Friday, March 26, 2010

Storytime, Again

Let's go back in time, to a magical place called The Mecca, where a younger, a slightly more rotund Big Man was seeking an education and sex. Not necessarily in that order.

My brother likes to say that I've always had a bit of "Betty Crocker" in me. For you folks not from the South, that means I'm a "cake baker" or the kind of cat that has been known to spend an unacceptable amount of time or effort in trying to have intercourse with unworthy females. I wasn't a full-blown "trick", but I've been known to make some questionable choices.

Anyway, back in the day, I made a date with a young lady who would eventually go on to be my wife. I'd been plotting on this woman for quite some time, but had held off on talking to her because I thought she was still dating a cat I played football with in high school. We weren't close enough friends that I wouldn't date her after they were through, but we were cool enough that I wasn't going to try to cuckold dude.

Anyway, I finally found out that Future Wife and Former Teammate were dunzo, and I made my move. Got the digits, used them to make plans for a movie date, and then began to wait for the Magic Hour.

Unfortunately, as I prepared for our outing, disaster struck in the form of my male ego and my ridiculous cheapness. Up to this point, I'd had some less than favorable experiences with taking young ladies out to what were considered "nice places" in college. By "less than favorable", I mean I wasn't getting the drawers. (Shout out to Martin Lawrence.)

Now, most likely this was due to other flaws in my game, not to a gold-digger mentality among these women, but, like many men, I didn't notice my flaws and instead blamed it on the women. I was young.

As I contemplated this state of affairs, I decided that I wasn't going to spend any money on Future Wife, and would instead invite her to have a Blockbuster night as our first date. By my logic, this was a good way to see if she was after my meager stacks or a decent young lady.

Sadly, when I broached this change of plans, Future Wife refused, and I would later learn that she was very sad that I saw her as a Blockbuster-in-the-dorm room kind of girl. We would eventually move past this in the months to come, but that's a story for a different day.

Anyway, I spun that yarn because I read a piece recently on the blog "Black and Bourgie" about the "pay to play" dynamic. Basically, the idea that men expect sex whenever they spend a certain amount of money on a woman. Each man has a different threshold, but apparently, all of us have a threshold. The blog post looked at the issue of what is an acceptable situation to have this expectation and what is not.

This issue fascinates me. I remember discussing this concept with my wife, and actually being horrified that she felt that it was reasonable for a man to expect sex if he spent money on her when she was younger. The fact that I was horrified might seem a little strange, since I had broken our very first date because I had the exact same expectations of women, but let me explain.

Like many men, what I WANTED to happen when it came to me getting the drawers, was not the same thing as I would RESPECT a woman for doing.

Does that make sense?

Sure, I would have loved for every woman to agree that a trip to the Cheesecake Factory was the Golden Ticket to parting some hairs, but I doubt I would have respected the women who made that choice. Like many young men, what I wanted from a woman was at odds with what I thought was respectable.

I know ladies, men are just as crazy as y'all.

Coming back to pay to play issues, I think that most men feel like if a woman allows us to spend money on them, particularly a lot of money, they should show some appreciation. And not that pat-on-the-back, "You are so sweet" kind of appreciation either. We want to know that you understand that for many men, spending our money is just as big of a deal as you laying down with us. Particularly for a cheap bastard like me, and my ilk.

But, on the flipside, we don't really want it confirmed that a woman we have actual feelings for, is up for sale. I mean, no man wants to know that the woman he cares about has a price tag. The next question in our minds, at least in my mind, becomes, "Who else can meet the price?"

Just like the always dangerous discussion about who many folks have notched your headboard, letting a man know that you think certain expenditures guarantee sex is a dicey move. Sure, you might have a cat who agrees with your sex threshold, but it's just as likely you'll find someone who finds your cost-benefit-analysis hopelessly skewed too high or too low.

My advice is that women should never reveal that any expenditure means guaranteed sex, and they should never reveal that they had this idea in the past. Avoid this conversation, or debate, the same way you avoid the "numbers" question.

In addition, women should be very careful about how much money they allow a man to spend on them because an uneven exchange of funds has to be balanced out at sometime. Yes, free meals and gifts are nice, but the first rule of economics is that there are "no free lunches." Your tab is growing, and you have no idea how the man you're dealing with is expecting you to settle up.

For men, I would say never spend your money expecting sex. It's a losers' gamble. If a woman doesn't pay out, all you have left is complaining and whining and that's definitely not going to get you any cat. If you're spending money on a woman, just look at it as a loan to your momma. That money has no strings, and no expectation of return.

Finally, on last thing for the fellas. Always have a really good explanation when your wife asks why you thought she was only worth a Blockbuster night on y'all's first date.

Trust me on that.




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15 comments:

Brenda said...

Thank you Big Man for further addressing this topic on your blog. I'm weighed in on this on "Black and Bougie", and for the first 3-5 dates, I'm going halves on whatever we're doing ~ movies, club, dinner, dancing, bowling, etc.

With a halves policy there is no sexpection pressure and if for some reason we're not future couple material, neither of us have come out of wallet or purse for anyone except ourselves.

And if we do enjoy each others company, I take the halve policy one step further. One date, I pay for dinner, he pays for the movie. Next date, dinner is on him and I pay for the club or bowling.

Big Man said...

Brenda

A friend of mine has the exact same policy on dates, and honestly, when I actually took my Future Wife on a real date, I found that she had the same policy. So my concerns about her wanting to get my money, were way off base. Well, until we got married that is. LOL.

But, I don't mind paying for a woman. I was raised that if you ask a woman out you should pay for the date. But, I think it's a woman's responsibility to be reasonable. If we go out to eat, spend my money like you would spend your money. If you normally get an entree and water when you're paying, don't start looking for appetizers, cocktails and desert on my tab. That's just rude, and for some men, it's a definite reason to expect sex. Personally, I would just think you were shady and move on.

Thanks for commenting.

Mr. Noface said...

I agree with the halves policy on the first few dates (or however long the period is when a couple figures out whether they want to pursue a relationship further). Then, if/when a couple gets more serious and are more comfortable with each other dates can be either traditional, untraditional, or what have you.

It works on at least two levels; 1) promoting equality between the sexes and 2) Erasing certain expectations that could hamper efforts to "get to know each other" during those crucial first few dates.

Big Man said...

How do you decide when to quit going halves?

And, that seems like an uncomfortable conversation to have.

Renee said...

Pay to play..are you serious? Look if I order the lobster that does not entitle you to a damn thing but my company while I am eating. The notion that men can and should get rewarded with sex for spending money is ridiculous and it turns women into property. I also cannot stand the way that women are constructed as gold diggers. Brother please, if we look at the stats these days its Black women that have the money as we are most like to have the college degree.

Big Man said...

Renee

Do you typically order the lobster when go out to eat and are paying the bill?

If a woman uses a date with a man to try "live the high life" than I understand completely why a man would expect that his money would entitle him to sexual favors.

Mutual respect is important. If a woman is seeking to get what she can get from a man, than why wouldn't a man try to get what he can get from a woman.

The solution is that BOTH of us must be considerate of the other. So, I won't expect that paying for date automatically entitles me to sex, if you won't use said date as a way to get as much as you can get from me.

Women are stereotyped as gold diggers for the same reason men are stereotyped and as sex-crazed dogs.

That's what the opposite gender profers to believe.

Women believe men can't control their penises, men believe women are always looking for money.

There's evidence that shows that both viewpoints have some validity, and can also be horribly wrong.

Big Man said...

Excuse my many typos, I was rushing while doing something else.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I feel that men should pick up the tab for dates for several reasons.

1. It sets the climate that it is a date and he's interested in her, unlike them being just two friends hanging out.

2. Males of many species bring gifts to the females. I think it's hardwired in the male brain and part of being in a protector role.

3. Women value their sexuality in a way that's different from men. It is, or perhaps should be, seen as a prize. If it comes too cheap or too easily, it's just a freebie. Men value money a little differently than women too, and have a 'get what you pay for attitude'. Get her company and sex for free, and they might wonder why she's so easy.

Now, that may be a politically incorrect statement by 2010 values, but so be it.

4. The woman who pays for her half of the date is giving an unspoken message that she doesn't feel comfortable saying no to sex if he later asks, and uses her money as a substitute for power to say no, and also doesn't trust him, i.e., "You might be a jerk so I'm controlling this date you asked me on."

Well, if she thinks that, she shouldn't accept the date in the first place.

5. There's nothing wrong with the Blockbuster date if that's all he can afford. Those can be some of the best, especially if she throws together some wings he brings a pizza. I also think if I were a man, I'd start off with an inexpensive first date to get a sense whether I really liked the woman.

And finally, Big Man, I like what you said that a woman should treat a man's money like her money if she was earning what he did. The woman who blows through a guy's money reveals selfishness in other areas, and should be avoided like the plague.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Also, about ordering the most expensive items on the menu. Unless the guy is rich and begs you to "get anything you want", I think it's tacky to do otherwise.

A thoughtful woman, heck, a person, should no more do this to new date than she would with a friend or relative who is visiting in town and wanted to dinner to be their treat.

In other words, the meal shouldn't feel like a crime scene to the person who is paying...

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

@ Kit,

Speaking for myself, I am fortunate to be have been raised by two parents who instilled a sense of pride, confidence and self awareness in all their children. I don't have a moments hesitation in saying no to something if I don't wish to do it. I've never been the sort of person who blindly follows the crowd or who says yes to something, just to fit in or gain a favor.

I think you're stretching a bit when you say that a female "sees her money as a substitute for power to say no" ~ I had that power when I said yes {or no} to going out on the date in the first place.

I use my money in the same way that I think most people use their money ~ to have a good time/enjoy life, to pay for services rendered and to provide a cushion for my future. I don't abuse or misuse my money in some misguided attempt to control or influence anyone or a situation.

And while there is a small measure of trust when I agree to go out on a date with a man. That is in no way the same level of trust that two people build up over time. So whether or not the man turns out to be a jerk or is the man of my dreams ~ I still don't expect for him to be footing the bill entirely as we work through the process of getting to know each other. Perhaps it's my age, but one of the golden truths that I've learned in life is ~ the only person I have any and all control over is myself.

It may be naive on my part, but I've always believed that any man who asks me out on a date, is pleased that I'm willing to pay my way. With no pressure on him or his wallet, we can both enjoy the evening and our time together. And it's been my experience that when two people enjoy themselves fully and easily ~ everything else {including the sex} will happen in it's own time.

Big Man said...

Thank you for that back and forth KIT and Brenda.

Really nice perspective that I would not have been aware of otherwise.

Gotta think about what both of y'all said.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Brenda, You said, "With no pressure on him or his wallet, we can both enjoy the evening and our time together. And it's been my experience that when two people enjoy themselves fully and easily ~ everything else {including the sex} will happen in it's own time."

What I'm going to say is not personal nor about any man you've ever been out, same as in the last comment.

Despite what feminism, equality and the media has taught us, aside from struggling youth and college students, this sounds like the kind of woman a cheap will target.. she's nice and she'll only a cost him a few laughs. The chronically uncommitted P-hounds also have a field day with women who do this.

And yes, you're right that the only person you have control over is yourself. The question is - who has the upper hand in a situation?

The answer may lie with a lot those 70% of black unwed mothers who gave too much for too little.

Brenda said...

Trill,

I understand that your comments aren't directed at me, but again, I think you're painting things with a really wide brush here.

How I chose to live MY life has absolutely nothing to do with feminism, equality or whatever nonsense the media is spewing out on any particular day of the week.

I honestly haven't had the experiences you speak of. I'm neither unmarried or a mother. And when I was single and dating, of course I dated the good and the wonderful, and the bad and the forgettable. But I never allowed myself to be a position to be taken advantage of, either financially or sexually.

Now were some of the guys I dated cheap? Yes, they were. But that didn't necessarily stop me from seeing them. No more than I would continue seeing a guy who wanted to lavish me with gifts. A cheap man may be saving for a house or a new car or paying off an unexpected medical bill. A guy waving around a bunch of money, could just as easily be in debt up to his eye balls.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe we as black people are still having these discussions.

White people don't have these discussions. The man pays for the date.

The cheap men who don't pay -- you hear them a lot, complaining, but you don't hear about them going out on a lot of dates.

In part, it's because women still only earn 75 cents on the dollar. That's nationwide, people, Black or White. I don't care how many degrees you have as a sista.

Why do we black women still let men devalue us like that?

Raving Black Lunatic