Her name was Katie and she was an exceedingly attractive 24-year-old admissions director in New York City. We’d met at a party of a mutual friend and I was enamored from the first joke until she left with friends close to midnight. Luckily in a moment of brilliance I’d gotten her number and asked if she’d wanted to meet up that next Friday night for dinner. “I’d love to,” she told me through her grin.
“Where to go?” It was all I could think about all week. Each place I chose seemed either too fancy, or too causal, too fishy or too meaty. I’d thought this would be the easy part, that the location would play secondary to our interaction, but it wasn’t, it was driving my decision. Finally on Thursday I chose a small upscale fusion restaurant in the East Village.
The date went well but the meals ranged from $18 to $30 and bottles of wine were $50 and above. Toss in an appetizer and some desert and my bill was a staggering $180. I’d been making enough money to cover the meal, but the shock of that bill had thrown me off for the night. There were no drinks afterward, and though it could have been for any reason, there was also no follow-up date. Katie was gone.
What I realized later was that a first date should NEVER be expensive. Cheap and fun first date ideas…picnics in the park, an afternoon at the beach, local burger joints or appetizers and drinks should be maximum paid on a first date. You have financial goals that started well before meeting this lady and they shouldn’t be compromised in the hopes that she’s impressed. If she is smitten with your wallet you might be facing a trend of paying for expensive meals that might eat away at your savings, or worse yet, put you in debt.
The idea of the first date is to make acquaintance and be yourself. I’m not sure about other men, but I always feel uneasy when I have to tuck in that shirt and make a fuss over my hair. I’d rather start casual then work our way up to better restaurants as the dating progresses. I feel like many women might agree. That said, men should still pay for the first date, it doesn’t need to be explained. Some things are unchangeable and footing the bill on a first date is as old as the Bible.
Stay smart and remember that if you want to impress a woman (or man) do it with your personality, NOT your pocketbook!
written by: Jake Albright