Today is Friday and this evening is the start of the weekend. Tonight all across the land (and the world I suppose) hundreds of thousands of dates will transpire. Many of these interactions will take place in restaurants, and the question that still always needs to be answered is who pays for dinner?
A recent article in The New York Post focused on a phenomenon known as â€śdinner whores.â€ť While it seems a bit sensational, the women quoted in the article indicated that they would do what needed to be done (that is to seduce a man into believing he had a chance with them) in order to be taken to the finest restaurants. After the caviar, champagne, and every other extravagance, the women would let it be known that they had enjoyed themselves but that there was no quid pro quo; quite simply, their dates werenâ€™t getting anything more than a kiss, and perhaps not even that.
This information provoked a rather rigorous debate among some people with whom I had a fairly civilized discussion. It really came down along the lines of gender: the women clearly stated that a man had to pay and that didnâ€™t mean he was entitled to anything; the men felt that in these modern times that a woman should at least share in the cost of the meal, particularly if she has no romantic intentions toward her date.
I thought about this a great deal and, since I am looking at it from a male perspective, I didnâ€™t want to discount the female side of the story. After all, traditionally speaking it has always been the case that the man pays for the date. Where does this originate? I imagine it goes all the way back to the caveman who knocked on another cave door to pick up his date. Good old â€śUghâ€ť probably brought along his best club, escorted the female to the finest rock in the jungle, and proceeded to bash in the brains of some beast. After the lavish meal, â€śUghâ€ť might have expected at least a little kiss, but â€śOhnoâ€ť protested this as a violation and requested to be returned home immediately. This is probably what led to the popular notion of the caveman clubbing the woman over the head and dragging her back to his lair.
In my teenage years, I always faced the daunting task of asking a girl out head on. I tried to get rid of my nervousness, pop a Tic-tac in my mouth, and just run up to her and ask awkwardly, â€śWould you like to go out this weekend?â€ť Sometimes it worked; other times it did not. Still, once the question had been posed and the positive answer received, then my next daunting task was choosing what to do. In the '70s there were usually options that ranged from dinner and a movie to 'lets go to a bar and get sloshed.' Since most dates didnâ€™t like the second choice, I usually relied on the first one. When the check came after dinner, there was no question that I would pay for it, as well as the movie tickets afterwards. I mean that was the way it had always been and always would be, right?