‘My friend’s crazy $1000 a week habit'
My friend John has a crazy habit that's costing him $1000 a week.
The twice divorced, 58-year-old single dad isn't splashing the cash on hookers or drugs or a midlife-crisis fast car. He's spending thousands of dollars a month on dates, with women he barely knows.
John has been hitting the dating scene pretty hard since finding himself suddenly single five years ago. He's also enthusiastically embraced the very modern trend of multi-dating, which means he often ventures out on four or five dates with four or five different women, every week.
However, it seems you can only teach an old dog so many new tricks, because John's idea of the perfect first date is a delightful dinner, with all the trimmings. And he's an old school gentleman who always insists on paying, even if the date is awful. He recoils in horror at the very mention of ever splitting the bill.
I'm not privy to John's financial status but I've never seen a private jet parked in his driveway, so I'm guessing he's no gazillionaire. He's also not taking these women to Maccas. So, four or five dinners a week at $200, average, per dinner = a ridiculous amount of money to invest, in the quest, for Mrs. Right (mark 3).
Dating is always hit and miss but when you're racking up more misses than hits, the search for love can seriously start eating into your retirement fund. After realising John had spent somewhere in the vicinity of $50,000 last year on dinners with virtual strangers, his best mates attempted an intervention. But John politely told them all to remove themselves from his romantic and financial affairs, thank you very much. He's convinced that this is a wise investment in his future.
Anyone who's been single for an extended period knows that dating can be expensive. And not just for someone like John, who always insists on picking up the tab. The amount of money some women spend getting themselves date-ready can easily exceed the amount that's actually spent ON said date. If I'm really keen to impress a guy, I'd probably treat myself to a blow-dry and a manicure and I sometimes splurge on a new outfit for the occasion. It's amazing what a new dress can do for your confidence! Some gals even go the extra mile with a predate spray tan (but let's be honest ladies, that's usually only if you think there's a decent possibility of getting naked later on).
It seems utterly ridiculous to turn dating into a game of who spent what, but when you're dating with as much gusto as John, you might think a significantly cheaper coffee date would be a smarter way to kick things off. Or a casual walk in the park, perhaps?
John says, not interested.
And from someone who's endured a significant number of first dates over the years, I have to agree. A coffee date might give you enough time to work out if you have any kind of chemistry, but I always prefer alcohol to be involved when I'm meeting a guy for the first time.
As for the 'walk in the park'? I'm not about it. He doesn't need to see me in my athleisurewear on day one and I really don't want to risk being repulsed by his ugly workout attire so soon. That can be a major turn off. Major! Or, maybe that's just me?
One thing that's guaranteed to turn most singles off, is tight-arse behaviour.
A friend of mine was super excited about her first date with the hot guy she'd met at the gym. Then he took her to a Mexican restaurant and pulled out a two-for-one shop-a-docket to pay for HIS half of the bill. There was no second date.
Another friend turned up to discover their romantic picnic in the park consisted of a prepacked Woollies salad and a protein bar for dessert. That relationship was over 30 minutes later.
I went on a first date with a guy who rejected my offer to split the $100 bill and insisted on paying. Then he told me his three young daughters would only be eating cucumber sandwiches for the next month as a result of his 'generosity'. I'm guessing it was his idea of a joke, but I left that date feeling a weird sense of guilt.
I do worry that John's generosity makes him a prime target for a dubious band of singles called 'sneaters'. These 'sneaky eaters' only accept dates so they can dine out without having to foot the bill or deliberately order the most expensive thing on the menu, knowing they won't have to pay. Sneaters feed on chivalrous men like John. Although, I'm not sure John would actually care if he was sneated, anyway.
Money can't buy you love. But it can buy you a lovely meal, great wine and if you're lucky, decent conversation. If that's good enough for John, well, who are we to judge? And if he does manage to find true love in the process, I'm sure he'll be the first one to say, that feeling is priceless.
- - Sami Lukis is a TV and radio presenter. Her podcast, Romantically Challenged: The Podcast is available now. Her book, "Romantically Challenged" is available at all good bookstores. Continue the conversation @samilukis
- This story originally appeared on whimn.com.au and is reproduced here with permission