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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You're Gonna Pay For This. . .

Bill Dear Mistress Maeve,

I recently went on a first dinner date with a guy. I liked everything about him — until the bill came. He grabbed the check, studied it, and then told me what I owed for my half of the dinner. I don’t consider myself old-fashioned, and I can certainly afford to pay for my half of dinner — so why am I so bothered by this?

Cheap Date

Dear CD,

Shake it off and get with the times, sister. Men have had to sharpen their tactical skills to better navigate the dating minefield, where “Who pays for the first date?” is usually the first ambush. I feel bad for guys these days — some women expect them to pay, while others are insulted by the notion. To make matters muddier, most straight women fall somewhere in between. An informal poll of my friends and colleagues turned up answers like “Well, it all depends on who instigated the date,” “The guy can get the dinner, but then the girl should get the movie,” and my personal favorite, “Sometimes I pretend to go for my purse, but I’m secretly hoping he’ll offer to pay.”

What the . . . ?! How are men supposed to know what to do? At this rate, we’re lucky people will still agree to date without written contracts.

Don’t dismiss this guy just because he asked you to pay your half of the bill. In this world of mannies and stay-at-home dads, gender roles are shifting — and that includes first-date etiquette. You claim to be a progressive, successful woman — perhaps he picked up on that and didn’t want to blow his chances with you by coming off as a sexist jerk.

With my two cents,

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