The costs of dating

I wrote this post at Bitch Magazine about women who make more money than their partners. It’s something I think about a lot, especially because when I was a little bit younger, one of the things I often heard from women about guys and in general was that I had an “intimidating” career.

The only upside of being a writer who doesn’t make a bunch of money is that it has become a little easier to date. I can’t figure out if this is because I have a more flexible schedule, or because I’m happier and therefore more available and sultry-looking, or if it’s because I’m less intimidating now that I’m not pulling in five figures.

What’s confusing is that I don’t know if a decision has been made about whether women who bring home most of the money who are also in relationships are hot or not. It used to be common knowledge that that whole power dynamic thing in a relationship shifted with the purse (man purse?) strings.

It occurs to me that in the dating world, things might still operate according to outdated principles. In other words, it is expected that the person who is the pursuer in any dynamic is the one who pays for dinner and drinks and other things — no matter what his or her gender expression might be. If you go dutch, that sets a specific kind of tone. These are all impressions I have related to my own expectations in the dating world. I have purchased unnecessary drinks during dates and sometimes even paid for dinner, because it felt weird to expect for the guy to foot the bill for everything.

At the same time, like many of my friends and women I have met over the years, I am a person who loves being feted. Romance to me looks a lot like it does in fairy tales and rom-coms. Part of me thinks that’s pathetic and shameful as a thinking feminist; another part of me wants to just accept that I have these assumptions about what romance and courtship look like and just have a good time. Mostly, I just wish that courtship and dating were a little more linear so I could wrap my brain around them.

I guess that would suck all the fun out of them, though, right?

4 thoughts on “The costs of dating

  1. 1) I make good money…we’ll leave it at that. I want a woman that makes good money so that I know she isn’t looking for a free meal or a free hand bag. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t met women that make great money and don’t expect to spend any of their money…ever.

    1a) Looking for an equal be it intelligence, religion, income, etc. is important and something keep your eyes open for. Doesn’t mean that you can’t help the other person along if they need a bit of assistance/motivation/knowledge

    2) I date a lady at one point in my life and she didn’t make a fraction of what I did but she put forth effort and did some spectacular things. Case in point I was sick so she went out and bought me some items to help me out; she called me up a few times and said “I’ll be over in 30 minutes I’m taking you for drinks”; she stopped by with a basket of food and we ate dinner.

    2a) it isn’t about who picks up the tab but rather the person making an effort. I know tons of guys, myself included at times, that think because we paid the bill or bough the flowers or bought XYZ that the lady should know we care for them because of this material act/possession. Look for the feeling and the effort.

    My thoughts, at least.


    • These are all good points. I think it’s important to note that money doesn’t replace considerate gestures or attentiveness.

      There are a lot of messages out there related to strategies for dating. Many of them seem predicated on the idea of manipulating the other person one way or another. But if the goal is to show someone how you genuinely feel about him/her, nothing says that like actions and gestures.

      That’s not to say there isn’t something nice about knowing you’re dating someone who doesn’t have to worry that much about financial security. But that knowledge can’t replace chemistry or authenticity.

  2. Pingback: Top Posts in May: The Best Advice I Ever Got, Rihanna on Being Single and the costs of dating | Single & Happy

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