Dating isn't easy, that much is clear. And when matters of money enter the calculation things tend to get even more confusing. Questions start popping up in a man's head. Am I ok paying for everything? How much is too much to spend? What if I make a lot more money than her? What if she makes way more more than I do?
In order to gain insights into these types of dilemmas sometimes it's necessary to step outside our own limiting male perspective. But who can we turn to in our quest for knowledge on this subject? Well, how about the ladies over at brokegirlsguide.com.
Broke Girl's Guide is a site dedicated to, and run by, some savvy women who enjoy getting the finer things in life without always throwing down a small fortune. These gals are sophisticated, stylish, smart, and they know how to scout out deals on designer merchandise like nobody's business. In short, they are exactly the kind of practical, thoughtful women that any man might hope to be dating.
BGG editors Erin Bunch and Michelle Vick, along with correspondent Amy Halvorsen, were kind enough to sit down with Mantuitive in a roundtable discussion that touched on dating, money, thriftiness and more. Below you'll find the fruits of that dialogue, highlighted by some keen insights into relationships and how income plays a role in how and who we choose to date.
Hope it helps.
1. Do Women Keep a Tally?
I think the logical (and suspicious) part of men's brains leads them to believe that women are secretly totaling up the sum of their date spending and making firm judgements based on how much money the guy is shelling out. But is that true or is that just an over analyzed male fear?
I don't think it's true at all. I've dated rich guys and not-so-rich guys (and guys whose assets have been recently frozen at the bank) -- it doesn't matter to me how much someone spends because it's zero indication of how much they like you... That said, there is always a mental tab of things a guy does for you but again, they don't necessarily need to involve spending. Flowers are nice but it doesn't matter if it's an orchid or a bundle picked from the neighbor's yard -- seriously! (For me, anyway). I'm not a materialistic girl, so it really is the thought that counts with me. I would die for a guy to actually write me a sweet note and snail mail it -- those are the things that earn major points. They may only happen on TV, but a girl can dream.
There might be girls out there who do keep a running tab of what their boyfriend has bought for them, but...that is not the type of girl that I would ever recommend dating!
Not true! Girls don't take a mental tally of exactly how much a guy spends on them. I think if a guy is an outlier, that is to say extremely cheap or extremely generous, that stands out. But it's all about the thought behind the spend. My current bf made me a mixed CD on our first date and took me ice skating. I'm still dating him a year later. I wish I could be a gold digger, but I don't have it in me.
2. Should a Guy Always Pick up the Check?
Call it chivalry. Call it gender roles. Call it tradition. But whatever you want to call it the history of dating suggests that they guy is always supposed to pay. True?
I'm an old-fashioned girl who was raised by a very Southern woman, so I actually do think that the guy should pay for most meals. It feels a little emasculating to me when the girl picks up the check. That being said, I don't need to be taken to fancy places, and I love picking up food and cooking meals for guys. (Like I said = old-fashioned.) I also love buying little surprises for guys like tickets or what-have-you... But when meals are involved, I have only insisted on sharing the check if I thought the guy sucked, and I didn't want to feel guilty about getting a free meal and then ignoring his post-date calls!
I have to be honest -- I prefer for the guy to pay for dates. You have no idea how much it costs to be a girl. Waxes, haircuts, highlights, makeup, clothing...and on and on and on. Just so men know, bikini waxes cost upwards of $50. However, it doesn't make sense for him to pay if you and your man make the same amount of money (give or take), or if he makes less. At least not every time. In this scenario, I prefer to trade off so we're not going dutch. One week, it's his turn, the next, mine.
Amy echoes the sentiment about check splitting:
The general feeling among most women I know is that the guy should pay for the first date. And honestly, I prefer the first date to be something inexpensive. It makes me uncomfortable to go somewhere super fancy on the first date (although maybe I am in the minority on that one!). Once you have started dating, it's totally acceptable to alternate paying for things. Going dutch is kind of unromantic. And it's old fashioned to expect the guy to throw down for everything. If you are dating a girl who expects this of you and never offers to pay, you've probably got a gold digga on your hands!
Next Page: Income Disparity, Thriftiness and More