Saturday, February 12, 2011

The High Cost of Dating

When I lived in Cincy, I read about the high cost of being a Bengals cheerleader. A typical cheerleader is paid about $60 a game and only does home games. At best she probably only makes about $120-$180 a month depending on the schedule. The same cheerleader ends up paying monthly over $1100 for parking fees, gym membership, tanning,acrylic nails and other associated cheerleading expenses. It isn’t cheap being a cheerleader. Of course, every cheerleader hopes the expenses rakes in major benefits in the form of a modeling contract or an NFL husband.

Ironically stepping into the dating world can be a great deal like being an NFL cheerleader. The men tend to think it is just them who drops cash, but they are so wrong. We women need to get ready before even considering dating. That includes at the base level getting in shape, which may require a gym membership or at best a few workout tapes. Secondly, the hair is the next item from trimming it to dying it, often both. Professionally whitening teeth is important since magazines point out that yellowed teeth are a real aging factor. Then it might be off to acrylic nails and a pedicure. Nails are an expense that keeps on giving. Now that the outside is fixed up it is on to clothing.

After consulting various girlfriends and magazines,the very least you can get by with is new pair of jeans, hot top, dress, killer heels and appropriate jewelry. Depending on the weather, a new coat and boots might be needed too. Definitely some Spanx to smooth out all those extra lumps the gym membership did not trim off. The wardrobe list grows as you continue to date because you can’t wear the same thing on every date. But now it is time to get a date, so you now have the expense of an online-dating site or the pricey option of hanging out at trendy clubs with your girlfriends. If you do meet a guy or two and suddenly you’re spending a great deal of time chatting then it might be time to update your phone package.

Don't forget the incidentals such as parking, gas, breath mints and possibly paying for your date. Many men don’t think they should pay for the first date. They don’t want to think they wasted $10 on a meal for a woman they never want to see again. The woman may have already spent as much as $850 getting ready to date a man who is too cheap to pay for her meal. Who cares if he wants to go out again? A man this cheap and inconsiderate isn’t worthy of another date.

In retrospect, I thought a woman buying her own food made her independent. I’ve met guys who expected me to buy my own food and drink and I did. Did I go out with them again? No. There were about five of them as well as I can remember. One man insisted on buying nothing as we talked for over an hour. When I suggested the restaurant might not like us not ordering something he suggested we leave. Another one barreled up to barista put in his coffee and pastry order before I even could say hello. The other three were variations on the same them.

I tried to honestly evaluate if I didn’t date them because they were tightwads, but that wasn’t it. It was more that they were inconsiderate of my feelings and needs. It made me understand one woman’s profile I read online when I accidentally logged in as a man. A very attractive woman stated she did not do coffee house dates because she worked too hard to get ready for a 15 minute look-see date. If a man was going to date her, then he was going to treat her to a real date where she did not carry her own tray. She also specified that her date should not show up in shorts or a tank top. He had to be properly attired. Her lengthy description of what she would or would not accept included that she expected the man to pay for the date because she already spent enough money getting ready for the date. At first, I thought her profile was pretty gutsy. Later on, I considered her more intelligent than most. Finally, I wondered if she got what she demanded. I hope she did. She definitely had a better chance than most since she laid it out plain.

After all of this, what are the benefits? If I could say I found my soul mate, perhaps John Cusack, then I could say it paid off big time. But I did find someone, interesting that I didn’t totally know. I stumbled across myself, a self I wasn’t that familiar with. Dating has allowed me to do things I’d probably never consider doing including straddling a Harley and screaming my head off at NFL games. I found out that on the whole I am much more self confident than most of my dates. I’ve discovered that I can be charming and witty. Often I found my best date was myself. There were times that staying home on Friday was my preferred choice.

Dating can be very expensive. If I rationalize all the money spent is used to catch a man then I can become hopelessly depressed. On the other hand, if I spent money on myself because I deserved it and I go out simply to have fun then it is money well spent.

What should you spend money on when dating? I would love to hear your answers.


  1. Getting myself ready, getting myself there, and getting myself home. That's my list of expenditures for a first date. If he's stingy with his money, he'll be stingy with his heart. Next!

  2. Joan,
    What a smart way to look at things...if he is stingy with his money then he will be stingy with his heart. I will definitely keep this line in mind. I am temtped to have it printed and have it included with Valentine's Cards that women buy.LOL

  3. Women do have much higher "presentation" expenses than men do. But I can't agree with the woman who expects a man to shell out for a proper date (something expensive) when he doesn't even know her. If they go for coffee, her prep time can be minimized, as can his expenses until they know if something is clicking. On the other hand, if a man won't buy you coffee, it's wise to run.

  4. Hi Carly,
    I always wanted to know the woman's agenda since she had been online for a while, but that's the writer in me...must understand motivation. Yes, I've been out with the guys who wouldn't shell out for a cup of tea too.:(