Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's A Date!

This one is particularly for the ladies.

On the radio this morning was a discussion and call-in poll asking, "When do you know it's time to dump the guy you're dating?" I'll leave out the details as the answers were mostly cliché and the rest you can probably guess on your own. However, the question I'm pondering right now is, "What's a date?" The date question is rather interesting because I haven't really dated in many years. Being in my early forties and deciding to remain child-free, much of the "needing to prove he can provide for a family" thing is pretty well a moot point. Most of my single women friends are professionals and own their own homes and so on.

One of the answers from the poll this morning was, "Dump the guy if he makes you pay during the date." Well this comment had me particularly perplexed. So is a date where the guy pays for everything? How do I know when to pay for everything? Should I be paying for the food every time I meet one of my women friends for lunch (or dinner)? Assuming that I only pay for lunch if I'm romantically interested in the person, does that mean that paying for lunch implies some kind of favor in return? That seems rather insulting, at best. What if I meet someone from work for lunch and she's going right back to work afterward? What if this person has worked her ass off to move up the ladder to be able to give herself a great life financially? The problem is that women have changed the environment where dating occurs, but many expect that the rules for dating are the same.

I've been told that it's better to get to know someone before crossing into the realm of romance. Getting to know the person as a friend makes moving beyond that point quite difficult. Falling for someone based on how they look and knowing them for an hour or so gives the appearance of being shallow. It's darn near impossible to provide the proverbial "just make me feel special" when I can't even say, yet, what your version of "special" is.

I am not a misogynist or a "chauvinist pig" -- quite the contrary, in fact. When I say I'm looking for a soulmate, companion, or girlfriend, what I'm really saying is I'm looking for a partner. While being alone has its advantages (flexibility, quiet, etc.) it really does kind of suck going through life entirely on your own. I can think of more than one occasion where it would have been nice to be able to get a second opinion on a topic from someone who knew me intimately well, who I could trust on a deep level. It would be great to have someone to help with projects that are more easily done with two people. I'm looking for a mutual appreciation of our differences, and at the same time sharing a common set of morals/ethics/direction. Sure, let's not forget intimacy and sex and all that. Bottom line is that there is an apparent chasm between meeting someone, friends, dating, and moving toward something more meaningful. One time 20 years ago, I thought I knew how to bridge that gap. The older I get, the less I find I understand and the more frustrated I become trying to figure it out.

So back to the question, "What's a date?" I'll make this posting an audience participation project.


Speck said...

ok, here's a comment. Sorry I'm not checking this that often!

Here's my take:
A 'date' is where you are both romantically inclined and have agreed to meet for lunch/dinner/movie/theater/museum/etc. At this point, I feel the man should pay for the date. Just to clarify - this is not going to lunch with a work friend. Even if you 'like' her, unless both parties are aware it is a 'date', then it's NOT. I feel the man should pay for the date because it's chivalrous and polite -much like holding doors open. Michael held car doors open for about a month. We're more settled into a 'relationship' now, so I don't feel like he has to do that. Holding building doors open is another thing, but I feel any polite person should hold the door open for the person behind them.

Ok, I need to re-read your post before I say more...

Speck said...

ok, I've re-read it. I'll comment on the 'dump him if he makes you pay'. depends how early in the relationship we're talking. If we go to a fancy restaurant on the first date and the guy expects me to pony up some money, then that would bother me. For the first couple weeks, Michael paid for everything. On the other hand, if I invite him to the restaurant, then I feel I would pay. We did this with Melting Pot. I wanted to go, so I paid. When Michael wants to go out to dinner, he pays. It's kinda a weird pattern we've fallen into. But, he also makes more money than I do, so I don't get all righteous and indignant feeling I should pay for my half. I'm perfectly happy having him pay for stuff. (but I did pay for lunch today since I invited him out).

next item:
I've heard people say you should get to know someone first. I disagree with that. It's very difficult for me to go from 'friend' to 'boyfriend'. If someone's my friend, I have clearly moved them into 'friend' category. Even if I was interested in them when I first met them, if something didn't happen in the first month or so, I basically turn those feelings off and firmly put him in my mind as 'friend'. It's easier to go out with someone new. I don't agree with your verbiage "Falling for someone based on how they look and knowing them for an hour or so gives the appearance of being shallow." It's not 'falling' for them. It's 'hey, this person doesn't repulse me, is fairly interesting, and seems fairly intersted in me too. I'd like to see him again and get to know him better'. I'd say I 'fell' for Michael on our second date when he cooked me dinner. At that point I knew I could go out with him further. Of course, our first date was 12 hours.

I'll be posting about this on my blog tonight. You've raised some intersting points.