Dinner is over and here comes the little white piece of paper on a black, plastic tray. The server places it on the table, slightly closer to the man.

We both react, like Pavlov’s dogs drooling at the ring of the bell.

He reaches for the check and his wallet. Yet at the end of every first date, I always lean toward my purse and politely ask, “Are you sure? Would you like me to pay for mine?”

090510_dinner_table_dateI don’t expect him to say, “Sure, that’d be great.” I’d be very surprised if he did. The purse reach is just a ploy.

Hey – I’m broke. One of the best perks about going on all those dates was getting free meals or drinks. (When they were bad dates, it was the only perk.)

Am I the only one who notices that being single is expensive?

The last few months I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money. My social life is now awesome. Most nights of the week, I am not home after work – I’m out with friends, eating dinner or having a drink.

I keep track of my debit card purchases in my checkbook register. It’s starting to look like “play” part of the Downtown Raleigh Live Work Play guide.

When in a couple, cuddling together on the couch and watching a movie is considered doing something fun. And when you do go out, he usually pays. So for a woman, I think it’s cheaper to be in a relationship.

So frankly, now that I’m back in a “couple,” I’m not really complaining that he paid for dinner Friday night. (Yum – Dos Taquitos.)
I believe that having the guy pay all the time is old-fashioned and unfair. I don’t want to be a mooch. When in a couple, I will sometimes make a point to whip out my debit card and throw down for the movie tickets before a boyfriend can even reach for his wallet.

This is the 21st century. I have my own apartment. I pay my bills. Why should I expect him to shell out $80 for dinner and drinks and not bust out a Benjamin once in awhile? Even if he does earn more money?

My buddy Pete told me that recently he’d gone out on a date and the woman insisted on paying. She asked him out and picked the location. Because she was the aggressor in this situation he and I both agreed that sort of made sense. But for him, it felt odd to have her producing the plastic.

So 21st century, maybe, but some rules haven’t changed – guys are still trained to pay for dates. Given my purse reach game, I guess I’m just as trained to let him.

But we’re not dogs.

We females want equality, but when it comes to dating, how many of the rules should we keep following? Is it time to stop drooling when the bell rings?