I’m an Old Fashioned Radical

If you focused on “radical” in this post’s title, and think I’m going political, you focused on the wrong word.  “Old-fashioned” is the operative word, but there is a “political” backdrop.

My “60’s radical” views never extended to dating.  In that realm, I am old fashioned.  When Susie and I were dating I never asked, nor expected, her to share in the cost.  The exception would be for a special occasion, such as my birthday.

Two reasons come to mind for my “I’ll pay” approach.  First, I earned more than Susie.  But even if we earned the same salary, I think it’s not just “income” that should be considered but also “expenses.”

I know that women pay a lot more for many things.  My haircut is $12; Susie’s is $25.  And women’s clothes are considerably more expensive than men’s, even when it’s a sale. Then, there’s make-up, an expense men don’t have (although that may not be true for the younger generation…).   😉

Second, is a fact which I do not think has changed much since arranged marriages stopped being the norm.  And that fact is this: just an in the animal world it is often the female which selects the male from many suitors, so too in human society does the woman typically choose the man.  So men have to set themselves apart from their competitors.

On my first date with Susie, I decided to set myself apart by taking her to a chocolatier in the mall and buying her white chocolate, which was a “first” for her.  I like to think that set me apart from previous suitors.

All this has been a prelude to the focus of this post: today’s dating”  norms.

While wandering the online news sites last week, I came across an article on the results of an unscientific NBC News poll. Unscientific because it relied on the responses of 17,600 folks who answered an online poll.  Therefore, the results cannot be relied upon as truly representative of what folks are thinking because it is not a “random sample” survey in which everyone had an equal opportunity of being selected.  (For example, I was not even aware of the poll and so did not have an opportunity to participate.)

Nevertheless, the results of the respondents to questions about whether women should be sharing the costs of dating reflect some…radical…changes in opinion since my dating days.  And, some unease among women about what “equality” means when applied to dating.

First, let’s hear from the men.  About 44% of men said that they would break off a relationship if the woman “never” helped pay on dates.  That’s very close to half and if it were indeed representative then a single woman who doesn’t help with expenses on a date has about a 50% chance of being…liberated.

Also, 74% of men said they expected a woman to begin sharing dating costs no later than six months into the relationship.  Surprisingly, 83% of women who believed they should contribute to a date used that same timeline for when they believed they should start sharing dating costs.

Yet, 39% of women admitted that they preferred that men not ask them to help pay for dates.  So the math tells us that after accounting for the 17% (100-83) of women who feel they should not have to share dating costs, 22% (39-17) of the women who believe they should begin helping with dating costs after six months would rather not be helping out at all.

And, 44%of women said they are “annoyed” if a man “expects” that they should share in the cost of a date.  Now guys, the last thing we should be doing is annoying a woman we are interested in.

Even though the poll is unscientific, there was some information left out of the article that I would like to have seen presented: how the responses were distributed by age.  Because I believe that it is the men below about 40 that account for the majority of  “women should pay” responses.  And I suspect that the women’s responses about not paying are found among all age groups and dominate for women over 40.

Now, it’s time for your opinion…!  (And if you don’t mind, please include your sex if it is not obvious and whether or not you’re older than 40).  If you’re interested in the online comments to that poll, here’s the link to the article.

And guys, the question used to be: will she kiss me on the first date?  I think the question has now become: if I don’t pay, should I stay or should I go?



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