Listening To: The Way I Are by Timbaland
Let me first state my dating treatise up front, so that there is absolutely no confusion (nor any "gold-digger" accusations) -
I will not support my "paying on a date" philosophy by stating the fallacy that I was raised to be old-fashioned. Even though my mom did instill some old-fashioned beliefs (which only became instilled after I had rolled my eyes and scoffed at her openly, then - to my chagrin - systematically observed her mantras to be true), I came by my personal philosophy through careful study, life experience, and logical thought.
Here's my basic philosophy: If I ask you out on a date, I consider it my responsibility to plan and pay for the date. I would never call some guy, ask him out, and then say, "Thanks for accepting my invitation...oh, by the way, figure out what we're going and what we're doing and then let me know." It's kind of like hosting a party and asking all the guests to come early to help set up for it. It's tacky.
You can imagine, then, my philosophy when the roles are reversed.
I am always prepared to pay my way on a date. In fact I expect it, as I know not everyone shares in my philosophy.
I did not expect, however, to spend 60 dollars when I went on a date a couple of nights ago.
What do you say?! When you have no idea where you're going or what you're doing, and then you're just there and there is no way to get out of spending at least 20 dollars on whatever it is they've planned...how does that work when you're on a budget?! I wouldn't have gone on the date unless I had a little extra cash to spend...I mean, dates are dates, but I'm committed to this budget thing and I've already bailed on at least five dates so far because I didn't have the money in my budget for them. And, as I previously stated, I'm not a money-grubbing whore. I am flattered and impressed by a man's gentility when he wants to pay for the date, but that's not why I'm going on the date with him. I can get a free dinner from the majority of my adoring male friends...I don' need to be goin' out wit' chu, talkin' 'bout yo' mama's friends jes' so's I can eat (it does, however, take this particular dilemma out of the equation when a guy pays during a date...but that's not why I appreciate it. Let's stop talking about this, it makes me uncomfortable).
I know the obvious answer is to be honest with them about the blog and budget. Would you want to tell someone you're on a date with about how you're on a ten-dollar-a-day budget because you're trying to get your shit together? One of the reasons why I'm doing this is so that I don't get into a relationship down the road and end up packing my crappy credit score along with my china when he gets down on one knee and asks me to move in with him. If I get into an actual relationship with someone, of course I'll be nothing but honest and upfront about this whole deal. But on a date? No thanks. Nothing gets a date in the mood to make out with you more than laying out all of your past financial transgressions over dinner (five star, three courses).
I also know what Seventeen magazine would tell me, and that's to suggest cheap and possibly free date ideas. I would do this anyway, simply because I prefer those types of dates: They tend to be more spontaneous and fun. I recently went on a date that involved taking the light rail to the airport and then walking around said airport. Fun? Yes. Memorable? Believe it. Costing either of us sixty dollars? Hells to the no. But the thing is, these aren't my dates. Unless they actually ask me what my preferences are, I'm not going to be so presumptuous as to insist we hang out at McDonalds instead.
I've already given up smoking. And Starbucks. And new scarves and hats at Urban Outfitters. Also, on a couple of nights, happy hours with beloved friends. There was a time when this girl would gladly use the "I'm trying to be financially responsible" excuse to get out of dating, but that time is no longer.
So what's a thrifty girl to do?