Who owes what to whom when you go out on a date?
DEAR READERS: The recent letters about divorced moms expecting guys to pay for everything hit a nerve with both men and women, and opened up the larger topic of dating etiquette. So who owes what to whom, if anything?
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Should you ever say thank you after sex? My new girlfriend recently pleased me very much in bed, and I said thank you afterwards. She got all awkward and embarrassed. She finally said, “You only say that to someone if they render a service, like a call girl, which I’m not!” Do you agree with this? — Don’t Get it, Wolseley
Dear Don’t Get It: It is lover-ly to express delight and praise with a passionate sex session but thank you crosses the line into commerce. Thank yous can also sound like gratitude, which hints of recent drought or desperation. “Oh thank you, thank you” would best be replaced with “That was wonderful, amazing, out of this world” when speaking to a loved one or, “blew my mind” for a less formal union.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m a divorced mother of three and have been on the dating scene 16 years. I have a good career, no problem paying my way on a date or taking a man on a date. If I’m paying, he better be as good company as myself alone or my friends. Most divorced men talk about themselves or bash their exes, in which case I feel they owe me for my time and therapy skills. They usually aren’t that much fun to be around, or have anything to offer in a relationship other than a roll in bed, which usually isn’t that good either. — Just Saying, Winnipeg
Dear Saying: Talk about reverse sexism! How has asking a man for a date and paying for his dinner got anything to do with what he does or says during that time? You act like paying should buy you a piece of him, that’s worth the amount you paid for his steak. Then you turn around and bash the entire group of divorced men, but let it drop you’re still willing to take some casual sex from them “which usually isn’t that good either.” With the cold and critical attitude you put out, it’s not surprising you have been on the divorced single scene for 16 years.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I asked a guy out for dinner at my favourite upscale spot on Wellington Crescent, and automatically went to pay for the two of us. He put his hand over mine, which was already on the cheque, and said. “If you both asked me out AND paid for the dinner, I’d feel diminished as a man. I will pay.” I let him pay; what could I do? And it was a lot. I hadn’t been thinking about his bank balance through the whole meal with copious wine and desserts. Hey, I always thought the person who issued the invitation to a fancy place and initiated the big expense would pay for the dinner. We’re not talking about a mere hamburger; why should it cost the invitee all that money? I went home early with a headache. — Felt Diminished Myself, Garden City
Dear Diminished: What he should have said was: “I have really enjoyed dinner with you, and talking to you and want to thank you for inviting me here to this lovely place. It would give me great pleasure if you would allow me to do this part” at which point he spirits away the bill with his credit card, for the waiter.