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Paying for Dates?

Hello Mark and Sophie,

I read your advice to another reader regarding paying etiquette on dates. Being a man who is not making as much money as he would like to be, and assuming that I should be paying for the whole date, should I be holding off on dating? Generally the women I have met with on dates are probably making quite a bit more money than I am, based on their profession descriptions.

A second question regards setting a pattern. I've also noticed that paying for the first date leads to paying for the second, which leads to paying for the third. Is there any way in this day and age to not go down that road, and still be a gentleman?

Please advise
Not as Rich

Mark's advice

Not So Rich.
Hey, you and me both.
It's every mans dream to have a woman pay her own way. But guess what; it ain't going to happen. Seems to me that you're either dating women beyond your means, or dating the wrong kind of women. Not all women are spoiled, self-indulgent, money hungry, leeches bent on getting whatever they can out of each and every date. There are plenty of females who will offer to fork out some dough, maybe not on the first date, but perhaps the second or third. As the guy, you should try and keep ahead of her. You paying for 2 dates, and her paying for 1 is a fair mix that most women would find acceptable. Now don't go out and tell a girl this on the first date. Wait until the third, and then just say you can't afford to go out because you're out of cash. Chances are, she'll say "I'll pay for tonight". And if she doesn't, she's probably a spoiled, self-indulgent, money hungry, leech.

Also, try dating women in your own tax bracket. Believe me; there's lots of women out there making less than you, and they'd probably be more appreciative of a little money spent on them.
There's no set rule.
Just don't be a cheap bastard.

Sophie's advice

Dear Not as Rich,
You should definitely not hold off on dating.
Why not just meet for a coffee on the first date? Or at an inexpensive restaurant? There are still places you can go that have good food and where the bill will come to maybe $20 - hard to believe but it is true. No, I am not talking McDonald's here, but there are for instance some great Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants out there you can try out.

If your date has not made any move to pay for half the bill by the third date, you need to be honest with her. Hopefully by that time you will have had some communication about where you both are at this stage of your life. At that time you can tell her that you are really enjoying getting to know her and would like to continue doing so but at this time you can not afford to pay for both of you each time.
If she can not appreciate that, then you're spending time with the wrong woman.

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