Dating Etiquette. 2010. Whose Paying?

A funny thing happened on the way to the Smuin Ballet Saturday night. There I was, standing at will call window, glad to be on a date with my man, still excited he had agreed to see the Ballet with me. I stood patiently, taking in the human traffic that was dressed in business casual. Business casual was what I expected, even on a Saturday. In California, San Francisco in particular, the attire is always luke warm.   San Franciscans take no great pains to glam themselves up like New Yorkers; the look is always comfortable, casual and clean. Observing the swarm of bodies that were flooding through the large French doors at the Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, I became fixated on one couple in particular.

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The couple had taken great effort to look as if they belonged at the Ballet, so picking them out of a crowd was easy. A tall skinny blonde haired woman who appeared to be in her 40’s didn't fit the short flirty   A-line skirt with black pantyhose. Her brown 3-inch boots and tiny flower jacket screamed bohemian sheik but when she turned around, her black pantyhose surprised me. She was wearing the back seam sheer pantyhose with  brown 3-inch boots. I found it to be an odd combination. For those of you who don't know the obvious reason why, I'll let you in on a secret. Bohemian and retro have to put together very carefully. I would go as far as to say that one would need to be an   experienced professional -which this woman was clearly not.

The blonde   haired woman’s date was a man in a cheap pale blue suit with a white shirt. I watched the man, who looked roughly the same age as his lady friend, dip into the mouth of the will call window turn his head to the left and say, “ yes, we’d like the $18.00 variety of tickets aaaaannnnddd, I think we’re paying for our own tickets.”   His voice was loud enough for his date to take note that he was not going to pay for her ticket.

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The rules of dating in 2010 are obviously not the same as they were when your grandma was dating. There is no doubt your grandma wasn’t expected to pick up the check, let alone pay for her own ticket to the ballet. A man’s value was linked to what he could provide. These days, not much has changed. Women still want a man to be able to provide for her and any children they may have together, but she settles if he can’t or won’t. I don’t fully understand this way of thinking but then again, I’m not the typical woman.

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I think men should pay for the Ballet; it’s a sexy thing when your man covers expense   for special occasions or special dates. Clearly, from the way this couple was dressed, they were on a special date. As for dinners, I think its fair for men and women to share the expense, not Dutch, down the middle type of sharing but pick up the tab every other dinner. Splitting down the middle on a date is incredibly cheesy to me.   There is no doubt, we are in a tough economic time and men and women don’t need to experience financial hardship due to dating. The larger question I have is, how many people are you dating?   And why?

Not engaging a person before a date is probably the biggest problem of them all.

The problem of asking someone out over text or email negates one’s ability to make an informed decision. Most people spend too much time in action and not enough in preparation. Getting to know someone over the phone would probably limit the number of dates you go on. You would know immediately if the face-to-face investment is worth your time. The problem of text and email has already killed so many of our social skills that we forget how powerful a conversation can be.

At the end of the day, all women love a guy who shows chivalry and respect because that is what she’s always dreamed of- even though she’s a liberal feminist that can take care of herself- the man who makes a little more effort than the others will be the one she keeps.

M from MIRA