Guess Who’s Paying For Dinner?

Dear Duana,

I really liked Diana, and I thought the chemistry was there.  But she’s vague about another date.  My women friends say I doomed it by going halves, which I only did because during my long former marriage, I heard that some women take offense to traditional dating.  They couldn’t say why I should’ve paid, but they were adamant that I should have.   Are they right?  If so, why?  Is there a good way to approach Diana one more time?    


Dear Duana,

I’m a grad student, so when my friend Eva offered to set me up with Traci, I said I’d need to split the cost.  Eva then declined to set us up unless I agreed to pay the whole bill.  I’m not opposed to paying sometimes, but it doesn’t seem fair, modern, or economically wise for me to do it now.  What’s the answer? 



Dear Doug and Drew,

Your intentions sound good, well-reasoned, and fair.  And I’d like to say that’s enough.

But the Road To Sex is not paved with good intentions.  It’s paved with good attentions—including spending money on the woman you’re interested in.   

Here’s why:


Paying Men = Popular Men:

Fear not that you will offend via generosity, Doug.  Extensive evolutionary research shows that women all over the world, no matter how rich they are, prefer the Paying Man.    

And my professional observations most definitely concur.  Notwithstanding urban legends of Angry Women Who Amputate Paying-Men’s Nads; nor my decade-plus as relationship consultant to women who can afford their own dinner (and yours, too); nor 20 years amongst highly educated, competent professionals with a steadfast belief in equal pay for equal work; nor extensive in-class interactions with today’s gorgeous and ambitious women—

I have never met one who abhorred the Paying Man simply because he paid. 

But I’ve encountered many who were angered by, confused about, and ultimately Unwilling To Put Out For (or up with) the Non-Paying Man. 


Put another way, there are two kinds of men: Those who pay for dinner, and those we just don’t like anymore. 


Paying Men = Committing Men:

Why would equality-valuing women risk hypocrisy by trying to have it both ways?  Why shouldn’t they pay their own way if they can?   

Because love and sex are about something more Core than fairness or logic.   They’re about our physical and Genetic survival (details are available at the Love Science articles linked below my signature).  We want what our ancestors wanted—and we want those things because They Worked, carrying those ancestral preferences all the way down to us in a literally unbroken line.    

And here’s where our emotions come in.  They make the stuff that Worked feel Great, and the stuff that failed feel Awful.    

Thus, women’s emotions operate from an ancient logic, helping women feel Good in the presence of a Man Who Is *Willing* And *Able* To Provide And Protect…

and Bad when their date divvies the bill.     

Men invest where they love, and women know it.  So what women correctly, albeit often unconsciously sense behind non-investment is non-love, insecurity, and  a bad long-term bet. 

So if *she* pays (yes, even if she asked you out!), her emotions send up the red flares:  “He either can’t or won’t provide.  Danger.”   Her ancestral mothers’ psychology adds:   “You’re just a hook-up; you’ll be abandoned, abused, diseased, impoverished, or left in danger of losing your life through an unsupported pregnancy.”


Upshot?  A man’s failure to Pay clearly tells women they won’t be getting what their long-term mating psychology most requires:  Commitment.

And women who know there’ll never be Commitment tend to short-circuit men’s short-and-long-term mating goal: Sex.     


Which brings us to Who Pays For Dinner:  You. 

By now, the solution is obvious:  Pay The Entire Bill, especially on the first few dates.  Pay it willingly, generously, and as if you’re truly glad to do so, because *willingness* to provide is at least as important to women as ability.        

Observe your own feelings as you fork over the Visa.  Your emotions, just like hers, convey vital information.  If being with this woman is a job, not a joy, and you resent paying—that’s a message from your Gut that she’s Not Worth It to you.  Move on.  Finding it out might cost you dinner now, but that’s a lot cheaper than divorce later. 

What you needn’t be is Lavish, Drew.  Plan a date you can easily afford in full.  A swim at a pool that shows movies at night is inventive, fun, and affordable .  Plus, need I elaborate?  You get to see what your date looks like wearing Not Much.  A walk around the local lake, followed by a picnic you’ve packed, is inexpensive, but it shouts what women want to hear: “I Am Willing To Do For, Think About, And Provide For YOU.”   

And Doug, in your case, it sounds as if you have means and only require reassurance that dating etiquette hasn’t changed that much.  Now that you’ve got it, you might call Diana and leave her a voicemail like this:

“Diana, this is Doug.  I’m hoping you’ll give me a moment to explain something.  I’m thinking I may have put you off by going dutch on our date.  Ironically, I was trying to avoid offending you by seeming too traditional.  I really like you, and I’m hoping you’ll give me another shot at taking you out properly.  How about it?  I’ll call you back tomorrow and hope for a yes.  Take care.” 

If she has some other reason for declining, this probably won’t change her mind…but if Non-Payment really was the issue, I’ll bet you’ll get that second chance. 


Whatever you do, don’t follow the example of our very distant cousin the scorpionfly.  He begins his date well enough, offering up his ladylove’s favorite food—a dead insect.  But things often go downhill from there.  As soon as she begins eating, he gets on, gets off, and then, most caddishly, clambers down…to steal back whatever she hasn’t yet consumed. 

Talk about paying for dinner!

Wishing you both the best—and a Bon Appetit—





Related Love Science articles:


The author wishes to acknowledge the following scientists and sources: 

David M. Buss, for his riveting presentation of what men want, what women want, (what scorpionflies want)—and why, in The Evolution Of Desire - Revised Edition 4 .


If this article intrigued, surprised, affirmed or enlightened you, please click “Share Article” below to link it with your favorite social media website. 

All material copyrighted by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D. and Love Science Media, 2010

Do you have a question for Duana?  Contact her at


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Reader Comments (22)

I keyed in to your recommendation to have us monitor our own thoughts on whether dating experiences feel like jobs or joys, and whether or not there's resentment felt over paying. Your admonition, "that’s a message from your Gut that she’s Not Worth It to you," reminds me of similar points addressed in the book, "Mindsight," written by Daniel Siegel, an M.D. who conducts neuropsychological research at UCLA. According to Siegel many branches of nerve cells around the heart have been linked to communicate directly with the social centers of our brain located in the prefrontal region. Based on qualitative evidence achieved by mapping the nervous system with magnetic imaging equipment; arousal from feelings of love and attraction do heighten an actual heartfelt sense that stimulates this connection found linked between the heart and mind. I find it reassuring that some of our intuitive love sense which makes the heart beat faster produces signals and routes them to areas of the brain designed to help us interpret the language of love.

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJames Horrigan

James--*exactly*. Emotions are one of the best clues we have as to what aided or thwarted ancestral survival, and usually what continues to Work in the realms of love and attraction today. Like you, I find it reassuring that even if we don't usually know *why* something feels Wrong, we're usually correct and are best avoiding whatever initiated that feeling.

Thank you for the information about Siegel's book. Well-put. I haven't read that one, but will now.


August 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Here are responses some Wise Readers have sent me so far:

--From a young woman:

" this should be a public service announcement for the betterment of modern dating! i mean it should be taken to the airwaves, to hit as wide of an audience as possible!!
Kinda like those "Dont Drink and Drive" Ads that celebrities have to do for community service on TV.

August 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

From a married mom of two sons:

--"I found that on this vacation we just completed, our family was much happier when Daddy paid. Granted, I had all the travel money tucked away and budgeted, but as long as I doled out the appropriate amount of cash (hooray, Dave Ramsey!) prior to entering a restaurant and Daddy "paid the bill", there was no tension. The one or two times I attempted to simply pay directly from the budget pocket, we were all greeted with the "I can get it!" and "Let me pay!" and the proverbial grinding of teeth.

"It was good for our boys to see us spend wisely and make good choices with a set amount of funds, but it was also good for the boys to see how to treat others and take the reins, so to speak. We have only a few years before our older son will be datable, and we want him to be respectful and attentive in whatever way he can to whomever he chooses."

August 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

From a wife and mother of three boys and one girl:

-- "‎"Men invest where they love, and women know it. So what women correctly, albeit often unconsciously sense behind non-investment is non-love, insecurity, and a bad long-term bet. "...It's so true! A lot of times it's not something women want to acknowledge, or that they understand consciously.....but unconsciously, they totally know it just the same. His time, his attention, his money, his energy....wherever those are going, that's where his love is. No question."

August 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

From a man deeply in love with his girlfriend:

--" When [my girlfriend] and I went out the first time I automatically paid the bill for dinner while she was in the restroom (so there wouldn't be any jousting for the check); it just seemed to be the polite thing to do. I had no idea how thrilled it would make her."

August 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

From a mom of two boys:

" Like like like -- that, I think, was the absolute heart of truth in the article. If I had to boil it down to one sentence, that would be it ("Men invest where they love...")"

August 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

So here's my question -- what about when the dating couple is in high school? I've always been flummoxed about that since the kids rarely have any real money. What I always had my daughter do was find little ways she could contribute where she wasn't officially paying, like buying tickets in advance, showing up with cherry limeades, or bringing the picnic when the date was a hanging-out-at-the-park thing. It all worked out okay, but never quite felt perfectly comfortable. And I still found myself suggesting that she hand those tickets over for her date to present. It's just all so awkward, and when you don't want your kids constantly having to find, um, "free" things to do, you feel compelled to make the financial issue easier. What's the answer?

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Hi, Monica,

These same basic emotions/actions apply at all ages and income levels. What is a very long adolescence today was most of a person's adulthood during the Stone Age--so the same reactions, actions and advice hold, since antiquity is whenceforth our psychology springs.

The need to find a way to date is a major reason high school boys, especially, want and need employment. Although girls can contribute in the ways you suggested, doing so with a new boy, or doing something that required her to put up the money more than merely occasionally, is likely to bring up awkward feelings for her (and her date).

The answer, I think, is to do things that are dirt-cheap most of the time, splurge some of the time, and understand that the boy will be paying nearly all of the time. Like adults, they'll need to find a way to have some fun within their (mostly his) means...and like teens throughout history, I imagine they will find a way--hopefully without introducing the next generation too soon!

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Love this article!

How about later on in the relationship? Can the girl start paying at some point?

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

Hmmm... 2 random things come to mind:

1. I'm all for the teen-age boys getting jobs (especially summer jobs ...) In the meantime, what are the pros and cons of the parental units slipping him a little dating money ...?

2. Seems that women are wanting to have their cake, and eat it, too. In other words, they expect to be paid the same wage as a man on their jobs (their professional lives) yet they still expect men to foot the whole bill for the dating game (their personal lives). Is that your take on it? If I were a man, that might rub me the wrong way, i.e., why am I expected to take care of a woman who can take care of herself? :)

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGillian

One thing I always have to remember is that I am but one data point. Although, in this case, I guess I am two. I am a remarried widower, and my first wife was the exact opposite of this. She paid at least as often as I did, and would have scoffed at all of this. She was fiercely protective of her independence and that manifested itself in our finances.

My current wife, though, fits this perfectly. Again, everything all comes from the same pot, so in my logical, accountant's analytical brain, it doesn't matter who pays. But she feels more valued and loved when I pay. I don't think it is conscious; but it is definitely there.

One last thing: I think it is equally true that women invest in what they love.

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurtis

Hi, Joan,

Research shows that the first impression tends to be the most lasting (Grandma and Mom were right). So it's most important that a man begin the relationship by showing that he is a willing and able provider.

But your question hits the next point right on: Continuing 100% Payment is not necessary (indeed, I have never met an honorable woman, successful woman, or client who either insisted upon, nor wanted, that).

Although I've not found anything specifying exactly how long men's exclusive support of dating costs ought to continue, it seems that both women and men are well-served by the man paying for everything for at least the first three dates...

This is enough time for the guy to understand at a Gut level whether she's Worth It to him, and for her to see his willingness as a sign that she's not just a hook-up (Science is clear that guys who just want to have a one-nighter, nothing more, are not often willing to pay for as many as three dates...they'll find easier women, I mean an easier method).

In my professional experience, then, there does seem to be something about the first three dates that lets each person know whether this is something for Never, Now, or maybe Forever. After date three, most women seem to be willing and able to help with the tab, or even provide in full at times, without incurring much emotional turmoil...

Before that, though, it appears to me that women who tolerate non-payment are asking to be played, and will usually find that this kind of playing hurts.

And men, also in my professional experience, often find that if they don't pay, they either get Nowhere with the woman...or they get Somewhere, but then are confused as to why they feel so little even though they got the sex. Because, as it happens--it's not only the case that where men love, they's also the case that it's hard for them to walk away from free sex.

In other words, men who don't Pay usually get Nowhere, but getting Somewhere can be equally bad--I've seen more than one man eventually married to a woman he didn't even love, just because she made things so darn easy for him, he couldn't seem to find a way to get away (until the ugly divorce--preceded by the loveless marriage).

Thanks for the question!

August 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Dear Gillian,

I'm not a financial advisor, nor expert in the ways of giving enough, yet not too much, to one's offspring. Most of what I do know on the matter comes from the research presented in the "Millionaire Next Door" series, which makes the following abundantly clear:
--Giving kids any sizable fortune before they reach the age of 40 undermines their confidence, ambition and independence.
--Giving them even a vast fortune after 40 does not seem to have any negative impact on the now-adult-kids' productivity or confidence.

However, I've not seen anything about small amounts of money and their impact--ie, the "a little dating money" to which you've referred. The solution we've reached in our family is to teach our son to Pay for his dates--but to allow him *lots* of opportunity to earn that money here at home, by doing the things that need doing.

I welcome and encourage others to weigh in with their opinions, experiences and (if they know of any) research!

August 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.


As for your second excellent query regarding hypocrisy:

I seem to be in a lot of good company among relationship scientists when I say, unequivocally, that Love, Dating, Marriage, Sex--are *not* about fairness. Not now. Not in the past. And, my guess is, not in our lifetimes, nor our children's, nor their children's.

Instead, all these emotion-riddled relationships are about Getting What We Want. And ultimately, Getting What We Want boils down to what effectively assured the success of the two Prime Goals of all of Life:
--Survive long enough, not only to procreate, but to raise those children to a procreative age;

This has always created a lot of tension between the sexes, because what is most Procreatively effective for men is often in direct conflict with what is most Procreatively effective for women, and versa-vice. (Please see the numerous Love Science article links at the end of this post for abundant examples!)

One thing that emerges from the fray, though, is that *both* sexes are very well-served by establishing and maintaining at least one long-term committed love relationship. Men and women both have better odds of survival, procreation, and personal happiness and health that way.

And the way to get there includes men's continued investment in the woman, especially up-front, and her continued vigilance to avoid any man who will not so invest. (Please see my response to Joan, above.)

All that said--100% of my women clients over the years have asked me the question you did about Fairness. I've asked it of myself. How, we've reasoned, can we earn high wages--yet want a guy to pay our dinner bill?

Yet we've found that our emotions refuse to go along with the logic. After all this research, what I've come to is this: Modern logic simply doesn't serve us as well as ancient logic in this particular matter. It may feel awkward to accept a man paying the tab when we can afford it--but it feels even worse, to the Core, for *us* to pay it. "Men Invest Where They Love..."

Finally, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that although most women in developed nations express a strong belief in equal pay for equal work, very few of us actually *get* equal pay for equal work. The stats are extremely clear: In all positions of leadership, in virtually every field--even fields that have many more women than men, such as nursing and teaching--the best-paid, most exalted, and most powerful are men at a greater than 9-to-1 margin. Women are still much likelier than men to be unemployed, underemployed, employed by small businesses without benefits, and earning low wages...most cannot afford the dining tab. And that's in the industrialized world--nevermind the rest of it.

Then, post-pregnancy, that gap increases. Hugely.

So maybe women aren't really having their cake and eating it, after all...

As for men who are rubbed wrong by all that, I get it. And indeed, I initially considered writing very different advice to these guys: "Take out women who have low self-esteem, very little confidence, unappealing looks, and who are substantially older than you are...they will usually accept paying half the bill without penalizing you." The problem, though, is that both these men, like men around the world, want a lovely-looking, nubile, young woman...and those women Know in their gut that they simply do Not Have To Put Up With being stuck with half the tab. Young, beautiful, and/or confident women know they can hold out for Love and Commitment rather than lovelessness and being used for their sexual favors. They can easily afford to hold out for being treated well--that is, provided for--and they usually do.

So any guy who wants youth and beauty--and as you know without scouring the international data, that's nearly all of them--is going to need to Pay For Dinner. Or else watch a Paying Man court and win all the Fair Flowers.

Love--it's not about Fair--it's about Winning.

August 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Dear Curtis,

Thank you for the reminder: Although science is great at telling us what most of the people will do most of the time, nothing tells us what every individual will do at every point in time; and there are always exceptions. We all know the smoker who lived 'til 90, even though that's clearly not the way to bet. And we probably all know the young, lovely woman who courted a man and got a loving husband into the bargain--again, though, it's not the way to bet. Both smoking and women Paying are excellent routes to becoming heartsick, statistically speaking.

Or, as a friend of mine often reminds me, "If [whatever behavior we're decrying] never worked, people would never do it."

I also like your point about how women feel regarding men Paying in the context of a marriage where they are sharing all their resources. Although I don't know of data on this, I find your second wife's reaction really interesting: She still prefers you to pay, even though it's all coming from your joint accounts. Apparently, it's still very important to her, symbolically, that you continue showering her with signs you're still Willing to provide. I noted that same thing in one of the reader comments sent me privately (see above), where the wife said everything went more smoothly for her entire family, including her extended family, when they all observed her husband paying the tab, rather than her paying it--even though it all comes from the same till.

This gets back, I think, to why most women Really Care about who Pays. It's not that they are money-grubbing gold-diggers with a heart only for a guy's wallet--but that they see his wallet as a sign of what's in *his* heart. It's clear in research that women are vigilant throughout a marriage for signs her husband isn't investing in another woman because his Investment--in her or anyone else--is a sign of his Love.

So perhaps your now-wife's attitude isn't all that unusual. When you reach for the bill, maybe she is seeing Willingness...and that feels good to her.

As long as you're both feeling great about things, more power to you!

Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with your last point: "It is equally true that women invest in what they love." We do. We invest in lost opportunities for money (for we can't usually make as much, particularly when children come); we invest with our bodies (sexually and then procreatively); and we invest by putting our loved ones often ahead of ourselves. People who say they love--but won't then invest--are lying.

That said, men and women tend to invest along different, predictable, worldwide lines. But it's still investment.

August 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

I agreed with your entire thesis, Dr. D . . .it was well stated.

The point made in the posts though, about earning money? People need to attain the same clarity about money that you are providing here about sex and relationships. My thesis: Money is not a reward for one's worthiness, never has been. Money is not about fairness or even due compensation.

Money is an incentive system . . . it is offered in return for your agreement to provide a considered good or service. There are certainly goods/services for which women are offered MORE money than men. (ex. supermodels, some health care professionals, some performing artists). It also depends on WHO has the initial trove and who is doing the offering. And please, anyone who reads this, do not mistake my comments for a justification of pay inequities anywhere in the world. I recognize them and I understand the pain caused . . . but men and women are both targeted by those who offer money to us. If you want *more*, you are expected to GIVE more of what is wanted.

Back to men paying for dinner and date events. I want to pay and I like to pay. It is only money, for heaven's sake. People who are worthwhile company will reciprocate over time. If I feel unappreciated, I will know when to stop with being generous . . . but I will be generous first.

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Tom, although I agree with the premise that equal work should create equal pay, it's clear in gender and equity research that women are often placed in a position where no matter how much they give, they are flat-out prevented from attaining the same status and pay as men in the same position. For instance, it's well-doc'd in law firms and accounting firms that women who put in the same number of hours at the same quality of work fail to make partner many times more often than men do... Very often, the rationale is that many jobs require people to act like men to succeed--but then penalize women for being "too mannish"/not feminine enough.

The very first Supreme Court case in which social psychologists were called on to provide scientific data, in fact, concerned that matter. In it, a woman was denied being made partner at an accounting firm. Although she was more productive (brought in and serviced more accounts) than the partners and partners-to-be (all male), she was denied promotion and was told point blank that she should "go to charm school" and dress more femininely. The Supreme Court justice who wrote the majority opinion--which found for the woman--said the plaintiff had been "placed in an intolerable double-bind--out of a job if she didn't behave like a man, and out of a job if she did."

On another note, I'll bet you are a popular date, because Generosity is indeed hugely attractive to us XX chromosome-types. I'm wondering: Were you ever generous with a woman who turned out to be Not Worth It, and did your generosity help you discover that?


PS: Nice to see you back on the thread...

August 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.


When it comes to teen males and dating, I wish we hadn't completely dumped all of those fifties "What To Do On a Date" films. There was the idea of doing things in a group and of coming up with fun activities that didn't cost much but that (not incidentally) allowed a guy to show off some of his better qualities.

For example, our church teens put together a haunted house at Halloween to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Doing that together would be fun -- who doesn't like to dress up scary and jump out at people? And it shows a guy has an interest in the larger community and a charitable side.

Hiking and biking show physical fitness and an interest in nature. Museums and nosebleed seats that the symphony show that a guy has a brain that thinks beyond video games and what's for dinner (and it doesn't matter if you can see the orchestra very well if it's a concert). In other words, instead of showing off your wallet, you show off your skills, interests, and potential.

I also think that it is a great idea to give teen guys (and girls) the chance to earn extra money doing chores so they have money for dates. I doubt it is a good idea to slip them cash with no strings attached, mainly because it is important for all teens to understand that dating is a privelege you earn, not a right.

It's a little weird to think of parents as providing cash for dates. "Here, son, go out and get yourself something nice, you know, with boobies."

But there is another reason I'm leery of parent-funded dating. I honestly think humans are more careful with money they've earned than money that just shows up. A teenage guy who is free with money on dates is going to attract girls who want a guy who is free with money -- that is, ye olde golddiggers. Or maybe at that age they're just silverdiggers.

Not to open a can of worms (too late!), but I think when a guy's money comes easy, the women rate his worth by his cash. When a man earns his money, then his worth is tied to other qualities.


While I think that Duana is also right in saying that it is perfectly functional in a relationship to split the check or have the woman pay after the first three dates, in ye olden days there were other ways for a woman to contribute, and I've used all of them to good effect. When I was dating my Awesome Hubby, he would pick me up on a Friday night and I would have waiting for him a loaf of my amazing fresh-baked bread.

For some reason, my experience is that guys are much more attracted by either a home-cooked meal or another non-expensive show of prowess. Men seem to be put-off by women who always make sure to pay tit-for-tat (um, you know what I mean) or, worse yet, women make up for the man paying on the first few dates by paying for more expensive dates.

A woman who comes up with inexpensive activities (see hiking, biking, and charitable efforts, above) and asks her guy to participate is communicating that she likes the guy whether or not he spends cash without engaging in a show of monetary prowess herself. This seems to me to be very effective in evening out the load in a way that shows off really good traits like thriftiness.

While going dutch seems pretty sane when you are actually "dating"' someone in particular, I just have this strong sense that women should avoid showing off how much money they have. Unless they are mainly just trying to bed the hunky poolboy.


As for the issue that women want equal pay for equal work but don't respond well to men who ask to go dutch right off the bat: the underlying idea there is that amount and quality of a man's or woman's work should be the key to how much he or she gets paid. Two people who give the same amount of productivity should get paid the same, regardless of dating habits, blood types, religious commitments, or amount of ear hair. Even though people with lots of ear hair need to shell out for clippers and ear-wax removal products.

Once we assume that it might be okay for men to earn more because they have to pay for the first 3 or 4 dates by themselves, then we are assuming that people should get paid according to what they need to do or would like to do outside of work, not what they actually do at work. In that case, single moms (and single dads) should earn a LOT more per hour than single guys/gals without kids, and people with heavy mortgages should get more than renters, etc., and that way lies . . . well, it's a whole different economic system than what we have here in the US.

Me, I think gas should cost about the same per gallon whether the station owner is a guy who likes to take women out frequently or a woman sworn to celibacy -- or a transexual who needs huge amounts of cash to complete very important additions to his or her model train layout.

Not that I would totally oppose a model-train-layout bailout. We Americans should be second to none in our total Model Train Capacity and Quality. Yeah, we totally can beat the Axis of Evil with a 5000 square foot HO scale layout with Classic Country Scenes throughout.

Um, I seem to have gotten a little off topic. I'll stop now.

August 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMocha's Mom

Thank you for the welcoming. I come here to learn from each of you.

To answer your direct question, D, I am sometimes popular and sometimes not. I am sometimes generous and sometimes not (depending on whether I am confident, or fearful at that point in my life). Age and experience have granted me confidence lately, which is good.

There have been a few times when I realized that a person I liked was not "a worthwhile companion" through their unwillingness to be generous in turn. I am sure that some people have thought that about me in the past, too. But many more people I've known were very worthwhile and generous in return . . . and still the relationship can change. I no longer label people with permanent Sharpies, because they *do* change back and forth.


The money issue that is interwoven with this topic interests me (fair warning). Both D and Mocha's Mom clasp tightly the concept of "earning" promotion, pay and status. My statements did not use that same language and suggest a much different model. And believe me, I used to subscribe to the one you are assuming.

But, again, promotion/pay/status is not "earned" by you and me . . . any more than I can earn your love. In some cases you give me love because it feels good to you that you give it, and in other cases you give me "love status and trappings" because I have met your requirements and show signs that I'll continue to meet them.

Well, it's the same with money. It's NOT about gender discrimination, it's about commerce and passion. Rather than continuing my thesis here, I would rather that you consider it for awhile and see if you know of any supporting data. My experience supports my model of economic rewards, just as my experience supports Dr. D's models of male/female interactions ;-)

August 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Dear Mocha's Mom & Tom,

Although I'm going to drop the Economics issue for now and just talk about the economics of dating, I appreciate each of your thoughts and theses thereon.

MM, two points you made especially resonated:

1. Teenage boys (and indeed young men 'til the colleg years are out) are indeed being judge more on their potential than the actual amount of money they have. Although women globally prefer resource-wielders to impoverished men, women also prefer a mate who is only about two years older than themselves. Since women tend to need to find a mate while still Young & Hot, this means women are making their deal *before* most men have made their fortune.

Therefore, as the science shows, young women tend to look to *economic potential* more than actual money in high school and college. Signs of potential are varied, including intelligence, diligence, ambition, family connections, etc.

What is *not* needed is parental bankrolling of dates. As you pointed out so astutely, men can showcase their intellect and other sexxxy qualities (including thoughtfulness) by finding ways to share whatever resources they have.

Personally, my fave guys were always the ones who brought bouquets of widflowers from the roadside...

2. I also agree with you, based on The Evidence, that women's reciprocity post-Date-Three should be symbolic rather than equivalent. Tit-for-tat is not only needless, it can undermine masculine investment in You and the Relationship, whereas wholehearted, genuine Thanks and being truly (and obviously Happy) with what he provides is alluring. The baked-bread thang you did is fantastic. So is making a photo album of a trip you both took; or making curtains for his camper; or shelling the scallops after scalloping together; or when asked, suggesting something inexpensive that *he* would love doing; etc.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.


And Tom, I may have to borrow your "permanent Sharpies" comment for a motto. All of us respond to our circumstances (well, maybe not the Dalai Lama--he's pretty tranquil, it would seem).

We have fluctuations in how much confidence, generosity and any number of other qualities we can share. And we also vary in how much we're willing to show those qualities to different it should be.

That's why being Chosen is so special. As the song said, "It Had To Be You". Not just anyone will do.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.
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