Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Bad Sex, Paying for the First Date, and Asking Out Your Barista

Is bad sex ever a reason to break up? Not even bad sex but lack of chemistry? I have a been with a guy for six months (known for a year) and while everything else is awesome and wonderful and he makes me laugh and loves me... the sex is, for a lack of better term, awful. I don't feel chemistry in that way with him and everything I have tried to spice it up doesn't work. How can it be possible that everything works but this one area? It it selfish of me to want good sex AND a great relationship? I am afraid that I would be throwing away the best relationship of my life over something that could be seen as trivial.

Yes, bad sex can be a totally legit reason to break up. The idea that the quality of sex within an otherwise good relationship is "trivial" was invented by people who want you to be as unhappy as they are i.e., everyone in the world. And about how bad everyone in the world is at relationships. Do you really want to listen to them?

That said, no duh, bad-to-mediocre sex can be counterbalanced by other factors in certain circumstances. Here are the questions I want you to ask yourself before you gnaw off your leg to save your vag from this gluetrap. (Ugh, gross.) Oh also blah blah are you depressed check your thyroid call your mother blah blah.

(1) Has sex with Great Guy always been like this? Have you been in other relationships of this duration or longer in which you have had better sex? Maybe not? Let me Mom Up and give you my version of The Talk: Sex will change over the course of a relationship (in many and non-linear ways!), and if what you are looking for is the electric-shock quality of newish-partner sex, you are gonna keep needing newish partners. (Everyone in comments who's about to be like, "I've been married for 7000 years and we fuck all day every day and each time I see fireworks shaped like other, better fireworks" is lying.) The only people who consistently maintain anything like that with long-term partners are in really distressing relationships where there's no other sort of intimacy, so it basically IS perpetual sex with a new partner.* Point being: Six months sounds like the early side of average for the shift from live-wire sex to zombie clock-watching sex. (No judgement you guys! It's not worse just different!) If that is what is happening, and you are not going to a) open it up or b) creep (TLC version not Jersey Shore version), you are going to have to rethink what "good" sex needs to look like for you.

(2) Are you sure you know what YOU like? You say you've tried everything to spice things up, but you also don't HAVE to try everything. Like, there's no reason to bring home a bunch of Adult Baby gear out of desperation if the idea does nothing for you. What you do need to do is identify some general dynamics that are interesting to you, and explore within/expand upon those. What's been a part of your favorite sex in the world so far? Well-timed dirty-talk? Someone single-mindedly focused on getting you off? Someone who didn't really seem to care that much whether he got you off? Are you focusing on stuff you think you might actually enjoy or just busting out the giant sippy cups at random because they ship free with Amazon Prime? Oh, also, has he asked himself this same set of questions and conveyed the answers to you in explicit detail? If so, pls forward.

(3) Do you, in fact, need whatever it is you consider good sex? There are plenty of ladies and other humans who don't prioritize it in relationships or at certain points of their lives, etc. and do just fine. That said, there are plenty of people who feel really shut off from themselves and the world if they're not having sex that they're into. If you are the second kind of person, and I bet you are, because you're writing the internet about "do I have to not have sex," I can think of two, and only two, reasons that I'd buy (not approve of, but not laugh at) for staying with this dude. (And reaaallly six months is not THAT long. I say amputate before the gangrene spreads?) (God my metaphors are gross today.)

Reason 1: You want a kid, and you're getting pretty old for it (really pretty old, not older than your sister was or whatever). Having kids is stupid hard, no matter how awesome your network/family is. I get wanting to lock in someone you think will be a good co-parent. But know that's what you're locking yourself into: a good co-parent. That's a different thing from a good partner, and that chicken is gonna come the fuck home to roost ALL THE FUCK OVER YOUR LIFE.

Reason 2: You're not sure you'll find someone better, and you don't want to be alone. Re: finding someone better, I dunno, maybe, maybe not. But as nice as it can feel, being partnered doesn't eliminate ambiguity or chaos from our lives, and if we aren't prepared to be good single people (you know, generally positive self-image, some job skills, a network of friends/family), we're fucking ourselves over in AND out of relationships.

If you want to ride this out because you're not a good at being a single person, that's the most normal, understandable thing in the world. Normal and understandable doesn't mean healthy or exciting or joyful, though, and maybe while you toil in the bad sex mines (that one wasn't so gross) you wanna do some thinking/planning/working on stuff that would make you a better single person and then see how you feel. I say three months of major self-work then reevaluate? And then mini evaluations every month. And then still probably break up.

Wow, did A Lady just get all "chaos and ambiguity"? What is even her deal? This has been Ask A Stylite Lady: breakup with everyone, forever, and go live on a column!

*No, OK, there is some crazy low percentage of loving couples who manage weird erotic novelty charge long term, but seriously, I will show you the journal articles, it is NOT HAPPENING FOR YOU. Yes, you are allowed to hate these people, and murdering them is legal in every country.

I'm a guy in his early-to-mid-20s who has been going on a bunch of dates in the past six months, mostly with girls I meet on the internet. I consider myself a pretty rational, progressive human being who agrees with a lot of feminist principles, and I pretty much never pay for the young women I go out with. My reasoning is that:

1. I don't have very much money, the woman probably doesn't have very much money, let's shoulder the load of food/drinks together. I don't want to resent her for ordering something expensive, or pressure her into liking me if I pay for her meal.

2. I like to date women who have their shit together enough to afford their own half of the meal.

3. It's our first date, and we might hate each other — why should I be the one to foot the bill for our mutual shitty time?

If we go on more dates and become a couple, I will probably start offering to pay every now and then, especially if it's one of those "romantic" days like her birthday, Valentine's Day, etc., but I thought that in 2011, the unspoken rule for first dates was you split the check. But I was chatting with a girl I had met on OKCupid, and she said that she expects the guy to pay for the meal on first dates, as does her roommate, and if the guy split the check with her she wouldn't care to see him again. So what's the rule here? Is the obvious solution of going out for drinks on a first date and paying for ourselves the correct one?

You know what I have never cared about that much on an early-ish date? Who ended up paying. You know what I have cared about? People with elaborate philosophies constructed around why they shouldn't have to pay. Oh, and people who call themselves rational human beings. You're a confused, hairless gibbon just like all of us, get over it. Against my better judgement, which still isn't that good, I am going to explain this paying-for-shit concept to you, though, in the hopes that you will someday age into a confused hairless gibbon with some capacity for self-reflection.

No matter who asks who, if it's a hanging-out date, like if you guys meet up at a bar then go to another bar then grab some pizza then go throw rocks off a bridge then make out some, and it's all "we're both poor, no one really asked anyone out the internet just somehow teleported us both here," I fully admit that in this totally egalitarian post-feminist paradise with no inequality at all we inhabit, she should probably make some gesture toward her wallet. That said. When she does so, you should PROTEST HEAVILY if only for pragmatic reasons. A lot of otherwise really awesome girls are pretty heavily socialized on the dudes-pay issue. You will be shutting out incredible people with almost no other issues if you won't pony up the what, the 30 dollars it takes to have an awesome dive bar/chalupa night out? And on the flipside, being willing to throw down those 30 dollars can raise your stock a lot more than it ought to because if there's one thing there aren't a lot of, it's men in their early-to-mid-20s with any sense of gallantry. Hahaha oh man I am literally crying I'm laughing so hard over here, now just crying, now sort of staring at my feet and giving up forever, OK, climbing back up my column! Maybe I'll try facing west this time!

How do you break up with a friend?? I've wondered this my whole life, even when I was like five years old and my best friend threatened to punch me in the face if I stopped jumping on her trampoline with her.

Does this happen? I am trying to remember the last time I for reals broke up with a friend instead of just like, gradually phasing them out. I have friends who have dramatic friendships with their other friends where it's like, "I'm never talking yo you ever again, you bitch!" but that never sticks and then it's all HUGZZZZ and crying three days later. No, I think Lady protocol on this one is the phase-out. If ex-friend is all, what's up, I suggest saying something with the structure of "I'm not comfortable around people who punch me in the face, and have decided not to allow that dynamic in my life." P.S. Can I come jump on your trampoline?

I thought you gave some very nice and pragmatic advice to the boy seeking best practices for stalking women in bookstores the other day. I have zero problems inflicting myself upon women as they shop, do their laundry, reading on the subway, etc., but I do have an issue with hitting on them while they are at work. You see, there's a girl I like at the coffee shop, and I want to ask her out, but I'd feel like a creep for doing it while she is trapped behind a counter and obliged in her duties to be nice to me.

I mean, it's like, you don't ask your waitress for her phone number. That's a never, it's a creep move! But I see this girl often, and I'd like to think to think that there is some kind of flirtatious rapport, and I don't think I'd ever see her outside of her work.

What's a dude to do, Lady? I'd like to go out with her, I'd rather not make her feel awkward while at work, and I also don't want to fuck up my vibe at my closest/favorite coffee spot!

I have had ridiculous fairytale luck with the dating-your-server-person thing, so my inclination was, of course, go for it! Name your children after me! (LADIES: This does not count for bartenders. Good god, never bartenders. If you take one thing away from this entire website, or even the entire internet, maybe "never bartenders" should be it?)

Recognizing my bias rendered me incapable of giving adequate advice, so I prepared to call the Council of Ladies. Down from my column, I filled goatskins with Riesling enough for a journey of 40 days (60 in heels) and stocked the saddlebags of my mule with Parliaments and whatever was in my kitchen, mostly Saltines, and earrings to switch into if I decided later they went better with what I was wearing than the first earrings. I climbed to the highest peaks of the Andes, where at the moment of sunrise I called out the secret prayer we all know and you don't, and the Ladies Who Know Things gathered about me in the icy dawn.

"Heeeeeeeey you guys!" We all do the kiss-kiss thing. "Um, have any of you worked in coffee shops?" One had. Also it turned out she was like one of my best friends so I really just could have Gchatted her. Thus she spake:

AH! I snagged my last boyfriend when I was a barista and he was a cute coffee-drinking customer. And it took us SO LONG to start dating because he didn't want to come off like the creepy guy who told me that he thought there should a Playboy edition focusing on Peet's baristas! (Creepster dude also told my assistant manager that he could get her a gym membership at his gym! Gross!) And ex-boyfriend was also worried that I was just being nice to him because I had to be nice to everyone, which I did have to be (though creepster dude got the bare minimum). But here's the thing: my ex-boyfriend wasn't creepy, and I was super nice to him because I thought he was really cute, and so when he fiiinally worked up the nerve to ask me out, I went out with him. And we had hot sex and feeling-sharing and all that normal relationship stuff.

So, how to ask a girl out who you buy coffee from: Don't be creepy. That's about it. This also applies to hitting on girls who work in bars, as I also used to be a girl who worked in a bar. At the bar in particular, dudes were giving me their numbers alll the time (thank you, beer goggles?), and as long as they weren't creepy (e.g., stood five feet away from me and stared without speaking), I was flattered. The nice thing about working in a place that sold alcohol was that creepy guys got 86ed, and that was pretty great, unlike in the coffee shop. Finally, how to be non-creepy in the coffee shop setting: pretty much the same way as in normal life. Be friendly and casual and give her the space to say no, and then be normal if she says no. The fact that this guy is worried about being creepy makes me think that he's not creepy. Oh, but keep in mind that if he does go out with this chica and then realizes that she is a freak show, his favorite coffee shop will be ruined all the same. Is he willing to risk that for that?

So thank you for that, A Former Barista Lady! I would add only that if Barista does say no thanks, I totally think you can still go to the coffee shop and have it not be weird. Like, smile and wave and get your latte and write your screenplay. It's a place of public accommodation, it was like, CREATED FOR YOU TO BUY AND DRINK COFFEE AT, that is why it exists. Plus seriously, you are probably the least ridiculous customer she will have that day, like, have you seen some of these juiceboxes? Right, so what's the goony Rudyard Kipling poem? Something like, "If you can be normal at a coffee shop after getting shot down by the barista, then my son, you have become a man + seriously, fuck India"? That.

Previously: Abuse and Parents.

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady?

Photo via Flickr

214 Comments / Post A Comment


"(Everyone in comments who's about to be like, "I've been married for 7000 years and we fuck all day every day and each time I see fireworks shaped like other, better fireworks" is lying.)" If I saw fireworks after knocking boots with my husband of 15 years, I'd worry about eye problems and needing to see the opthamologist. Not that he isn't an awesome lay, mind you.

I love this A Lady, getting a serious Edith vibe. Must be the Stylites and HUGZZZ.


@Bittersweet the casual tossing-in of "juicebox" screams Edith...


@beeline96 Agreed. Juicebox = Edith.

Edith Zimmerman

@Bittersweet Haha. Not me! But I told you it would catch on. I TOLD YOU!

elysian fields

once again, the Hairpin makes me silent laugh at my desk with tears running down my face. "Stylites" did me in. The Byzantine-history-nerd part of me is tickled to death.
Any Lady who incorporates weirdo historical references is my favorite Lady. Period.


@elysian fields: "breakup with everyone, forever, and go live on a column!" is a perfect definition for many columnists I know... ;)


Ahh I really enjoy this A Lady. Well done on the Stylites & Rudyard Kipling references.


Oh, um this is awkward... Never bartenders? Really? No exceptions? What if they are ex housemates with your friend and their proximity to your work and superior cocktail making abilities leaves you defenseless to their charms?! Then what? Maybe a little ok? Still no?


@emmadee25 Did you meet them at the bar, or did you start going to the bar because you already know them?


@Ophelia I was at the bar with barmans exroomie because said barman was working. In the interest of full disclosure I have been to the bar when hes working which has led to banter and free stuff. Also he friended me on FB, what does it all mean!?

Judith Slutler

@emmadee25 That's not a bartender, that's your friend's ex-housemate who happens to be a bartender! Hit on him when he's not at work (I'm assuming you also see this guy at places that are not at his work)

Edit: Oh ok I saw your second comment and the answer is ask him out over Facebook to some group activities that involve your friend and her friends, etc. Get to know him outside of his work environment!



That he would like you to tend his bar?


@planned/barrenhood great minds think alike I am currently in the process of some FB prodding, however when the hairpin says dont do something, I tend to give it a second thought.


@atipofthehat HA!


@emmadee25 okay, i used to subscribe to the "no bartenders" rule but i am currently in fuck-buddy relationships with not one, but two bartenders and I can say its the best sex I've had. Go for it! But also both my boys are kind of juiceboxes so watch out. Bartenders get cocky.

ps- dear god use a condom


Only six months in and the sex is already a snoozefest? Depending on how monogamous you're expected to be, I say bail now. Yes things slow down and change but that sounds torturous, and not in a good way.


Yep. I had this one time. Super great guy, terrible chemistry. I kept trying to tell myself that the sex was good enough and that other things were more important. Turned out the bad sex was a huge symptom of the ways we were incompatible (lack of passion, his unwillingness to leave his comfort zone even just a little). I still think he's wonderful, but breaking up was so smart (even though it hurt a lot at first). I'm pretty happy to be with a guy where the sex is hot and the partnershippy stuff is pretty good too. I need both.


@magnificentjane Your story gives me hope for my future love+sex life. Keeping the great-but-incompatible guy as a friend and moving onnnn.


Mucho LOL's at "seriously, have you seen some of these juiceboxes?"


Dude, pay for a first OkCupid date. Just do it.

Katie Walsh

@piekin Yeah, at least the first one. Think of it as an investment in your own stock.

amateur hour

@piekin seriously! I've been doing the OkCupid thing for a month or so and have gone out with a few guys...none of them offered to pay, one of them asked if I wanted to share dessert and then proceeded to shovel it down his gullet and then I still ended up paying for half of it. If they don't offer to pay, I get the feeling like they're not that into me (I mean...it's at the end of the date, you have the whole date to decide whether you'd like to pay for my beer and salad). I most likely wouldn't let them pay anyway, but it would be nice of them to offer and they would win serious points.

I did have my first successful OkCupid date last night though! yay! I actually liked the dude and gave him a hug instead of a handshake at the end.

Tammy Pajamas

@Katie Walsh Agreed. I used to not care, but then I went out with a dude that firmly said, "no" when I tried to pay and it was hot. Manly! If I were a dude though, I would be suspicious of a girl that didn't at least offer (though it would not be a deal breaker). I would definitely dump a girl if she did not offer to pay for anything at any point during the first three dates.

Katie Walsh

@Tammy Pajamas The reach for the wallet is key on the girl's part. And guys, if you are low on funds, suggest a cheap first date and pay. It still counts!


@piekin Man, I do not understand how this works. SO GLAD I'M A HOMO.

I just don't get why there'd be a presumption that of course one person should pay for going out.

I *do* understand why both people would be eager to pay for each other. That's kindness! It expresses interest!

Lily Rowan

Also, I'm sorry, but the first date from the internet should be a drink and not a meal. That's just the rule!

I love when guys pay and don't mind when they don't.


@Choire FOR REAL. I mean I am bi, but dating other ladies made me realize - I just want to trade off, after we both express interest in paying for the other because that's what nice dates do.

...And that goes for both genders. Half the reason I lost interest in one boy was because he WOULD NOT let me pay. It actually bothered me, he was so insistent about it. LISTEN, sir, if we are at the Burger King I think we can pay for our own food, okay? Okay?



Man, I do not understand how this works and I AM A STRAIGHT DUDE.

Frankly, the entire concept of dating confuses me, and I am far too old to be confused by it. I thought you were just struck by lightning and woke up next to a girl? Then you lost her by trying to hide some minor detail that she would have totally accepted and then you sang songs to get her back?

Wish my mom had socialized me with something other than 60s musicals...


@piekin oh lord. first date? pay for the date. if she's worth a second date, pay for that one too. and so on, until both your names are on the checks and it doesn't matter.

Judith Slutler

@phenylalanine I am a straight woman and I prefer to trade off, too. I love it when my boyfriend pays for me and I love paying for my boyfriend!

Katie Walsh

@beerd Just keep reading Ask A and you'll figure some stuff out.


@Lily Rowan I agree...at least that should be the presumption. The guy I'm engaged to now asked me to a brewery...so obviously they have food and drinks...but anywho the date was drinks around 4. He could ask me to have dinner if he wanted after the fact (which he did) which meant I instantly knew he was SOOOO into me. That and the googly eyes he swears he didn't have.

Lily Rowan

@swxnw Awww! That sounds sweet.


First date I always pay just because its easier than trying to guess what the girl is going to do but when the check comes and the girl doesnt even pretend that she might pay it pisses me off.


So on the other hand, if I am a girl, and I am on a date with a guy, and when the check arrives the guy says "Do you want to split this?" do I automatically run? Thanks.........


@causedbycomma I say no. I am a girl who prefers to split checks (then when in a relationship, sometimes treat each other, just because you feel like it). I wouldn't exactly advise a dude friend to say "do you want to split this?" because of what A Lady said, a lot of girls are socialized that way, but that doesn't mean you have to make that socialization YOUR rule too. I say be flexible - if he wants to pay, that doesn't mean he is a neanderthal chauvinist, and if he wants to split (or you both do) that shouldn't be a dealbreaker either. Too wishy-washy?


@bb Don't you know that every action, no matter how trivial-seeming, speaks to the deepest elements of a person's character?


@bb No, I hear you. What complicates things is that sometimes I make more money than the people I go on dates with, and I feel bad letting them pay for everything, but it is nice to be taken out sometimes. To me it depends more on whether the person has other sort of gentlemanly characteristics - I don't mind paying for half the check but I like it when he holds the door for me...


@bb Yeah, it's weird territory. I strongly prefer going dutch on a first date, especially if I'm pretty confident I'm not going to want to see the dude again.

And yet, especially with online dating, the offer to pay seems like a nice gentlemanly signal of romantic interest. And then if you reciprocate that interest and want to lock down a second date, you can offer to get the check next time.


@boyofdestiny Exactly. So what you should do, when he asks if you want to split the check, is stare at him, while thinking about what it means, for a nice long time.


@blily YES THIS - I definitely go dutch when I meet the guy and I'm like "Ack!" and know the date will end in a hug or quick cheek smooch or mad dash out the door while he's in the bathroom.


@causedbycomma As a woman, my experience is that if a guy is really interested in me, he won't let me pay for the first date, but if he's on the fence about me, he is willing to let me pay my share. So, I don't consider it his obligation to pay, but I do consider it an indicator of interest.


@causedbycomma EXACTLY this.


My personal rule: you ask, you pay. If you call me up/message me on OKCupid or wherever to go to dinner, follow through with it, and I'll do the same when it's my turn to ask you.

And if you're worried about how much you're going to spend, stay within your means. Don't ask me out to Le Bernardin and then get pissed because I ordered the three-tailed Atlantis lobster.


@applestoapples This is an alright personal rule, although I can imagine a situation where two people like each other but one party takes it upon themselves to initiate dates every time. Maybe an every-other-date rule would be better?

And there are conflicting motives at work here. Because what you do when the check comes sends a certain message, but where you go in the first place also sends a message. So the guy of limited financial means has to make the calculation of which is more important: taking a girl to a modest place so he can afford to pick up the check, or taking a girl to a nice place and having to split the check. I'd really love to believe that the venue for a first date isn't all that important, but then again, I don't think what happens with the check is all that important, but apparently it is!


@boyofdestiny Well, I think you're reading more into my rule than I intended--I don't judge where you take me as long as it's in context with your charm and circumstances. In fact, I prefer just a couple of drinks and chatting on a first date.

For me, getting the check isn't about what I'm owed as a woman who needs chivalry, but about forethought and generosity as a person who is interested in another person and putting their best foot forward. That's why I hold myself to the same standard.

As far as the "you ask, you pay"--I go by that rule because I'm assuming that two people who feel a spark will naturally fall into some pattern of asking each other out on a regular basis. If one person is doing all the asking, something ain't right.


@boyofdestiny The place doesn't really matter. If you ask a girl out and you are of limited funds, go to a bar you like for a couple of drinks and offer to pay. Hopefully if you see each other again she'll pay next time. I try to keep it even with the men I date, but if he asks and doesn't pay, it's a warning sign.

Katie Walsh

@boyofdestiny I don't think the venue matters as much as the offer to pay, as that indicates thoughtfulness and romantic interest more than anything else I think.


@boyofdestiny I have been on many an awesome date at "modest places." I wouldn't want a guy to feel self-conscious about that. And it can totally work in the guy's favor if he positions it like, "I want to take you to this great little Vietnamese dive I know." He's sharing his knowledge and his city know-how, and that's cool!

elysian fields

@boyofdestiny you only have to pay on the first date! It's a sign that you're interested. Any decent lady, if you continue to ask her out, will offer to split from that point forward. Or maybe you'll develop a pattern where you alternate picking up the check.

Also, the venue really does not matter. I actually think it's nicer on a first date to go to a low-key place for drinks (caffeinated or alcoholic) than to start with a whole dinner. Plus, if the date goes poorly, it's easier to escape! Once you sit down to dinner, you're gonna be trapped for over an hour.


@apples I like this second graf, especially because it takes the check issue out of the realm of the gender roles that I cheekily lamented below and into the realm of just being an attractive human. I am persuaded!

@Katie and Weaz, This all makes sense. I think it still requires a bit of a leap of faith to believe that the venue really doesn't matter, but I'll make it.

Katie Walsh

@boyofdestiny I think venue matters in terms of reflecting what you like to do/your idea of a good time. If it's an inexpensive place but your favorite dive bar/pizza shop/cheap movie night, you'll likely have fun if it's something you like to do. And I think that's the most important element of the venue. Not how fancy it is. Best date I ever went on? Wandering around Soho, stopping for French fries and white wine.

Lily Rowan

@Katie Walsh: EXACTLY. The place should fit you, not be "nice."


@boyofdestiny I agree with Katie and Apples. Just go someplace that you enjoy and think your date will, doesn't have to be swanky. I brought a date (I asked) to the Fairway in Red Hook, bought some cheese and a key lime pie and looked at the water. It was a great time for both of us.


@Weaziller Oooh, was it a Steve's key pime pie?


@applestoapples Indeed it was. So delicious.


@applestoapples I'm going to thread jack this post to say KEYLIME PIE! Man, I have been craving some ever since I had an awesome key lime cheesecake a year ago. Anyone have any good recipes?


@DrFeelGood I'm not good at making it, just eating it. But my mom swears by Emeril's recipe.

femme cassidy

@applestoapples I am seriously so on board with this scenario. If I ask you out, I am offering to pay for it. One hundred percent all the time. (Also, I am a lady, and in the past I have dated dudes, and I always insisted on paying if I was the one who asked. If you can't afford to go out, don't ask people on dates.)


Kinda wish guydom had a more effective champion for not always paying for the first date...


Money quote: "You're a confused, hairless gibbon just like all of us, get over it."

Also like the trampoline thing.


OK so I worked at Target for a while and I got hit on alllllll the tiiiiime so I will disagree slightly/add a caveat to the whole hitting on ladies while they workin' thing: If she looks like she is tired, or busy, or having a bad day, DO NOT HIT ON HER. Baristas maybe have this problem less (except during morning rush, seriously, don't hit on the barista during morning rush; if not because the barista has 100000 things to do, at least because of ME THE PERSON IN LINE BEHIND YOU WHO NEEDS TO GO TO WORK), but if you work in retail about 98% of your days are bad busy days where at least 5 customers have yelled at you and someone telling you that you look hot in the red shirt and khakis you have grown to hate (seriously, I still won't wear red shirts or khakis) just makes you want to beat them to death with the sparkly princess pony you just risked your life getting out of the stockroom for the lady and her screaming toddler.

Hot mayonnaise

@antarcticastartshere: Wanna go out sometime? Dutch, of course.



Try wearing something that doesn't have a target on it ha ha ha I'm so sorry.


Dear #2, from another feminist dude:
Yes, I consider myself a feminist dude like you. What you need to remember is that gender equality does not mean the erasing of all gender differences, especially within (potentially or fully) romantic relationships. There are still some things in the world where you need to be a little bit "I AM A MAN ARGHHH" while there are others which do not. Here's a short list so you get the idea:

"I AM A MANLY MAN": Paying on the first date, giving a cold lady your jacket even though it means you're even colder, opening the door for her, randomly sending her flowers for no reason at all, whilst fucking

"I believe in equal rights for all variously gendered people": Doing the dishes & chores when cohabitating, paying for regular weeknight dinners on the 500th date, when deciding whether or not to fuck.

Tammy Pajamas

@leon.saintjean Yes! Didn't see this before I commented above. These things definitely make you a manly man!


@Leon.saintjean: Beautifully, beautifully put. Bravo, manly man!


@leon.saintjean, yes! Wow! I LOVE guys who randomly send you flowers while fucking!

Hot mayonnaise

@theinvisiblecunt: smart phones have made that much less awkard than calling and talking to the FTD lady while grunting.


Handy guide: Gender norms are OK when they result in free meals.



Brother, Ray Charles said it best:


@boyofdestiny More generally, gender norms that say women should do things for men are not OK, while gender norms that say men should do things for women are OK.


@AllSaintsDay PLEASE. I shave my body, squeeze myself into constricting garments, paint my face, wear painful shoes, and otherwise primp and preen to an ungodly extent before a date. Considering the amount of money and time I spend holding up my end of the gender binary, I don't think it's too much to ask for a dude to pick up the tab on the first date.


@boyofdestiny if you resent being a man so much because you have to pick up the first check, maybe you should give up all your man privileges, too?


@leon.saintjean on the other hand, if you ladies want to smash down gender barriers, feel free to go out of your way to buy me drinks on thursday.


@boyofdestiny I'm a lady, and I'm with you. This shit's blowing my mind a little. I really can't believe that going dutch is so unpopular with all these folks. Why does my lady status entitle me to free shit? Especially, as others have mentioned, if we're all a little low on cash--I'm more or less poor, and so is my fella. We get to go out less if he's paying for two people all the time, too. I just don't fucking get it. I guess I feel like if this dude wants to date a lady who shares the feminist ideas he has (not that all feminists HAFTA always want to go dutch, whatever, I'm not the arbiter of what is/isn't feminist), then he's weeding out the incompatible ones if they're really that turned off by him not paying for the first date.


@jessicaks This.


@jessicaks I don't think anyone on here is suggesting that doods pay for everything ALL THE TIME, or even most of the time. It's just that when a guy doesn't even offer to pick up the tab on an internet-arranged first date (especially when he's like "WELL I'M NOT PAYING BECAUSE AREN'T YOU A FEMINIST??") it can rub some ladies the wrong way.

Rory Hoffman@facebook

@piekin You realize dudes finding ladies via the internet will end up paying for 4-8 extra meals per month if nobody likes them. And, of course, this makes internet dating sound like a women's-only food bank. Let's all go back in time to when a woman could survive on a smile except without the horrible downsides that behavior reinforced!


@Rory Hoffman@facebook wtf?


I almost never let guys pay for the first date, but I DO enjoy the little dance that must be done. like cheque comes, guy puts his hand on it to take it, I say "oh, let me get half, it's only fair!" he says "don't worry about it, i'm happy to get it." I say "I insist!" and he says "well sure but then next one's on me." or he doesn't, and then plus: I know how the date went.

I used to get asked for my number lots as a waitress, which was nice I thought, it's also a really nice built in excuse "oh sorry, I can't give out my number through work." unless uh, you're cute.


@euphoria Ive never been able to hit on bartenders or waitresses. The fact that they work for tips always puts the idea in my head that the reason shes being nice and flirting with me is because she wants my money.


Personally, I like to pay for drinks and then dinner and then take her out afterward and buy her clothes and shoes and whatever else she requires.


@atipofthehat Well, if she's naked during the drinks & dinner part, I'd say paying is the least you can do.






"Do you want to split this?" just took on a new meaning.

Answer: "Yes! But first, let me get the check."

Hot mayonnaise

Dude, just pay for the first date. It's simpler and you don't have to think about stuff so much.

If you offer/insist to pay:
"Traditional" woman thinks you're nice
"Feminist" woman thinks you're nice

If you suggest splitting costs:
"Traditional" woman thinks you're a cheap asshole
"Feminist" woman thinks you might be a cheap asshole

You decide.


@Hot mayonnaise Even if woman thinks you're treating her as an equal, it also potentially sends the message that the guy doesn't think she's particularly special.



If you're going through a tight time, you can say so! Someone worth a second date will understand, especially if you're a freelancer or in some irregularly paid line of work. The reaction can be: this guy is broke right now, but honest.


@atipofthehat In practicality, this is great advice. It's true to the lay of the land.

DOESN'T IT FEEL WEIRD THOUGH??? I don't know how I'd feel from the lady perspective!


@atipofthehat I once had a guy offer to make me dinner at his apartment because he was too broke to take me anywhere (this was back in college so not necessarily a bad sign)... it was one of the best dates ever and probably cost him about four dollars because he essentially made spaghetti with red sauce.



Basically, THAT CHECK HAD BETTER COME IN in time for the second date!

This happened to me, and after the second date I got: "I thought you were cheap. But you're not at all." And then she moved in with me.

Lily Rowan

@iceberg -- I hate to say this, but I feel like "I'm too broke to buy you a drink" doesn't work in one's 30s. Especially because it's so easily disguised by "Let's go to my favorite dive bar! Isn't it hilarious?? (and the beer is $3!)"

Note I only mean this to apply to early-stage dates.


@Lily Rowan No you're quite right, this guy was about 21? and I think I was 19 or 20, and it was a between-paychecks thing.

I just wanted to point out it's possible to be a super-cheap date and still win points!

Rachel Bishop@facebook

@saythatscool If the girl doesn't offer to pay, does that mean she doesn't think the guy is particularly special?


@Lily Rowan

Even the most ardent feminist is going to react badly to "I'm too broke to buy you a drink." Or "Let's split this." It suggests a life lived badly, a lack of ability to plan, and an interest in finding a woman to take care of you since you cannot take care of yourself, which is completely not sexy.
And who the hell goes out for a meal for a first look-see with a prospect found online? My God! Those shouldn't even be considered dates! (It's Coffee, A Drink, Figure Out How Badly You Lied About Yourself and OMG You Used A Picture of Your Attractive Younger Brother.)

Lily Rowan

@City_Dater -- Seriously, you can totally get away with coffee for a first date! And maybe a walk for the second date! I just feel like there are ways around this, if your concern is the actual money and not the principle.


@Rachel Bishop@facebook Maybe?


@Lily Rowan

And if the concern is the principle, not the actual money, it's just pettiness.


@Lily Rowan Saturday afternoon museum visit even. The Met is always "pay what you wish" even though it doesn't seem like it. Then coffee afterward.

Judith Slutler

@Lily Rowan So true. Broke dudes, you presumably know how to have non-dating fun on the cheap, so you know how to put together a fun cheap date!



Staten Island Ferry at sundown....

Lily Rowan

@planned/barrenhood BTW, I love your username.


@Hot mayonnaise This is my philosophy. Rather than trying to read the mind of someone I really dont know I just do what I want to do and make it easy on myself. I also pick restaurants I really like so that even if the chick is a pain I know Im going to enjoy the meal anyway.


"Never Bartenders"???!?!!?!??! I SAY THEE NAY.

Me and my awesome 6 year-long sort-of-relationship that started when I flashed the bartender to settle my tab for the night are proving you WRONG right now.

Yeah, it's gonna blow up in my face at some point. All relationships do. But dating a bartender is totally fucking awesome and everyone should do it.

Hot mayonnaise

@cherrispryte: How big was the tab?


@Hot mayonnaise I never saw the actual tab? But two friends and I had been drinking heavily for about 6 hours, and I was paying for all of us. It was a substantial tab.



Can I buy you a drink?!?


@atipofthehat you can on Thursday!


@cherrispryte <3 <3 <3


I am on team never ever ever ask people out when a portion of their job is to be nice to you. But I mostly hate all the people and just want to be left alone forever. I extra hate the people who hit on me at work.


@heroicdestinysquad When I waitressed I hated the people who hit on me just as much as I hated the ones who didn't. What, I'm not good enough for you?

tea tray in the sky.

I disagree. You can still be nice whilst declining a date; it's not rude to say no, or "I don't know how my boyfriend would feel about that, *wink*, but seriously no." Just because you have to be nice while your on the clock, doesn't mean you have to be put on the spot!

girl wearing glasses

i say, whoever asks the other for the pleasure of their company for drinks/dinner/whatever pays.
if a guy asks me out on a date, i assume he is paying.

if i ask a guy on a date, i assume i am paying (though boys usually feel weird about this).
...if we are friends and talk about hanging out sometime and it sort of naturally happens that we decide to eat and drink together...then i assume we are paying for our own stuff.
...and if you are someone i am regularly seeing, i would assume that we split the bill, or at least take turns paying.

oh also....that thing about wanting a guy to think you are special enough to foot the bill for.


I take a different stance on the OKCupid date. I think whoever suggests a real live meet-up should pay for both OR they should split. For example, I went on an OkCupid date with this guy who asked ME out and then when the check came he looked at me like I was going to pay for all of it. Sorry bud, you asked me so the best I can do is pay for my half. I had no problem splitting the check though, so that's what I did.

I'm currently on 3rd date with a different (and far superior) OkCupid dude and we've consistently paid our own way unless one person explicitly asked the other (I asked him to a concert, I bought his ticket).

There's also that kind of convincing argument that women are expected to wear/dress/make-up/look expensive (like, do you know how much that sexy natori bra cost? more than your whole outfit combined, and yes, it is important because my boobs look AWESOME in it). But I could be hot without the Natori bra and if I were naturally beautiful I wouldn't need to buy mascara, etc. So, I generally don't hold that against a dude when it comes to dating.

femme cassidy

I am so glad to see that at least a couple of people are espousing the "whoever asks should pay" policy that I think is just straight-up common sense.

Like: If I ask you out, and it's our first date, I don't know anything about your financial situation. My favorite Greek restaurant may be totally out of your price range. So if I'm inviting you to have dinner there with me, I'm implying that I can cover it. All I require you to contribute is the pleasure of your company. I seriously think this should be the hard and fast rule for EVERYONE, FOREVER. Bonus points: People who think the dude should always pay are pretty much the same people who think the dude should always be the asker, so they don't have to change the way they do business at all. It just simples things up for the rest of us.


Love this Lady but WRONG on #1, so, so wrong. She didn't just say that the sex was bad or boring, she said she wasn't ATTRACTED to him. Sex may get better or worse over time, but if y'aint feeling him in the beginning, y'aint gonna after 6 or 12 or 863 months. EVER!! I am an expert on this after having TWO relationships with two awesome, smart, kind, witty and apparently (to other women) sexy men. But I never felt a visceral attraction to either, even though I dated the first for 2 whole years and the second for 8 months (yes, I know, slow learner). But after #2 I met a wonderful guy who I was SUPER attracted to and 8+ years later we are happily married and while maybe not seeing the fireworks of yesteryear, even with some ups and down in the sex dept, we are still enjoying ourselves immensely!

RUN!! RUN LIKE THE WIND, #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dracula's ghost

@NYnative I agree!!!!! Obviously the sex tapers down a bit as monogamy progresses, but over the course of YEARS, and slowly, not six months, and "not attracted at all, period." And even when you're in the tapering-off stage with your dude, you ideally would never feel "not attracted" to him. That is a deep bummer and she should BAIL HARD.

Also I can't believe paying/not paying for dates is still a thing people talk about. Don't you both just kind of go, "oh here, let me..." and then whoever is stronger wrestles the check from the other? That's been my experience. Sometimes I am the stronger and sometimes I am the weaker. When I am proven the weaker then I know he is worthy to fill me with his seed. (<--deeply gross joke that I am not deleting)


@NYnative Hmm I wish #1 had provided more information. She didn't say "not attracted," she said "no chemistry," which more made me wonder if they have a communication issue. Is he one of those dudes that sticks to one or two positions, puts on all his clothes right after, doesn't really want to talk about what he likes or what she likes, and just kinda plays dumb when she seems dissatisfied? I just wonder b/c she also says "everything I have tried to spice it up doesn't work." As opposed to saying something like, "we've talked about what turns me on but he just doesn't seem to get it."Or whatever. You should probably dump him, #1.


@maggagie more like... he is wonderful and sweet and tries everything i want him too...it just isn't there? so, maybe it's the person asking the question who has the issue. Although this particular person has had wonderful sex before and loves sex so..

or so i've heard


@Kitty. Run, my friend. Seriously. The guys I dated would have worn a tutu and made love to my big toe if I'd wanted them to---unfortunately, tutu toe love is only sexy when you are attracted to your partner. And I wasn't!

Remember that feeling of remembering the night before and flushing with excitement, almost despite yourself, at how hot it was? You will never flush that way about someone who doesn't turn you on. I'm sorry---but better to end it now before you cheat with that cute friend you've been eyeing for years who just happens to be single now and prone to buying you many drinks. I'm just SAYIN...


"Bitches are gold digging on my gold, always trying to get me to pay for shit. Why are bitches gold-digging? We just met!

Also, why don't girls like me."


@Hamilton Hold me, Hamikins.


Never bartenders = true facts. They are vampires who are eventually going to cheat on you because their job is drinking around drunk ladies in the dark. But totally do hook up with the bartender. Free drinks forevs!

Also my mom met my dad while bartending so I wouldn't even be here if she subscribed to the never bartenders rule but still DON'T DO ITTT.


Okay, I admit my age-to-relationship ratio is a little skewed thanks to, I dunno, whatever it is that leads to long spells of singlehood (pickiness? shit ton of gay guys in my life?), so this question may come off as incredibly naive, but here goes anyway: How do people (men and women alike) end up in relationships with people they're not even attracted to? Sex I can understand. Going on 5 dates when 1 or 2 would've been sufficient to realize it wasn't going to work, okay. But a relationship? A whole, complete, exclusive relationship of months' or even years' duration with someone you're not attracted to and never have been? I'm flummoxed. (And perhaps I also just answered the question of why my relationship tally is low?) Help me understand, Hairpinners!

Katie Walsh

@SuperGogo This is soooo me too.


@SuperGogo Yep, me too. However, my 18 month dry spell is causing me to seriously reconsider my attraction requirements...


@SuperGogo: No idea how this happens, but it DOES. My cousin married a dude despite not being physically attracted to him and having few interests in common. She told me this as they were divorcing, 3 FREAKIN' YEARS later.


@SuperGogo having done it a few times, I posit this:
you keep thinking 'he is sooo sweet/loyal/funny/interesting, surely the attraction will grow. If this was a film, and he was the not-obviously-sexy man played by Paul Giamatti/Jack Black/Steve Carell, I would be all rooting for him. Therefore, according to Hollywood Logic, sticking with this is The Right Thing To Do. Plus the men I have desperately fancied have turned out to be cheaty asshats. And what if I end this and then don't meet anyone else ever and I hate myself for breaking up with someone this sweet/loyal/funny/interesting?'
And you think this for several months, and then you painfully dump him.
I stopped this habit, but I do understand it.


@SuperGogo I know, right? This was me until I got into a relationship at 28 and trudged to the 18 month mark with baaaad sex and many attempts to break up with him. The slut phase that I entered after this failed venture into a relationship with bad chemistry was epic.

Also, my cat really liked him? Yeah, I just don't know.


@insouciantlover Ha! Same deal here, though it was only 9 months. I kept thinking "he's SO great in every other way." Also, I really liked HIS cat.
Also, good to know the slut phase is a normal reaction.


@TrilbyLane preach it. cheaty assholes tend to equal great sex for me... there has to be a non cheaty asshole that can work it... right?

Internet Girl

@TrilbyLane Yeah, I think H-wood shoulders a lot of the blame here. Our movie culture has NEVER FELT SORRIER for the unsexy dude (who TOTALLY DESERVES to be fucking his perfect-10 best friend CUZ HE'S A DECENT GUY, for which there really ought to be Olympic Medals.)

That said, attraction/chemistry is completely subjective (I would fuck Jesse Eisenberg until I made him cry.) But why are women always being encouraged to stick it out with men they don't want to bang?? It drives me batshit. The world is a big place, ladies. You can find a dick - attached to a smart, interesting person - that you actually want to fuck.


@TrilbyLane you think it will get better. because they truly are amazing. And how can the P in V be bad if they are that amazing??? defies logic


@SuperGogo i dont know....i met my babydaddy *uggh* at 17 and was totally NOT attracted to him. Sex was awkward and not hot....but 13 years later i love having sex with him and he totally grew on me!! i am now like ONLY attracted to chunky guys who are kinda shy and awkward! he defintely changed my "type" and i am waay more attracted to him now then i was when we first met. i say if everything else is awesome...and he cares about you, TALK ABOUT IT!! see if you can change it. if its boring for you, it probably is for him too!! and dudes...just pay!


@SuperGogo I think it depends... I thought I had a type, yea turns out my "type" was something I just came up with, and wasn't necessarily a good person for me. My first date with my husband, I wasn't ready to tear his clothes off... I had a totally neutral feeling. I gave him a 2nd chance because he seemed like a "nice" guy and by the third date I thought he was kind of "cute". 8 years later, well, I lurve him lots. We're very different people (v. different careers, interests, families). I think compatibility has a lot less to do with looks than we'd like to think it does. If you like a person's personality, their appearance starts to grow on you - or it should? I guess I'm trying to say - give that "nice" guy a chance, but if he doesn't grow on you in a few dates, it's probably not going to work.


@Internet Girl Oh my god, Jesse Eisenberg. TRUTH.


This. I'm gay and even I would hit that.

elysian fields

@FMoss3 BACK. AWAY. NOW. He is mine. I called dibs after watching "Adventureland."


8 months into a relationship with the bartender. I was so reluctant! But it turned out that he just liked plants and his dog, and not sleeping around as I had imagined. He has also turned out to be the most wonderful, intelligent, loyal boyfriend ever, but to be fair, I never EVER EVER hit on him while he was working because UGH.

Rachel Bishop@facebook

I find it really baffling how many otherwise feminist women have not gotten past the 'men should pay on a date' idea. That ritual is based in nothing but the idea that the entire point of dating is to find a man to support you. It's a nice thing for him to offer, but it is simply ridiculous to get mad if he doesn't. Period, the end, no shades of gray.

If he suggests a restaurant that's too expensive, say that it's outside your budget and if he then offers to pay, that's fine. If he offers to pay in general, that's a lovely gesture. But his generally behaving as if you are an independent person who has her own resources doesn't mean he doesn't think you're special, it means he thinks. . you're an independent person with your own resources who isn't looking for a husband to come home every evening with a wild boar carcass for you to cook into bacon.


@Rachel Bishop@facebook I agree with the lady... If he has all these "opinions" on why he shouldn't pick up the check once and awhile, since it rails against his "feminism" then yea the guy is a prick...


@Rachel Bishop@facebook There's nothing baffling about it - unless you're trying to rationalize something that isn't about rationality - then, yes, it doesn't make any sense. A man who really likes a woman will want to do things for her - anything he can. He will take every opportunity to show her that he's attentive and interested. He will try to entice her to see him again. If he doesn't do these things, but instead complains about the check, he's really not interested in the woman. Believe me.


I got broken up with by a friend a couple years ago, and it was really weird because we hadn't really talked much for a year before that, and I feel like it would have been a lot easier/less awkward to just...continue not talking that much? until we just stopped talking all together? I don't know, but I feel like "I just don't like the type of person you are" is a little over dramatic.

and for the record, I don't like the type of person who feels they need to breakup with friends, so there!


@contrary right, the declaration on her part is pretty lame. The signs of a friendship breakup aren't that different than a normal one--more time apart, feeling like you have less in common, getting annoyed at little things that didn't used to bother you, etc.

But chances are good that if you haven't had much interaction in the past year you're both on the same page, so why draw attention to the obvious and ensure that if you two ever bump into each other in the supermarket or a mutual friend's party it will be EXTRA awkward? I hate that.


@DickensianCat right? RIGHT?! She tried to patch things up a year or two after that after running into each other a store, but I was l like "........whattttt?"

Every time I think about it I just shake my head and go "girl, you crazy."

Lily Rowan

Oh! I have a followup note to a previous "Ask A...." question, and I need to share it with You People, but now I wonder if anyone will even see it here. Anyway, I took especial note recently when Doing It, and noticed that the dude got super sweaty even when he was literally just lying there and letting me do all the work. And he is not a particularly in-shape dude, either. So, um, validation for the original asker of that question.


@Lily Rowan You have no idea how comforted I am by the fact that I am not the only person who sometimes calls "Ask A"s to mind while Doing It.


@Lily Rowan did he leave a sweat angel on the bed??? He did, huh?

Lily Rowan

@cherrispryte - HAHAHA! It's totally true. AND he asked what I was thinking! Which I could not answer, since I was thinking about how sweaty he was from just lying there. Um.

@insouciantlover - No, thank goodness! Or at least, I didn't notice one. And it was not my bed.

Internet Girl

@cherrispryte Ha. Thirded!

The Internet is infiltrating our vaginas.


Oh! Oh! I have everyone beat for "awkwardest way to meet someone" because you GUYS but I just met someone at a reception after a funeral, and we have a date Friday? Does God smite me now or later, or do I get judged by my deceased friend in the afterlife if it exists? Or does he give us high fives?


@Nutmeg Celebrate life! Your friend would have wanted you to etc.
: ) well done you.


@Nutmeg total high fives. Surely. And a celestial karaoke version of Circle of Life.



I know a couple who met that way. Together for so long now I forget when they got married, two kids, etc. It happens. And the friend who posthumously brought you together would surely be glad for you both.


@Nutmeg as long as it's not the decedent, then yippee.


Paying for the first date (if you asked) is just good manners, not necessarily chivalry. Just as is holding open the door for the person behind you, regardless of their gender. It's considerate and polite. You wouldn't ask a client out to dinner then demand they pay for half of the bill. If I'm the one doing the asking, I pay.


@Weaziller I concur most heartily.


im currently in a 3-year-plus relationship with a bartender, and while 3 years and no kids does NOT equal 15-year-marriage, we're still together and the sex is still the best of my life.

so, y'know, proving 2 theories kind of wrong.


As another Former Barista Lady: I say ask! There are creepers (eg, don't stick your phone number in the tip jar and then stare awkwardly from across the room for 2 hours. true story.), but it's easy to NOT be a creeper. Just wait till she's not busy and ask, and if she doesn't want to, she'll say so. It won't be awkward, like A Lady says. I once got some good dates out of a cute boy buying a Scientific American.

Granted, I will say that if you DO date for a while and then break up, then it might be awkward. So I guess factor that part in.


Scene: Arrival of Check
Me "Can I get half?"
Dude "I've got it, you can get next time. How does that sound?"
Me (in my brain): "Yay!! Second date!!" Out loud: "Sounds awesome."

At least, that's how I roll in my 30's.


@foureyedgirl Yea maybe because I'm older now, but I hate going out with friends who are like oh well I got 2 beers and you got 1 glass of wine so that is a 2 dollar difference... I mean just split it! Or treat and I get you back next time! If you can't afford to eat out, well, don't!


@DrFeelGood I can handle the divvying up when I am with friends in say, grad school and I have had, hypothetically, more than my share of Jack & gingers. Of course, with that much booze I'm probably slurring, "put it all on my caaaaarrrrdddd" to some poor bartender. But on a date, the divide and add game is a sure sign that another date ain't in the offing. Halvsies? Sure. Itemization? No go.


@DrFeelGood oh MAN it must suck for you that your friends don't have money. tears.


@hotdog Oh, but the dudes I date do... so don't cry for me.


@hotdog Oh, man, I totally stepped on someone else, as that was not my comment to reply to. My internet etiquette is all asunder. Apologies all around. And wishes of many free drinks to all.


@foureyedgirl agreed! alternately,

Scene: Arrival at Bar
Dude: "I get the first round, you get the next?"
Me: "Sounds good."

For a 'oh, we're both from the internet, who knows if we like each other for realsies yet' kind of date, i think this is the appropriate way to get the chivalry part out there (ie, offering to pay for the first round) without having drop too much dough. Plus, it's polite. I would guess that MOST girls are chill with this scenario.

That being said, if you actually like the girl and want to take her out on a 'lets keep this thing going in real life' date, you should a) take her to dinner at a place in your general price range and b) pay. Just do it.


@hotdog Yes, I only have friends who have a black Amex... Truth is I don't feel like splitting hairs over a few bucks. If you ordered some Dom Perignon while i drink my diet coke, pony up buddy, if not, I like being generous to my friends and enjoy when my friends do the same, you should try it sometime, its warm, fuzzy, etc.


@DrFeelGood you don't know me, nor my habits, nor my budget. some people can't afford to be generous (i.e. those two bucks mean a lot more to them than they do to you), and it irks me when others who can make some sort of generalization about personality out of that. but thanks, I am suuuuuuure you are totally more generous than me, I can tell by the internet. you should try it sometime.


@hotdog How am I making a generalization about you? I was responding to foureyedgirl, not you, and then you jumped in with your 2 cents, which I then responded to. I never said you weren't generous, and I wasn't drawing any conclusions about your personality... I was being facetious - and expressing my opinion on the topic. Your opinion is different? Fine.


The best justification for the "dudes pay" thing that i've heard is that it sort of makes up for the discrepancy in expectation for the level of personal grooming one presents on a first date. Likely, the dude is going to spend some time and money on getting himself ready, but still not as much as the lady. I duno. My boyfriend paid for everything in the early stages of our relationship, because he had a lot more money than I did. That's changed recently, and I pay for stuff a lot more. Just like with all money shit, though, it's kind of tacky to make a big deal out of it either way. I am not opposed to sharing the bill for a date but if a dude makes it a huge deal, I wouldn't want to see him again. Not because of the money thing, but because his being a dick about it would tell me something about who he is as a person.


@manshan What if the guy picks you up at your place? Gas aint cheap these days. You cant start itemizing all of the costs involved in preparing for and conducting a date.

" Lets see... I left work 45 minutes early and drove 30 miles total to pick you up and drop you off. That comes out to $28.77 total expenditure on top of dinner. Show me your prorated makeup and clothing costs so we can balance our sheets."



A Lady, you are my favourite Lady.

sarah girl

"Down from my column, I filled goatskins with Riesling enough for a journey of 40 days..."

As someone who regularly treks to the grocery store at 11pm solely for bottles of Riesling, I'm fucking dying at this.


@Sarah H. That part was my favourite thing ever. Also, am now wondering where I can find a goatskin large enough to hold 40 days' worth of Riesling...and how to attach a straw so that I can drink from it while it is concealed under my desk.


This is the best Lady ever! Hairpin Ladies and Dudes rock and keep the world on rockin'. Actually, Hairpin rocks. Internet... you rock too, you are not just full of conspiracy theorists and gossip and coupon sites and democracy Facebook addiction/abstention (yeah, there ARE still some holdouts), you are also filled with lovely little pockets of... the best that Humans can be. (And I am not talking about mcsweeney's cause I've never even been there before today... I go to Vanity Fair when I want some Kulture.)

Dude who won't pay:
There's your Sophie's Choice. I want to encourage you to go AGAINST the advice of this probably totally-too-awesome-for-you Lady, because, hey, you're awesome too, right? Even if you're not doling advice out on the Internet? And, sometimes the ladies have a choice, like, "he'd like you more if you weren't so.... smart, I mean, obviously smart. Dumb it down just a wee touch, and, well... look for the results in bed, baby!"

That said, girl with great relationship and NO (good/great/oh so super super gooood) sex. As (kind of) a member of that .001% (let's bring those numbers up! and raise the happiness quotient of America (yeah, I'm nesting parenthesis (not that I consider S-E-X to be the causal factor to happiness- hey, I've heard of the monastic relationship to ecstatic experience, but still I really am inclined to see that as the exception that proves the rule... so YES for the average Human, good healthy sex r= happiness (have I used that correlation symbol right?)))... Goooo-ood sexxxx, what maketh of? I think if you really truly have an Awesome Relationship, then it is damn worth it to try to get the good sex to go with. Because, good sex w/out the good relationship? How many of us have had that? It is, not so good. But like... ok mebbe you're doomed, like you just had too many past lives (poetically, metaphorically speaking) as like brother and sister to do the deed? Well, you could be sol, but... hey, have a cool kid anyway, and some "extra curriculars" on the side if you wanna kid with him and don't think you're likely to "get that total full package" cause hey raising kids with people you love and respect = awesome. Buuuut... sex is like music. Music, sometimes you are soooo inspired, sometimes, you wrote that hit song, but now... nuthin. Keep on travelin' down the road, though, and doing interesting things, and hey! What's this? Ohhhhh, what's this? Like, breaking down barriers is what sex is all about. Being naked, vulnerable, revealed in-the-moment! is oh, so, sexy! So, maybe you guys are just in a gulch, going, is there any water here (parch parch). But get out your water divination stick, girl, cause you just might find that over there... yes, over there, just a little ways beyond the bluff, is the most juiciest sex you could ever imagine! Shit can go from 0 to 60 in way less than you imagine. That's the match lit to the crowd, and it can be for good or ill, but if it's with a good heart, well, then, it's always for good.

Otherwise, good luck finding elsewhere!


And, as like for practical tips for what to do to get chemistry goin'... I think honesty is totally wicked frickin scary but that's adrenaline, no? And good tindersticks for sex? I remember people doing really funny things, like kid-like weird sort of almost non-sexual things for sex that became really hot. I think it's a mistake to be-all "this is boring" or "I'm not excited/inspired" because inspiration comes from excavation. It's in there. You just have to locate it. It's like cold cold cold warmer colder hotter oh! too hot! back away, too too hot! Funny that way. But you might find something that's always red hot that's like, never really gets to the heart of it anyway, y'know? The heart, that's the gooey center.



When hanging out with dudefriends, one of y'all picks up the beers sometimes, right? So how hard is that if instead your co-drinker is a lady?


@beerd I thought it was just proper drinking etiquette for friends to buy rounds? Like Friend A gets first round, Friend B gets second round and so forth? Not standing your round is bad form, regardless of gender. ...And I am sad enough to have stopped drinking with a friend who regularly wouldn't stand their round. :|


@smirkette Are you in Europe somewhere?
Because when I did a semester abroad, all the kids in my program from various other European countries did the "Everyone buys a round" thing, which I, as an American, had never seen/heard of before. It took like two nights out for me to understand and learn that I needed to stand my round, but I've literally never encountered this in the States, and I drink a lot.

Hot mayonnaise

@cherrispryte: We do the "everybody buys a round" thing here, in a largish mid-midwest city with a Catholic sounding name.


@Hot mayonnaise Interesting. Perhaps the East Coast is just cheap as hell.
Also, in groups of more than 5 or 6, doesn't this pretty much ensure a ridiculous quantity of alcohol per person? What if you're in a very large group!?

Hot mayonnaise

@cherrispryte: Yes, you end up very drunk.

Rory Hoffman@facebook

@cherrispryte You could also split a round between 2 people who go up together to get the drinks. This works 'cause 1) carrying 8 glasses is ridiculous, get a waiter, 2) if those two are dating/married/together they might split costs anyway, 3) it gives people time to talk 1-on-1 which gives a good group dynamic.
What am I even talking about, I can't even go inside bars yet.


Re: dude who wants to date the barista.

Personally, I do not like to be hit on at work, but also I often work alone and it is never NOT creepy to hit on a woman who is by herself in a small shop. So, really, in your case maybe take A Lady's advice this one time since it is really good, but don't make a habit of it.


ok am i the only person who actually really doesn't like it when dudes insist on paying? i can get pretty shirty about it. even with friends in non-datey situations!

i guess, i don't know, i don't like feeling like someone has paid for my company? like they have bought me a drink and now maybe i owe them something? i find it very socially difficult to not be paying my own way (obviously buying alternate rounds is fine, but if the other person is paying significantly more i feel... uneasy).


@cee Not insist, no. Insisting is creepy. Offering. If I accept the offer, I think it is saying, "I would like to see you again." If I do not it means, "This will never happen again, ever." Or something like that. But I also don't really sweat it if after I offer to pay half the dude accepts my offer.


> like if you guys meet up at a bar then go to another bar then grab some pizza then go throw rocks off a bridge then make out some

That sounds like the BESTEST DATE EVER, except that one date where I insisted we watch cartoons and drink whiskey hot chocolate in a blanket fort in my room.

Ella Quint

Haven't even made it thru the first Q/A yet, and I feel the need to ask A Lady if she perhaps has been drinking, like A LOT, today? Or perhaps for mulitple days? Cuz yous WAAAAYYYY off the fuckin mark...lemme finish and I'll get back to this...

Ella Quint

@Ella Quint - Kay, I've re-read the first Q/A and kinda see where A Lady is goin' with this - just not diggin' the implication that new sex is the only kind of good sex or that the quality of sex inevitably gets worse over the span of a relationship. No, I don't believe these assholes either who trumpet from the treetops that thier 20 year marriage to Mr. Perfect still produces mind-shattering orgasms daily
There is something to be said about doin' it with a person that you trust completely and love deeply - these two things definitley lend themselves to the -ahem- broadening of one's sexual horizons GIVEN that yeh ain't suffering from other issues within the relationship.

As for the who pays on the 1st date issue; hun, EVERYBODY has elaborate philosophies on EVERY topic - they're just there waiting for the asking!! And cutting down someone for having an opinion is kinda dull.
That being said, I actually agree with the financially strapped young man and found A Lady to be off the mark with the entire "all properly socialized chicks are expecting YOU to pay" thing - but this may have something to do with the fact that I live in another postal code/timezone/country than most of yous (no, not Maine; lil' furhter North my friends!). Here in da 'Peg, most of the ladies I've (informally) polled are all about the dutch.


I'm reading this while bedridden on my ultra dimmed screen with an ice pack firmly pressed above my right eye and a sad plate of pretzels laying next to me which were the only thing I could keep down today and I just have to say that I am laughing hysterically. I love you A Lady.


@thatsrealbutter Love your name. That's a Jerri Blank quote, yes?


Re guy who thinks he shouldn't have to pay on the first date.

Women get raped and beat up a lot more than men, they make less money, they own less property, they have less chance to be a CEO or a senator, they have to work much harder to be considered fuckable and have a shorter window of being considered attractive, which is of course what they're only good for, etc etc. In other words, shut the hell up, and try to pay on the FIRST DATE. It's one time. If you succeed in making it work and marrying her, she will bear all the health risks of having your offspring and probably do most of the chores even if you both talk about being equals, and also most likely contribute at least half your family's income. Generally speaking, married men and single women are the happiest with their lives, whereas married women and single men are the least. What's 30 bucks compared to the statistical likelihood that a woman will let you be a vampire who drains her happiness from her while also providing you with the lifestyle you want and young who can help pay for your end of life care?

The first lady: have you talked to him? Like sat down and said, "dude I adore you. But I really need to come so hard I see stars, and our sex life is not doing it. So if we can't fix that, I don't think this can work." Have you said that? Or do you occasionally wander into the bedroom with some feathers and an ice cube and then wonder 45 minutes later why it didn't magically get hot?

Buy "she comes first". Make him read it (really it's a brillant technical manual to women's orgasms, if slightly cheesily written. It saves relationships and even most women can learn something from reading it, like the biological reasons why even hardcore feminists find being pinned hot, etc.) Start listening to Dan Savage podcasts together, and asking each other questions like, "what would you do in that situation?". Be brutally honest about what you like and don't like, while you are doing it, and after you do it. Be lavish with praise whenever he does something that gives you even a tiny spark, so he knows what does good things to you. Say things like, "yes that, but to the left".

To be honest, most people can't take that much raw honesty. It's the rare guy or girl who will hear you out if you say you aren't turned on by them. That will STING. But. If he is a WONDERFUL person, a rare special snowflake of a person, he might listen. He might even welcome the opportunity to turn you on, and respond to it like a challenge. Also it might turn out there are things you are failing to do to rev his engines, and that he's been basically hanging in there for the same reasons you are. Then you could be one of those sickening couples who say things like, "it's only gotten hotter the longer we have been together."

You've got pretty much nothing to lose, so why not try it?


Oh man, everyone just offer to cover the whole check at the end of a first date, regardless of gender.

If it's obviously really important to the other person, let them pay, but say, "I'll get next time"--good chance to express interest. Otherwise, split it. If you do this and the other person does not hold up his/her end of the bargain, cover the check, and decide whether or not they were awesome enough to hold it against them.

Honestly, there are way bigger grounds to cover re: gender difference, so just try not to be a cheap asshole and you'll be sexier to your potential lovers.


Oh god, "Ask a Stylite Lady" and the Rudyard Kipling poem reference are perfection.


Seriously, Dudes, fanciness/expensiveness of first date location matters not to a Lady. Coffee. Beers. Whatever, so long as it's a cool place. Coffee in the park can be fantastic.

And paying is a damn good way to let her know you're really interested. If I pay my way, I won't think less of a Dude, but I'll think he's not into me. (If I totally insist on paying my way, it's because I want to run away as soon as possible and never have to talk to him again.)


I think it's nice when a guy pays, I do. Yes, it is a little old-fashioned of me but it is nice to be treated. I do not expect the guy to always pay. I think it's great to just go back and forth without keeping some kind of score sheet about who paid for what, when. My main frustration is that because of what I do for a living, guys where I live tend to make unfounded assumptions about what I make and expect me to pay for everything, all the time, while my student loans are at the mortgage level of debt. It's annoying.

Rachael Barksdale@facebook

Since the social norm tends to be guys pay on the first date, i would assume, if I were a guy, I was paying on any casual but totally date-like hang out session. Kind of like carrying condoms in your wallet. No one is guaranteeing you're gonna get laid, but you better fucking be prepared if it happens.


That's a wrap Natasha.


@zidaane Oh, about 1AM, when I was going out for ciggs, there was a new girl (Anastasia?) moving onto the floor and I had to wait while she shuffled 3 brand new boxes of 50 set hangars off the lift. I was attracted but worried. There would be zero chance to split a check with Anastasia.


I literally just registered to comment on the whole having the guy pay vs. not pay thing. As someone who has been doing the whole okcupid thing for about 6 months now, I definitely think that splitting the check is the best way to do it, and for several reasons:
1. if the date totally sucked, and the guy INSISTS on paying, it's super awkward to accept that with the knowledge that you absolutely never want anything to do with him again
2. if the date was mediocre, and the guy offers to pay but lets you pay your part, it almost creates this unspoken agreement that you both acknowledge the date was lukewarm
3. if the date was awesome, and the guy agrees to split the check, I automatically feel like we are on the same page with Gender Role Expectations and all of that and he gets a major points in my book.

also, I totally believe that if a guy pays for the date, he is definitely expecting something in return, and I personally don't like that kind of pressure put upon me when I am very much capable of paying for myself, thankyouverymuch.


@sourfruit I also just registered to comment on this issue. It's really blowing my mind that just about everyone's like, "JESUS just pay the goddamned bill, cheapskate!!"


This Lady is my favorite thing ever!

Also, yes, yes, a million times yes to the "no bartenders" rule, especially if you are a regular at his bar. Cuz no matter how much fun you have while you're going out (AND OH MY GOD YOU WILL HAVE FUN), you will eventually not be going out anymore, and then there will be maximum extreme awkwardness every time you go to what used to be your favorite bar. And then you will find a new favorite bar.

And I know you're all, "Wait, isn't this just one really specific particular instance that happened to you, marz?" But, no, sadly, this is what happens to every single person who ever dates a bartender.


The later sex=boring thing is TRUE, like with science and stuff. Apparently repeated orgasm and sexual satisfaction with a partner actually activates a biochemical impulse to grow discontented and want to move on. Just posted about it and bummed out a bunch of newly-in-love readers. Oops.


Danny boy

Long time lurker, first time poster here.

Re: paying, I usually go for coffee or suchlike and pick up the tab, offering the lady to take it next time. Works for me and the ladies don't seem to feel obliged for a second date (Ha! or... um... sob).

That said, Thank You all commenters here! The "Ask A..." articles are great but you all make them awesome with your comments, thoughts and contributions.


My problem with paying/not paying on the first date is that I can never be sure whether or not he's actually interested. I mean, I've been out with lots of guys and don't really consider it a date because he didn't pay or make it clear that it was more than hanging out. Just to be on the safe side I assumed it was just friends hanging out. I think paying on the first date is a nice way for him to make his interest clear. It also makes me feel appreciated. For me, it's not really about money or equality but a nice gesture. After the first date, I don't mind splitting. When I don't want it to be a date, and I just want to be friends, I always jump in and offer to split.

Also: to the broke guys - there are lots of fun things (daytime activities, not just buying me a cheap drink) you can do to make a first date nice without spending a lot. Picnics with wine and sandwiches...making dinner (I actually have a guy friend who does this on the first date, *swoon*), etc. I know those things are intimidating, but it says you are interested without spending as much! Girls really want to know you are interested, so you probably don't want to do anything that might make them think you aren't, i.e. refusing to pay or put an effort in. Get creative! I'm sure it won't kill you.

Jenny Wren

I also registered specially for to comment about whether the dude should always pay on the first date. I agree with the few others who said they feel slightly insulted when the guy expects he should pay the whole check as a matter of course, like it means he's assuming right away that I want him to be old-school chivalrous manly man, when actually I prefer we act like equally financially responsible people with an equal stake in trying out each other's company... I won't be offended if a guy offers sort of tentatively, in a way that signals it's up for discussion, but I would mind if he assumed.


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