We’ve gotten to know each other over the past year of this blog and so it will come as no surprise to you that I have a strong opinion and I’m not going to be very delicate sharing it. You are not supposed to pay for yourself on a date! Don’t do it! I don’t care about feminism or equality or not wanting to feel obligated for sex or whatever nonsense you’re going to try to throw my way. This isn’t the workplace, you are wonderful stop having to prove it, and finally you are never obligated to have sex even if he takes you to Paris for tea. You know this. So stop listening to these ridiculous mantras. They aren’t “advice” or “reason” or “liberation.” What they are is EXCUSES.
Excuses for you to settle. Excuses for you to ask for less than what you deserve. Excuses for you to be meek and accommodating. Don’t spritz it with feminism perfume. That shit is still gonna stink!
When a man takes you out he WANTS to treat you special. He WANTS to put in extra effort. This is a part of him showing his interest in you. It’s like paying a compliment. It makes both people feel good. When you show your appreciation for his efforts to plan a special evening for you to share, to take you to dinner or a concert or whatever he has chosen with your happiness in mind, that makes him feel really good!
And when you refuse his interest in taking responsibility for planning this evening, when you refuse his attempts to make you special and show that he values you above any of the other women he could have asked out, and you say, “uh, no thanks, I got this.” How the hell does that make him feel?
I’ll tell you. It makes him feel shitty.
It makes him feel emasculated. It makes him feel disappointed. It makes him feel like, damn if she can’t appreciate me, why bother?
No one wants to keep putting in extra effort if it isn’t appreciated and worse, if it’s refused! So in a month or two when you’re bitching to your girlfriends that he never does anything special for you just remember, you teach other people how to treat you. And you taught him that you are totally cool being an afterthought at best! This is what you wanted and you got it.
Listen, if you want to go out and have a nice dinner and go dutch, that’s fine. You can do that as often as you want. WITH YOUR FRIENDS! That’s what friends are for! To go out, try new restaurants, go to concerts, have fun in the company of people you know and trust.
Dating is for getting to know someone. You are trying to figure out if you can suffer through the ups and downs of life together. Dating has romantic intent. You do things with your romantic partner (like have sex! YAY!) that you don’t do with your friends. When you are the one person giving more of yourself then you deserve to be treated differently. And so does he! We all want to feel special and we all want to feel wanted. It’s selfish to expect the world to make you feel special. It’s appropriate to expect your partner to make you feel special. And vice versa.
You’re on a date. You are trying to determine if you can trust your heart and your body to this person and you feel “bad” about letting him pay the tab? I sure as hell hope this self-deprecating attitude doesn’t extend to the bedroom where you might admit to feeling “bad” about asking him to please you. Or worse! Feeling bad about asking him to PROTECT you by wearing a condom.
Besides that, LIFE IS HARD. So don’t artificially minimize your needs when you are dating him. If you make it past six months, it’s just inevitable you’re going to hit some rough patches in life. If you make it too easy then how will you ever know if he will be the kind of man to shave your bikini area when you are nine months pregnant and afraid to go into labor with a jungle down there? How will you ever find out if he’s the kind of man to clean up baby puke, dog puke, your puke? How will you be able to judge if he’s the kind of guy who will help you change your mother’s diapers when she’s 110 and living in the spare bedroom? I’m just saying. The shit will get real. Make sure you pick a partner who can withstand a bit more of a challenge than ponying up $35 to pay his own way on a date.
Besides that, if you don’t show him that you are willing to let him pamper you and treat you special, you are giving him a strong message too. The first is that you just don’t see him that way. You are friendzoning. And if you don’t mean to friendzone, then you are bangzoning yourself. Because a man is going to want a woman who isn’t like everyone else and you basically just told him you’re casual and he doesn’t need to do much to keep you around. If he doesn’t do much to keep you around, you’re in the bangzone. Worse, you went dutch on your ticket to the bangzone.
The other thing you are doing is showing him that you are going to be competing with him. In everything. That is not hot. Men love to compete. It’s in their blood. They compete all day with each other and with themselves. They need a damn break from competing. He needs someone to just simply cheer for him, to appreciate him, to take him for who he is right at this moment. That’s you! But when he takes you to dinner and you offer to pay, you are sharing his glory. You are sharing the prize. And you know what, if he went through the anxiety of asking you out, planning the date, washing his car, shaving his face, de-stinkifying his armpits and grooming his nuts just to impress you and at the final moment you cut into the race to cross the finish line and share the trophy? Girl, that’s a participation prize. Participation prizes are for losers. Give him the credit! Don’t rob him of his chance to be different and to act different and to show you that he’s awesome and he values you. Don’t dull his motherfucking sparkle.
So, when people tell you to be you, that’s because after a certain amount of time, you won’t be able to HELP BUT BE YOU. And your farts are going to stink. Your period is going to stain the bed. Your emotions are going to get the best of you. And he, if you’re lucky, is going to be the one who is there for you, dealing with your shit.
Men aren’t like this. They don’t hold back for long. They don’t create a sanitized, picture perfect image of themselves during the dating period. If he’s serious about you, then in less than 3 months he’s going to be front and center with a massive belch when you are snuggling. He’s going to be watching football with his stinky socks on the floor. He’s going to put six packs of beer in your fridge and boxers with skid marks in your hamper.
So, now that we’ve got that settled, I am going to give you a few tips on how to handle that moment when the check comes. I realize you may not be ready to handle this moment gracefully the first few times so I have a few ideas to help you. As you get more confident and comfortable letting him treat you well (I really can’t believe this is something people have to learn, but it is) it will be easier for you to be more direct.
The easiest is to simply excuse yourself to go to the restroom when the check comes.
The next easiest tactic is to just pretend you don’t even see it. Women ramble all the time. Just start rambling. He’ll be happy to focus on calculating the tip if you ramble about something really banal.
The next easiest tactic, and one you might need some practice for, is to simply look him in the eye, smile and thank him for dinner. Whether he was planning to pay the bill or not, he will want to now that you have shown appreciation and made HIM feel special by being gracious.
The next tactic is one that I like to use. It’s a more advanced move that requires coordination, timing and just a hint of grace. When the bill comes, get eye contact with him. Hold his gaze as he starts to reach for his wallet. When he does, you reach for your purse. Think old western shoot out. Hold eye contact. Then when he pulls his wallet to the table to take out his credit card or cash, bring your hands back to the table in plain sight. And… JAZZ HANDS!
Thank God that’s settled.