Sunday, January 24, 2010

On dutch treats and romance

A friend of ours recently asked my hubby and I about "dutch treats and dating". Our friend has a new-found love and the gentleman she is dating offered to "alternate" paying for their dates with her. They are both adults with decent earning power. But it bothered our friend that her new-found love wanted to go dutch while dating her, at a time when their relationship is so new. They have not defined their relationship yet. So she asked for our opinion.

I told her frankly that as a woman, it had always been difficult for me to feel romantic about a man who wanted to go dutch on a date. I didn't care where he took me to dinner -- it could be just coffee, or a picnic under the stars -- but I needed to have a consistent sense that he could be man enough to take care of me. I always offered to pay for my dates with men and boyfriends, but I always felt resentful when they took my offer... It was the same resentment I felt whenever a guy would come up to me and give me his phone number instead of asking for mine. It felt like the guy was taking the easy way out, and was afraid to step up and treat me as a woman.

Being made to feel special as a woman was and still is one of the key reasons for why I fell in love with my hubby. He had always opened doors for me, paid for meals (whether cheap or expensive), generally been a gentleman to me. He has done this consistently, from the moment I met him until today as my husband. He hasn't changed, being a gentleman is simply part of his character. I find that very classy :) and so very sweet :)

My hubby also gave our friend an earful of advice. He says that if our friend was our daughter, he would not have any patience for any man who could not be a gentleman to her, especially in a dating situation. Dutch treats are for platonic friends, not for romantic relationships where the man should behave like a gentleman and a woman should be treated like a lady. It is not about the money -- if the man wants some assurance that he is not being taken advantaged of by the woman for his money, he can always just take her to places and events that does not require top dollar. And the woman can show she cares by cooking for him, etc.

My hubby and I both felt very strongly about the situation our friend was in. We felt the guy she was dating probably had some baggage from a previous relationship and was unconsciously putting our friend in a situation where she had to prove her intentions for him. We advised her to nip the situation in the bud, by having a conversation with her guy from a loving place, not from resentment. Here's hoping it all works out for this new couple!