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(Emoji: the flying wad of dollar bills, plus the girl crossing her hands over her chest in the universal sign for “take a step back there, cowboy.”) Digital avoidance does have its advantages.
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There’s a solution to all of this, as simple in theory as it is awkward in practice.
The quotes a financial expert who recommends that “both parties should agree on who’s paying for what before going on a date.” This is sound advice, to the extent that it encourages the sharing of expenses that are, in fact, shared, though implementing it might call for expertise of the psychological kind, too. Nothing is harder to discuss, in the context of romance, or more likely to give offense when one does, not even sex—which is unfortunate, considering that only one of those two issues is guaranteed to persist, without fail, over the course of a relationship.
Recall one of the genre’s preëminent cautionary tales, the 2014 piece that announced the return of the monocle as a men’s fashion item but failed to find more than one dude who would actually cop to wearing one, which is still one more monocle-wearing dude than I’ve ever seen. On the one hand, voluntarily paying for your date’s three-dollar drink, as one of the men in question did, only to demand reimbursement the next day is an act of pure pettiness.
So the Venmo exposé may be just another report about a thing that isn’t a thing. The fails to mention which emojis were used to call in that particular debt, but let’s assume we’re looking at the tequila-sunrise glass paired with the smiley face with a dollar bill for eyes and tongue, the better to add insult to injury.
In 1900, a woman with a factory job made less than half of what a man in an equivalent position did, and for a simple reason: her income was scaled to supplement that of a theoretical father or husband. To meet men, women had to go out, but they could only go out if men paid for them.
That a practice born of sexist wage discrimination has since been glossed over as a rite demanded by chivalry goes to show how suspect the value of chivalry is in the first place.
The quirks of a few often get mistaken for the habits of many.
Joyriding with a crush in a convertible seemed highly preferable to sitting uncomfortably across a table from a boy I had known since kindergarten, making stale small talk in imitation of neurotic singles in their thirties, but, even if we had been of age, neither of us would have known how to drive.
The stiltedness of the situation peaked when, at the end of the meal, my classmate tried to pay for both of us, covering the bill with his hand like an amateur magician, as if to render it invisible.
Our survival guide is designed to give you enough first date tips to help to put you at ease before and during your date, so you can rest assured it will be enjoyable, and perhaps the first of many more to come.
In the hours before your first date, make sure you distract yourself and you’ll help to keep those pre-date jitters at bay.