Ask the Advice Goddess 19

I was dating this girl and my roommate was dating her roommate. We're all just out of college, and none of us is making much money. The girls asked us to take them to a certain restaurant for drinks -- it's not really fancy, but once we got there they ordered all these drinks and appetizers, and the bill really added up. When the bill finally came, my roommate and I assumed that we'd split it four ways. The girls then got these looks on their faces and my buddy and I ended up picking up the whole tab, which was more than I make in a day. I'm not seeing this woman any more, but I'm just wondering, what is the proper procedure on who pays?-Generation X-pensiveIt's a little disheartening to go out with a woman who approaches dinner dates like a squirrel...storing up food in her cheeks so she can live off her meal in case of a long winter.When you first start dating someone, the person who initiates the date -- (the person who invites the other out) -- should be the person who picks up the check. That person should also choose the restaurant. Of course, if you're doing the inviting, it makes sense to consult your guest on her atmospheric and dietary preferences, so you don't end up dragging Vanna Vegetarian to "Steaks-R-Us."Unless you're the kind of guy whose techniques for picking up girls include intimating a close relationship with "The Donald," (as in Donald Trump), when the Donald you're closest with is the one whose name begins "Ronald Mc," a woman shouldn't expect you to take her to a restaurant which will require you to schedule a meeting with a loan officer before you make reservations. When you are honest with about your status as an underemployed Gen-X doormat, and a woman still demands a dining adventure far beyond your income, consider her greedy and rude, and not worth the price of a Big Mac. After you've been dating someone for a while, and footing all or most of the bill, it's okay to bring up a need to share the high cost of food and entertainment. If she is one of those evolutionary recidivists known as "Rules Girls," (aficionados of a popular book which recommends that a woman erase all traces of personality in order to trap a wallet attached to a man's body), she may dump you if you suggest that she put a little wear and tear on her Visa card. If she's that type, you should celebrate when she shows you the door.---------I'm an okay looking guy, pretty even-tempered and relatively well-liked by my friends, ex-girlfriends and the general public. I just haven't had a girlfriend for a few years. Well-meaning friends of mine frequently try to set me up with different women. One friend in particular has been telling me about a woman he thinks I'd like. I didn't say no, so he finally set it up that she and I would go out on a blind date to a formal charity event on Friday night. Well, she called, and I didn't know what to tell her. First of all, I've been sick. But mostly, I feel a little uncomfortable about going to this formal thing on a blind date. I hate to renege, but something tells me this is a bad idea. What do you think?--Tuxedo JunctionWhen there's a possibility that you may encounter a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, or a gaping chasm between what you and your friend define as attractive, it seems less than prudent to go into the face of danger dressed like a freshly-cooked turkey. Making your blind date a public affair seems equally ill-advised. Big hair and other crimes of taste are best uncovered at out-of-the-way hotel bars at which you are unlikely to run into anyone who resides in your hemisphere. It's also smart to attach some sort of time limit to a blind date. When one man's Princess Bride turns out to be another's Bride of Frankenstein, a dinner date can go on for what seems like centuries. Ask your blind date to meet you for "drinks" instead. Drinks can be concluded after about an hour, with apologies that you have to be someplace... (as in, anyplace she's not). To protect yourself in the future, don't let anyone make your romantic arrangements for you. In this case, unless you can come up with a plausible excuse from a medical professional, politeness demands that you take your chances with this woman before an over-dressed jury of your peers.

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