Not to mention teetering in high heels, donning crippling Spanx, and strapping on push up bras. But alas, most of us don't wake up looking runway-ready.
Even though most guys claim not to notice all the things that women do to primp, I'm also guessing most men would be horrified to see a girl show up to a date with hairy legs, under-eye circles and a Brillo pad for hair like I have when I wake up. If the catcalls of the (albeit tacky) men of New York are any indication, men much prefer women who are put together.
If we're really talking about gender equality, then yes we should just split everything down the middle. And I'll stop waxing my hoo ha. Personally, I'd be perfectly fine walking around with a full bush and not subjecting myself to a Russian women barking at me on all fours while ripping my pubic hair out. But dating isn't about gender equality. Dating is about that dance between two people. Flirting and courting and chivalry, no matter how old-fashioned, is a part of that.
From a financial standpoint, I'm far from needing or wanting a man to pay for my lifestyle. But I do want to be swept off my feet. I want doors opened. Bugs killed. Dragons slayed! Of all the things my boyfriend has done for me, the most memorable one was surprising me with balloons that had hidden notes in them. Expensive? No. Thoughtful and caring? Yes. And I saved every sticky note inside.
I'm in no way suggesting that a woman doesn't start chipping in after the first 2-3 dates. In fact, when my boyfriend realized that he brought me to a cash-only restaurant with no cash on our second date, I forked out the money without batting an eyelash. The fact that I knew he was interested in more than an easy fling, he told me he liked me, texted me within 24 hours of our first date and had already asked me out for a third date, made it easy for me to pay.
Why? Because he was courting me. And 2014 be damned, it felt good.