I was a speaker at a local association of some group of professionals tonight. I arrived early to set up my presentation materials and chat with the event organizers. As we made small talk, I found that I made mention of various research articles I'd read . I quipped that I read a lot of research on a variety of subjects. It's the monkey-nerd in me.
Well, here's what I read tonight. Dating research. I find it interesting because the Old Woman taught me rules for dating. It was very important that I present myself as respectful of my companion's wallet. Of course, now I realize that there is also some bizarro link between men spending money on dates and the expectation of sexual returns on the investment. She never explained it to me in those terms, but I get it now. (And, it is wrong and we need to fix this notion in our culture.) Primarily, I was taught that I should inquire as to what my companion was planning on ordering, and then order something less expensive on the menu. I was also taught to by pass the extras like apps or dessert. (There is always homemade cake at the house, why don't you invite your young man in for a bite?)
In college, I had a bad beau who convinced me that being a feminist meant I should pay for our dates. (Somehow, there was still an expectation of sexual favors.) Then, I started offering to make dinner for our date and let my companion contribute by paying the cover at a club or for a movie. (Even with this actually equal arrangement, I still ended up some dude sitting at my kitchen table and declaring that he could have sex with me. He explained that once he bedded a person, he granted them the nickname of their first initial and he'd never slept with a M (M for monkey) before. Seems his logic did not factor in the possibility that he would be shown the door before dinner hit the table . . . which is what happened. I'm not a prude, but I do not hold with such foolishness.)
When I started dating the Phenom, I was pretty burned out on dating and cynical about the whole arrangement. (The dude above contributed his share.) We really were dating more as placeholders and a social arrangement rather than some monkey/human mating game. This meant that I made the decision to stop playing games. I started ordering what I actually wanted to eat (of course, still being respectful of the cost . . . no massive steaks or lobsters . . . but no more side salads with a shared plate of fries either.) Dates would be negotiated for shared interest as well as expense.
And that was 26 years ago. We still negotiate dates. We still work to make sure that neither is taken for granted. And, we still have great fun on dates. In fact, just last year, a cabbie in NOLA asked if we were in town on our honeymoon, because we clearly were having fun being together. We said yes.