Two Views on the Economics of Dating

by Mr. Cheap

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?

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