Dear Dategirl,What is the protocol for deciding who pays on a date? I'm lucky in that I've always had a well-paying career, but I lost my job at the end of last year. I'm not exactly broke, but I certainly don't have anything close to the disposable income I used to. Between mortgage payments on my apartment and upkeep of my vacation home in Mexico, I've had to dip into my savings.I'm almost positive that I'll find employment before the end of this year, but meanwhile, I'd like to date. However, I find that most women don't even reach for the check—even after we've been out several times. When I do find that rarest of the rare, she's inevitably not up to my standards physically—so I refuse her money out of guilt.—Broken Man
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You had me until the bit about Mexico. Then you lost me again with those sky-high "physical" standards. As the kind of lady who always offers to pay my way, I find this sentiment insulting, but then I'm violently unattracted to men who own fab vacation homes yet still whine about being broke, so I guess we're even?You need more perspective than I can offer in the space I'm allotted, but believe it or not, many people are in far worse shape than you. Like, they don't even own one home! I know! Can you believe it?! I've even heard rumors that some unfortunate poors don't have savings to "dip into!"So aside from a yen for freeloading vixens, you really have it pretty good. With minimal effort, you could (gasp!) rent your vacation home to filthy commoners, or even (eek!) sell it and make do with one house. If the loss of fun in the sun is too horrifying to contemplate, maybe you should just ride out the economic downturn, and instead of dating and being forced to contemplate this troubling conundrum, offer your time to those less fortunate.The Seattle city government offers a list of volunteer resources at seattle.gov/html/citizen/volunteer.htm. You could sign up with Lifelong AIDS Alliance's Chicken Soup Brigade and help feed people living with HIV/AIDS. Lifelong is sponsoring an AIDS walk on Sept. 26, and I'm positive there will be loads of cute, civic-minded Fräuleins marching for the cause. (Translation: the type of bleeding-heart soft-touches who'll happily offer to pay their half of a dinner tab.)But then apparently those aren't the kind of women that interest you. Doesn't it bother you that you find yourself weak in the wood when faced with an independent lady who doesn't see the correlation between a uterus and a free meal? Instead of worrying about the logistics of who pays (in my opinion: whoever issues the invite), you should be fretting about why this is.I'm sensing a little White Knight Syndrome with a whopping side of sexism. My diagnosis stems from your knee-jerk reaction to the women who offer to split the tab. I can't imagine you'd ask out anyone you weren't hot for in the first place, so I'm wondering what happens between asking, eating, and paying that turns the tide? Is there something about that simple gesture that's a turn-off? Do you worry that next time she'll want to drive? Or maybe climb on top? (Whore!)Perhaps instead of fretting over the cost of a couple of tacos and a round of fruity cocktails, you should take a little time and ponder the big, philosophical questions I've raised. And if nobody's using that vacation home next month, I'm in the market for a little firstname.lastname@example.org