It’s nice to be “wine’d and dine’d” but it’s not all about the glitz. You DO NOT want someone who is cheap or where you’re paying for the dates (or putting gas in your own car if you were the one who drove there ESP if you’re the woman! It’s absolutely UNACCEPTABLE if you’re the woman!). My rule of thumb is to let the man pay for the first 2 or 3 dates because it relieves everyone of expectations and “what do we do?” After the 2nd or 3rd date, the woman should offer to pay for a tip or gas or something like that (if you go bowling and dinner, she can pay for the shoe rental or something….pick something and offer it. )
The person who designs a real creative and cute or fun date can be awesome. While Michael and I had the traditional dinner dates in the beginning (well coffee first, then lunch, then dinner…), about 2 weeks later we went to an amusement partk with his 10 year old daughter and her best friend. It was 4th of July and it was their traditional 4th of July. They went to York’s Wild Kingdom (York Maine) for rides, paddle boats and the petting zoo. We also played game on the midway. Now, having been with CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP guys, it was refreshing to see Michael just pull out money and give it to his daughter when she asked. At one point he was tired and we had a long day still to come and he lay on the bench and his daughter came over and asked for money. He reached in his pocket WITHOUT LOOKING and handed her whatever he had pulled out (it was a wad of bills). While not everyone needs to be that lackidasical about giving money to kids, it was refreshing to me and gave me great insight into him (it was a very very telling moment and that is why I encourage everyone to PUT DOWN THE TECHNOLOGY and OBSERVE what is going on!)
Then we went to his favorite seafood place, Billy’s Chowder House in Wells (Maine), and then we watched the fireworks go off on Ogunquit Beach. Wow. I’m not normally a fireworks person AND I’ve seen fireworks over the East River in New York City and over the Mediterranean on Capri. But the whole day was so nice, was a tradition with them, and it really warmed my heart.
It was an amazing day and told me SO MUCH about him. We told his daughter we were friends but she had it figured out by the end of the day. But he was respectful and funny and paid a lot of attention to his daughter. I know we were falling in love before that day but, for me, it gave me hope that my kids would do well with this guy (my last boyfriend had been nice but CHEAP!) On my list (as discussed in Getting Back Out There) was “NOT CHEAP WITh MY KIDS!” and he was NOT cheap.
The “cheap” boyfriend was a nice guy though and in the beginning, he took me on unusual dates…one to rollerskating, one to an observatory (I mentioned I liked astronomy) and one to listen to a string quartet on a hill at sunset (it was a “couples” thing and we were on blankets on a lovely grass lined hill with other couples many of whom had wine and fruit (we didn’t drink so we had iced tea and crackers.)
Putting some thought into dates is nice but don’t be swept away by someone renting a limo or even a plane! (the guy I know who did that is a Class A SOB! who likes to be flashy on first dates and come on strong, but he is – a real jerk!).
If there has been some extra effort made to show they like you–good for them! (and you!) but don’t go crazy putting too much stock in it. It could all be for show or woese, could be a sociopathic setup (I’m not saying it is – so don’t think that all people who go out of their eway are sociopaths…but it IS a possibility…so proceed with caution).
When I was impressed with Michael’s loosey goosey attitude toward his money, it really did reflect who he was. Now that he’s gone I wish he had been a bit more frugal (perhaps I’d have some money now) but at the time I was working 3 jobs just to keep my kids in food and shelter so it was pretty awesome to me. I was hoping it was true and real (it was.) I didn’t know so I “tucked it in my back pocket” as GBOT suggests, to figure that out.
The night I met Michael I asked him what he wanted out of life. He said, “I just want to be happy.” As I’ve said a zillion times, words mean NOTHING. But he backed up his words. He didn’t sweat the small stuff. He didn’t get angry over things. He picked his battles (fishing – and I knew enough to never try to come between him and fishing). He walked that talk.
Don’t fall for stupid sentiments early on. Don’t let someone’s words enthrall you before they’ve had a chance to show you who they are. And when they show you who they are, believe them.