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Happy black businessman toasting with his colleague on a rooftop party.

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The other day, I stumbled across a Twitter query that got me thinking. I didn’t save the tweet so it’s gone, never to be seen again. But someone asked something to the effect of when was the last time women had been taken out on a proper date or when was a woman “courted” in the right way.

Given your perspective, you may or may not be surprised to learn that most of the women who responded to the tweet said never or it had been way too long since they had been treated as they were supposed to be. I read a few of the responses trying to glean some insight, but there wasn’t all that much there. So I was left to theorize on my own. Maybe this new digital age had left men of a certain age unsure or unclear about what to do with real women, in the real world. Maybe there’s some confusion about what a date looks like these days, outside of “Netflix and Chill.”

Maybe our generation is less interested in “settling down,” or settling down quickly, so dates and taking the time to get to know someone isn’t that much of a necessity.

But there’s also the more practical answer. Perhaps most men just don’t have the money.

When in your early twenties, right around those prime dating years, you’re also struggling to find your place in the world. You’re developing your career, trying to save, paying off student loan debt etc. Unless you did really well straight out of college and avoided life’s financially taxing circumstances like taking care of a parent, losing a job, or being underemployed, there’s a chance that most men won’t have discretionary income to wine and dine women several times a month.

One man suggested that men don’t have it recently in a Facebook post. And he also provided a solution that might not sit well with more than a few people. See what he had to say.

I don’t know if young Eldredge was trolling or if he was really trying to put us all on game but his hot take got the people talking. And quite a bit of it wasn’t entirely positive. As you might imagine, women were completely against it. And while I would love to ride out with my sisters on this one, I’m not entirely sure why they were against the idea of splitting the bill. I

heard women offer explanations like they’re the prize in the dating situation (TRUE) so they shouldn’t have to pay.

There were women who said if the man invited her, he should pay, which I can agree with.

There were people who claimed that a man paying for dinner is about expressing his appreciation and the worth he places on the woman.

Personally, I’ve always had a problem with this last one. Ain’t a man on this earth who can afford my worth, chile. And treating me to a single meal doesn’t even come close. So there’s that. Perhaps women believe it’s supposed to be a symbolic gesture.

I’m a huge fan of “Golden Girls.” And in one of the episodes, Blanche, the vixen of the group, dates this man who doesn’t pay the bill, doesn’t open doors for her etc. Naturally, back in the nineties and as a woman in her fifties, she called him out for it. He explained to her that he thought women of the nineties wanted equality.

She told him, “I don’t want to be your equal. I want to be treated much better than you!”

Maybe this is what women are saying. In so many areas men have the upper hand. They make more money than us. Politicians don’t try to regulate their personal choices. In many instances, we have to wait for them in terms of commitment. They have more freedom when it comes to reproductive consequences. I don’t have to tell you that women have it hard. So with all of this in mind, maybe women are saying with all the sh*t I have to put up with—including the probability that you’re going to be a low count man, the least you could do is pay for dinner.

Trust me, I get that.

But to argue on Eldredge’s side for a minute, I also understand the pressure men are under to pay for dates. Paying to spend time with someone you don’t know if you like yet is tricky. And as much as I value every single last one of my coins, I can understand why men might want to hang on to theirs. Paying for two meals alone is expensive.

But one of the most compelling arguments I heard from all the naysaying women is from my coworker, Lifestyle influencer Alexis Felder, who goes by the name @LexiWithTheCurls in the digital space.

She argued that what men need to do is to learn how to be smart with the money they allocate towards dating, especially in the beginning stages. Packing a lunch and going to the park is not expensive. You can go to the movies for $5 at AMC on Tuesday. For the women who don’t mind going on a Groupon date, there are tons of options over there and not just food either. Activities chile.

And I tend to agree that for the most part, men don’t think too deeply or creatively about dates.

Furthermore, there are a lot of men who are chasing women with a certain look—and these women might stereotypically require more money. And you can’t be mad at them for knowing what they want—but as a man, you should be well aware of your dating range as well as your priorities when it comes to dating. If a look is important to you, you’ll have to put a woman who’s willing to go dutch on the back burner.

Personally, I don’t mind going dutch on a date. I’ve done it in casual dating situations. I was taught about the ways men try to manipulate women with money, like it’s an exchange for services rendered. And if going dutch came up, I did it because I didn’t want to feel like I owed anyone anything. I was also taught to have my own money, regardless if there was a man in my life or not. As a woman who’s not the type to sit at home and be kept—no slight to those who are—I don’t have a problem spending it on food, activities, experiences or to see where a relationship could go. And now that I’m married, I’ll continue to do it . I want to be able to go out often with my husband and for us that means me pitching in on these shared experiences or treating entirely in some cases, as he does for me, that’s fine.

But that’s just me. I know there are more than a few women who want men to pick up the check all the time, no matter what. No exceptions, no excuses.

What do you make of Eldredge’s theory? Is going on more dates worth going dutch? See what women have to say about topic generally on the following pages. 

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