How To ID A Pay Pal and Check, Mate!

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - Amy Alkon

An older male friend keeps pay­ing for me — buy­ing me meals and clothes. Am I mak­ing a mis­take in ac­cept­ing? I’ve re­peat­edly made clear that I have no ro­man­tic in­ter­est in him. I’m a strug­gling artist, and he’s highly suc­cess­ful. We’re ba­si­cally BFFs, talk­ing and laugh­ing ev­ery day. He oc­ca­sion­ally jokes that I should be “giv­ing up the sugar to the sugar daddy,” but I roll my eyes and say, “Hush!” I think he’s teas­ing me, but could he be play­ing the long game?

Wel­come to the “never say never” school of hope. My Chi­nese crested, Aida, is also en­rolled — hop­ing with all her tiny purse-doggy might that rare metal-eat­ing ter­mites will make the kitchen ta­ble leg col­lapse, caus­ing her to be caught in a brief but in­tense hail­storm of ba­con.

There are some asym­me­tries be­tween men and women in the ef­fort re­quired to get some ac­tion out of the op­po­site sex. Some men will en­gi­neer elab­o­rate plots to try to wear a woman’s “nuh-uh, never gonna hap­pen” into a “maybe just this once.” A woman, on the other hand, doesn’t have to plot. As­sum­ing she’s rea­son­ably at­trac­tive, she can prob­a­bly just make ex­tended eye con­tact with a man while eat­ing a ba­nana.

evo­lu­tion­ary psy­chol­o­gist David Buss ex­plains as men’s lu­tion­ary goals. It’s in a man’s evo­lu­tion­ary in­ter­est to, as they say, shoot and scoot (pos­si­bly pass­ing on his genes with­out putting out any fur­ther time, en­ergy, or re­sources). How­ever, be­cause women can end up all “baby on board,” they evolved to look for emo­tional com­mit­ment and the abil­ity and will­ing­ness to “pro­vide.” (A woman’s psy­cho­log­i­cal bot­tom line: “Can this wild man be turned into a mini­van pur­chaser with a dad bod?”)

Buss notes that these sex dif­fer­ences in evolved mat­ing psy­chol­ogy show up in the dif­fer­ent ways men and women try to de­ceive each other. Scammy men tend to ex­ag­ger­ate their “re­sources” (prob­a­bly a siz­able chunk of the Ferrari rental busi­ness) in hopes of suck­er­ing the ladies into the sack. Scammy women, on the other hand, tend to feign “will­ing­ness to have sex in or­der to se­cure non­sex­ual re­sources” — as in, “Sorry, Bob. I had my knees welded shut re­cently. I guess I for­got to men­tion that. But thanks for the $300 din­ner!”

In your sit­u­a­tion, how­ever, no­body’s de­ceiv­ing any­body. You’ve re­peat­edly made clear that there will be no sex­ca­pades. He’s got an amus­ing din­ing com­pan­ion and a dear friend. When we care about peo­ple, we do nice things for them — of­fer them a bite of our sand­wich or our dis­pos­able in­come.

Sure, he’s prob­a­bly still cling­ing to wisps of hope. But in time, he should ac­cept that if the day comes when you sud­denly grab him in your arms, it’ll be be­cause he’s got a small piece of chicken caught in his wind­pipe and he’ll die un­less you give him the Heim­lich ma­neu­ver.

I’m a 28-year-old guy, and I read your col­umn on how men and women are clue­less about who’s sup­posed to pay and when. I’ve had dates be in­sulted when I wouldn’t take their money and oth­ers in­sulted when I did. Is there an op­ti­mal strat­egy for the

She can do an hour and a half straight on why we need to “smash the pa­tri­archy,” but when the check comes, she reaches in her purse and pulls out a tube of lip-gloss.

As I pointed out in that col­umn you men­tion, so­ci­ol­o­gist Janet Lever and her col­leagues ty be­tween men and women: in­tense con­fu­sion about who should pay and when. For ex­am­ple, nearly 60 per­cent of women said they “al­ways” of date. Mean­while, 39 per­cent of women wish men would re­ject their of­fer to pay — but 40 per­cent say it both­ers them when men don’t ac­cept their money. Argh, huh?

Be­cause fe­male emo­tions evolved to push women to feel bad when they’re with a man who shows no signs of be­ing a “provider,” I think it’s wise for a guy to pick up the re­searchers con­cur, ex­plain­ing that “men who fail to pay risk be­ing viewed as lack­ing eco­nomic re­sources or as be­ing un­in­ter­ested, unchival­rous, or — worse yet — cheap.”

That said, your in­vest­ment should be more sym­bolic than sub­stan­tial, and you keep it that way by fol­low­ing my three­p­oint ad­vice for the first few dates: Make them cheap, short, and lo­cal. This means, for ex­am­ple, get­ting to know a woman over happy-hour drinks — as op­posed to the kind poured two as­sis­tants) who comes to your ta­ble right after the team ize your pa­per­work.

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