Friday, March 11, 2011

Thoughts On... Low Cost Dating

As you know, dear readers, I am a man on a budget. I'm not too good to sticking to that budget, so I tend towards not having very much money at any given point in time. Usually if I have more than $30 in my pocket, it's a good day. Since I also am trying to push into the dating world, I asked my friends to recommend ideas and activities for low cost dates (LCD).

My basic process is to get as much information as I can, and then mine that information to get the really good data that I can actually use. A good portion of my friends responded (including an ex-girlfriend of mine!) with a lot of good ideas.

Analyzing their input, there are four factors that determine the feasibility of a low cost date activity.

1) Budget
2) Type of Date
3) Prior relationship with person of interest
4) Confidence level

First, budget. This is obvious. After all, Donald Trump and I would have EXCEEDINGLY different points of view on what constitutes an LCD. For me, I would say a low cost date would have to be under $20 for total date cost.

Second, type of date. Is this a "first date"? A "Double Date"? Each date type brings about a different type of pressure on the guy attempting low cost dating. For example, with a double date, you have a second person that might be willing to pool resources to attain a higher cost activity while still being low cost to you. If it's a date later on in a relationship, the pressure lets up (slightly) cause your date can accept a less expensive option in favor of something more personalized to the existing relationship. The effort of personalization can bring up the cost of a date, however.

Third, prior relationship. The pressure is amped up with a person you don't know as opposed to someone you've interacted with on a regular basis, prior to asking them out. There is more pressure to impress on a first date with someone you don't really know, and an easy way to impress is to spend more money on a fancier activity. No matter what women say, this approach works. There's a reason 70 year old rich men get 25 year old women that are gorgeous. There's also another thought to consider with dating a person you hardly know.

In a time of assholes like the Craigslist killer (who met women through the personals section of Craigslist and then murdered them), a guy does have to present himself in a non serial killer, mostly safe way. I say "mostly safe" because every woman on the planet wants an element of danger in her guy. Just a little bit, even if they won't admit it to themselves. This limits LCD activity types because inviting a girl you hardly know to a dinner & a movie at your place can seem a bit creepy to her. Not to mention the fact that the woman herself might be psycho (Lorraina Bobbitt, anyone?) and you may not want her to know exactly where you live. This leans more towards a public venue for your LCD activity which, if you don't know where to look, can make dating much more expensive.

When it's someone that you know, the pressure is still high, but different. She knows you, and you know her so the psycho serial killer pressure is off, but now you want to shake up her view of you so that she sees you a romantically (and sexually) viable candidate. This would lead to doing something unique that she's not used to doing or seeing you do. But in this country, unique can also be a lot pricier.

Fourth, Confidence level. This one determines a great deal in a very subtle way. Because, while the other three factors limit the range of activities, your confidence level is what determines the actual activity for the date. No matter what kind of date it is, you're inevitably going to go with the activity (or activities) that you feel are the most impressive to your date while still holding some type of comfort level for you as well.

For example, if you're not comfortable being one-on-one with your date, you might want to suggest a group activity, like a movie night with a bunch of friends, to make things more comfortable. But the risk here is that without the proper level of intimacy, what in your mind is a date, could come across as just a gathering of friends, since a good portion of women in this country relate a man's interest level (in them) with the man's attempts to get them alone.

I thank my friends for helping me in working this out, and I hope to put it to good use in the future. Now I have to work on getting women to say "yes" to going out with me, But that's another challenge in & of itself.

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