We’ve all heard the story.
Boy approaches Girl while at annual Delta Sigma Theta “Twerk For The Cure” sickle-cell research fundraiser. Girl, slightly impressed by Boy’s confidence despite his quite conspicuous reverse widow’s peak, gives Boy her actual real phone number. Four days later, Boy and Girl go on first date at Irish/Cajun fusion tapas bar. Date goes extremely well. Boy covers tab for this date, as well as the next three Boy and Girl go on. By the fifth date, Girl offers to cook for Boy—a Bougie Black Girl’s way of saying “We go together now, and I’m officially open to the idea of f*cking you.”
Boy and Girl go on a few more good dates—all on Boy’s dime—while both becoming more and more convinced that this is will turn into a relationship.
It does. They officially make it Facebook official eight weeks after the first date.
I know it’s not the most politically correct and/or progressive thing to say that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to court, but the scenario above—where the man foots the bill for the majority (not all, but the majority) of the dates that take place while courting—is the right way to do things. If you disagree, that’s fine. You’re wrong, but you’re allowed to be.
(Yes, I understand that many of these types of “rules” were crafted at a time when it was just more practical and financially prudent for a man to always pay while in the courting phase. I also understand that it may not make much logical sense for a man to be expected to pay even if the person he’s dating makes more money than he does. But…well, there is no but. Just shut the f*ck up and f*cking do it.)
But, while the rules and the general financial responsibility of courtship are generally understood and agreed upon, what happens when courtship ends? Basically, we all know who is supposed to pay for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd date, but what about the 51st, 52nd, and 53rd? Is there a “right” way to handle the bill when an established couple is out to eat or any other date-like activity?
In theory, this seems like a question with a pretty practical solution. If you’re a serious couple, you’re likely sharing expenses. And, if you’re sharing expenses, you should—in theory—also share date expenses. But, as anyone who saw After Earth last weekend will remind you, just because something should work in theory doesn’t mean it actually will.
There are people who believe the courting dynamic should last for the entire relationship. Basically, aside from his birthday and those rare and random days when she finally apologizes for some bullshit that she’s always done—and, despite the apology, will continue to do—the man should always pay. Others believe that couples should take turns, which, although this seems to be the most reasonable choice, can get weird if someone starts keeping count (and someone always does).
And, while splitting things 50/50 is the best idea in theory, who wants to be 40 years old and still going on dutch dates with your wife?
I guess the best thing to do is just to communicate your financial expectations before the “real” relationship starts instead of assuming that you’ll both be on the same page. But, while this also works “in theory,” I just can’t see too many women with the balls to interrupt a conversation on a date with “You know this shit’s on you for the next 50 years, right?” while happily clutching a forkful of lobster.
My advice? Just don’t date Deltas.
***BTW, today is Panama’s birthday and shit. So, if you see him today, buy him a shot. If you don’t see him and see me instead, just buy me the shot and we’ll drink in his honor***
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)