An Attempt To Set Men Straight About Paying For Dates

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I see a lot of crack advice posted on the internet, but a recent column by David DeAngelo quite possibly takes the cake. In it, he advises a hapless young man to avoid paying for his date and thereby looking like a “free ride.” In fact, if a guy really likes a girl, he should avoid asking her out at all!

“First off, stop ‘asking women out’ in the first place. When you do, right from the beginning you’re setting expectations that you’re going to do this from now on. Basically you’re subtly telling a woman you feel like you need to use a bribe to get her to see you again.

“I’ve said it a million times: Instead of ‘asking’ her out to dinner, tell her about the cool (free) stuff you’re doing later, and then let her know that she’s welcome to come along if she wants to.

Good lord, I knew chivalry was dead but I didn’t think effort was, as well.

David? Men of the world? Allow me to clear a few things up.

1. Women aren’t looking for free rides.
We’re looking for a decent guy, half-intelligent guy who doesn’t log onto before every date to figure out how to get out of paying.

2. Women aren’t looking for bribes.
We’re looking for a good time and pleasant conversation, so if you think the ambiance of a nice restaurant would better our chances of enjoying ourselves over, say, the parking lot of a 7-11, then yeah, maybe you should splurge. A park, a bar, or a free concert will also do just fine.

3. Women aren’t in it for the dinner.
Any woman who has dated enough can tell you that dinner at the world’s best restaurant isn’t worth an insufferable dining companion. (Uhm, also, we can usually afford our own dinners?) We usually want someone to do fun things with, and a great way to show us you’re the man for the job would be to — gasp — invite us out to do something fun.

Just to be sure we weren’t completely crazy and missing some kind of completely valid reason for this avoidance strategy advocated in AskMen, we asked some (wiser, more eloquent) experts for their opinions.

Drew Grant of Crushable writes:

“Someone at AskMen has obviously read The Game a couple too many times. Although it’s true that modern dating means sometimes having to split the check, the onus usually falls to the person doing the asking to pay on the first date. Ladies are all about doing free things on dates, and honestly if it makes you guys think more creatively about where to take us, all the better. But if you spend too much time figuring out ways to make this not sound like a date when you are into her, you run the risk of falling into the dreaded friend zone. It’s more about the motions of asking a girl out, and treating her like you like her – which you do, meatball! – than taking her out to some super fancy restaurant.”

Ha! Yes, Drew. Yes.

And to prove that it’s not just girls who see things this way, we turned to Esquire’s Foster Kamer, who said:

“Given that Ask Men Dot Com is basically the Free Republic of Men’s Lifestyle Sites, grain, salt. They’re a little extreme on some positions.

That said, I think dating – no matter what your sexual orientation is, though I say this as a straight

man – is a pretty timeless ritual, and part of that is instinctively knowing whether one should pay, or not. It’s a case-by-case basis type deal. If you’re with a woman who feels strongly about paying for her share of the date, go dutch on it! Why not? There’s surely some other way you can show initiative that doesn’t involve paying for her date, though I don’t think it’s unwise to at least attempt to. Beyond that? Hold a door. Hail a cab. Be on time, be a great listener. Ask Men did get at something interesting, though: If you are savvy enough to find something free that’s worth doing, it won’t go unappreciated, but again, it’s not an excuse to save yourself some coin. And the bottom line is: If you’re on a date with a woman seriously concerned about what you can and can’t pay for, and you’re looking to skirt any potential expenses you can’t write off on next year’s tax return, it’s probably not a great match to begin with. On the opposite end, trying to “stunt” on your date isn’t the best way to assess a potential partner’s feelings for you. Though if you’re just trying to bring someone home, who knows. It might help.”

Yes, do everything that he says, exactly.

Ok men, are we all on the same page here?

To recap:
1. Don’t be cheap.
2. Don’t be weirdly paranoid about women wanting you for your money.
3. Whoever asks out, pays. (Girls AND guys!)

Good work, guys. Good work.