Two Views on the Economics of Dating

Two of my friends have radically different views on dating, both of which amuse me to no end.  I’d like to make clear that I don’t condone their behaviours (although I find it very entertaining).   As Miss Manners has said:  “Shunning scoundrels is one of society’s dues, sadly neglected by those who refuse to pass judgement, and may also have discovered that scoundrels sometimes make lively companions”.  To “set the stage”, each of my friends was unhappily single when I started my PhD, and thanks, in part, to some of my advice (which will form a post next week), both are now REASONABLY happy in relationships.  Neither was raised in Canada (and neither spoke English as their first language) and both are in doctoral programs (they aren’t dummies).


XY took to dating like a kid in a candy store.  I was happy for him when he was seeing a number of women and finally seemed to settle on one he liked.  I was taken aback one day when he told me he had been keeping a spreadsheet of everything he spent on them.  The breakdown was interesting (he only counted half the meals, because he “had to eat too and enjoyed them”, but would count gas driving to meet them – I asked if he factored in maintenance or wear-and-tear on the car, and he did not).  What became VERY interesting is he’d calculate the ratio of money spent to sexual encounters obtained (in my first draft I called this “kisses” euphemistically and counted on  “men of the world” to be able to read between the lines:  there are at least two grandmothers who read the blog somewhat regularly and I was worried the post was getting crass – Mike encouraged me to tell it like it is, so there you go).

Beyond reducing the ratio as low as possible, he had wild dreams of getting his number to $0, or possibly into the negatives (where the woman would have spent more money on him than he had on her).  We’re both pretty frugal, so he’d sometimes accuse me of approaching dating in a similar manner, which I always denied.  I repeatedly told him that my view of dating is quality over quantity.  Spend time with someone you really care about and forget about the expense, instead of going after a number of people you don’t like very much and keeping costs low.

Clearly Nemesis had her way as XY is now dating (and planning to move in with) a woman he’s head-over-heels about.  She has confided in me that he treats her better than any guy she’s ever dated and he almost always insists on paying.


Once XX cranked up her dating it seemed like she actually tore through most of the men who fit what she was looking for in the Waterloo area (she’s since expanded her hunting grounds to Toronto).  She has always been a bit of a mooch (trying to get friends to buy her drinks or food – she’ll go as far as order nothing but water in a restaurant if no one will buy anything for her), but she expanded this to an art form when dating.  After each date, she’d brag to us how much she’d managed to get the guy to spend and how little physical affection she had to provide.  I think her high point was $120 and she gave him a hug at the end of the night.

Her grandest adventure, which XY and I are still in awe of, is that when the relationship ended, the first guy she ever had sex with gave her $10K “for her virginity”.  $10,000!!!  I had trouble GIVING away my virginity…  Just to clarify, it wasn’t like she sold it on E*Bay or a street corner, this was a long term boyfriend who felt the need to “cash out” for past sins as they were breaking up.

After her recent birthday, she went out the next day to try to return each of the gifts she’d received (which filled me with glee as I’d written an inscription in the book I’d given her for her birthday years ago, thus preventing its return – Mwa ha ha ha).

Again, Nemesis has struck and she’s now dating a fellow poor grad student (and gripes regularly about how much it kills her to pay for her own food when they go out).

In Conclusion

XY and XX are two real people (who hopefully never discover this blog).  It isn’t my intention to draw any parallels between their experiences and broader gender stereotypes, I just wanted to share my amusement at how they approach romance.  I thought at one point that they might actually start dating EACH OTHER (and worried that the world would be destroyed in a massive anti-matter explosion if that ever occurred).  They’re room-mates now (in a big house with other people) and seem to get along surprisingly well living in the same place.

Do you have any friends (or personal experiences) with weird interactions between money and dating?

17 replies on “Two Views on the Economics of Dating”

Yikes! It’s a jungle out there. Isn’t anyone interested in just finding someone to share a life with? I’ve been married for 17 years and I can’t imagine playing those kinds of games. I guess I’m old school. (Or maybe just old?) Interesting post!

My husband took me to Jack Astor’s on our first date – ewww! He’s lucky that he is such an engaging guy that I gave him another chance and decided to take him out for drinks after dinner (to a great place downtown) , which I paid for. I believe the cost of the two drinks were more than the dinner bill. That was the last time we ever wasted money on dining out at a place where the waiter writes his name on crayon on your paper tablecloth.

Later, I asked him what the hell he was thinking and he told me it was all about ROI.

This is always something he is teased about amongst our friends and family. In his speech at our wedding, the best man said that he took me to a place so cheap and bad that it’s slogan is “Sorry, we’re open.”

The funny thing is that I didn’t sleep with him for a good 5 weeks. So much for ROI. I think that thoughts about cost kind of go out the window when you know you’ve found the right person for you.

So my hint to people still dating is that if you are at the end of a date and you’re thinking about the cost-to-kiss ratio, just find someone else to date. Or give up the pretense and hire a hooker.

This blog post cracks me up, it’s so funny and yet PF-related, thanks Mr. Cheap

You get what you give, and if you give nothing, you get nothing, enough said.

I’m glad to find my wife without any money involved 🙂

TMW: lol, perhaps this post will make some married people a little less nostalgic for their carefree youth 🙂

$0.02: To be fair, I don’t really know how widespread this all is. Perhaps I just have odd friends.

Alexandra: Too funny! Sounds like your husband has a bit of XY in him. Way to go, beating him at his own game! The weird thing is, you can eat at a good ethnic restaurant for the same price or less than Jack Astors, and it’s going to make a MUCH better date…

Jerry: No money? That’s impressive! You never spent any money while you were dating? How did you swing that?

Funny stuff. What are these people studying? Not english literature I bet. I’m guessing that universities are great places to people-watch this kind of stuff. It was less exciting – get plastered as a group and pair off at 2am – when I was at college.

I’m pretty sure losing my virginity actually cost me seven pints of bulmers, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, taxi fare and replacement undies …. which is a shame as apparently there’s good money to be made there!

Alexandra, this reminds me of a guy I dated in college who mentioned one evening spent that he spent money on hookers, both in Hamburg AND in our burg.

I broke up with him the next time we met up, and as soon as he realized the direction of the evening he ordered the most expensive item on the menu and insisted that I pay the bill (we usually went Dutch).

A buddy of mine got trapped with one of these types of women one time on a first date. Goes to dinner and when she is ordering her entree asks the waiter what is the biggest lobster they have that night. Waiter checks and tells her its 5 lbs. She orders it at a price of $150, and that’s just the lobster. My friend is furious but plays it cool and orders himself a nice steak.

Smartly, he excuses himself to head to the bathroom and ducks out of the restaurant. Never talked to the women again, but I am sure that she must have gotten stuck with the bill.

[…] Mr. Cheap at Four Pillars has a mind-boggling look at two views on the economics of dating. He explains how a man he knows literally keeps score of how much he spends on the women he dates; […]

Wow. People actually keep track of that? Kind of pathetic if you ask me. Dating shouldn’t be about how much you spend or have spent on you. Both of those people need to do some serious thinking about what they’re doing…

Wow this article just made my day lol.

I’m a business student and as much as this relates to keeping track of how much you spend, when going out, I can’t help but think there is an underlying message to be learned from reading this.

People are shallow I get that and it is important to keep track of your finances, but to purposely play games/manipulate for personal gain and pride. *laughing my ass off*

Thank god you didn’t get me as date, I would have stiffed you for the bill and grabbed a couple shots on the way out ;).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *