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How Much Should a Man Spend on a First Date?

It seems that this dreadful, and somewhat pointless, discussion about how much a man should spend on a date has managed to rear its ugly head once again. And as we can see from the throngs of recent tweets regarding this issue, everyone has an opinion. Some folks associate the relative cost of a date with how much value a man places on a woman, ergo the more that he spends on her, the more that he values her. Others like me feel that an expensive date is just that – an expensive date. And it doesn’t have any other intrinsic value other than showboating.

Why do we as a society feel the need to place a numeric value on a date? Isn’t the point of a date to get to know someone? And is two-hundred dollars really the price tag for getting to know someone these days? It just seems to me that dating has become relegated to some crude system of bartering. I have the hapless honor of being associated with a select number of women who have the so-called “one drink minimum.” Yes, it means just what it says. These women won’t even talk to a man unless he purchases a drink for them first. And, then, there are those women around who won’t accept anything less than dinner and a show for their first date – or first couple of dates. One of my best guy friends recently suggested to a woman whom he was interested that they go on a “coffee date,” and she told him rather bluntly that “she doesn’t do that.” I’m not quite sure when coffee and lunch dates went out of style, but I still feel that those are both effective vehicles for sparking quality conversation with a member of the opposite sex.

Stephen Colbert, the host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” famously satirized the Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited contributions to political action committees (PACs) by saying that “more money equals more speech.” So, alternatively, does that mean the more someone spends on a date, the greater connection they will have with the person whom they are dating? Okay. This may be a stretch, but it just highlights how ridiculous this whole discussion really is. The basis of this whole discussion is fueled by one key misconception. This misconception is that women expect men to spend large sums of money on a date. According to a poll conducted by the banking and financial institution ING Direct, women thought that men who spent $192 on a date had paid “too much.” They actually thought that $85 was an appropriate amount for a man to spend on a date.

Certainly, the real value that a man places on a woman should not be measured by how much he pays on a date, but the attention that he gives her, the types of questions that he asks, and all of his subtle and not-so subtle cues and gestures while on a date. Is he holding all of the doors for her? Is he pulling out all of her chairs before she takes a seat? Does he show genuine interest in her? Is he giving her the opportunity to speak? Or is he more concerned about himself and his accomplishments? These factors tell so much more about a person and how much they value you than the amount of money they are willing to shell out on a date. Truthfully, a man who’s willing to spend excessive amounts of money on a date might not be doing so to show the woman that he values her, he might just be doing so because he thinks that he can buy her. And that’s not acceptable by any measure.

By Courtney Edwards

Courtney Edwards writes about love, relationships, and his many adventures while dating in New York City.


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