A year of dating twice a week has an average price tag of over $12,000. Gulp. And men are expected to pick up the tab.
The big question of who should pay on dates hasn’t changed much over the years. It follows the belief that men should pay and a woman is a keeper if she offers to split the bill or even says thank you.
Recent research supports the idea that the costs of dating are assumed to be a man’s responsibility. Therefore, any diversion from this long-held belief will reflect negatively on the man.
How much does this stereotype actually cost men, and is it fair?
Let’s put the real cost of dating into perspective. Here is an estimate based on an average conservative cost estimate of two dates per week in my hometown, Chicago, Illinois:
Transportation: Average fare in Chicago, (from SherpaShare, published by Nerd Wallet) is $12.73 (Uber) to $10.50 (Lyft), averaging $23.00 round trip.
Dining: The average cost of one appetizer and two entrees at a mid-range restaurant is approximately $45.00, including tax. With 20 percent gratuity, that comes to a total of $54.00 per meal.
Drinking: A beer in Chicago is about $6.00 (datascope analytics, Brian Lange) and a cocktail in downtown Chicago averages $12.00 on the low side (Expatistan). Assuming each person only has two cocktails or beer, the total ranges from $24.00 to $48.00, or $29.00 to $58.00 with a 20 percent tip (it’s always best to tip your bartenders well, especially on a date.)
The total cost of a conservative date — not including preparation, surprises, or additional locations — ranges from $106.00 to $135.00. If you go on two dates a week for a year, and pay for everything, you’ll spend around $12,500.00. That doesn’t take into consideration the monetary value of time. For example, the average length of a date is four hours, now multiply that by your hourly wage.
Just for fun, what else can you buy for approximately $12,500.00?
- Six months in a one bedroom apartment in Chicago (rent jungle)
- One year of undergraduate tuition at the University of Illinois at Chicago
- 6,000+ sides of guacamole on items with meat or tofu from Chipotle (because we all know guac is extra.)
The tradition that men bear the financial responsibility for dating has its foundation in the historically large wage gap between men and women (assumption.) With changes in the wage gap and the movement towards gender equality, should the financial burden of dating still fall majorly on men? In part two, we’ll explore current research relating to who should pay, the wage gap, gender equality, and if dating is really worth 6,000+ sides of guacamole.
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Photo: Getty Images