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Future Hock

I'm sick and tired of dating women who won't put out -- money, that is. In most cases, women don't even offer to go Dutch or pay the tip, let alone treat me. Maybe other guys perpetuate this by paying for everything, but to me, that's like being a sugar daddy. Women tell me, "That's the way it's supposed to be." In 2002! Granted, some of my dates make less money than I do. Ironically, it's generally those women who offer to pay for some things. How come so many others are such cheapskates?

--Daddy Spend-A-Lot

YOU AND YOUR DATE enter a restaurant in 2002. You feel reasonably sure it's 2002 because your toaster is one of the few appliances in your life that lacks Internet access. You're but an adapter cord away from editing digital video on your clock radio. There's no time travel just yet, but there will be...shortly after dessert. The waiter need only drop the check on the table and -- POOF! -- it's 1954! Pay up, sucker.

Too many women clamor for equality only when equality means getting their fair share of the pie. When it comes to paying for the pie, these same clamorers get all "Betty Friedan who?" You know the drill: It's as if the wait staff is walkie-talkie-ing the whereabouts of the check, Secret Service-style, into an earpiece in the woman's ear so she can scurry to the ladies' room in the nick of time. Should she botch her escape, she'll be forced to feign temporary paralysis (curable with a wave of your Visa, Mastercard, or Discover).

Free dinner tastes better, yes, but that's no excuse for the lame-o excuse women give for eating it on a date: "It's traditional." (Translation: "Better his wallet flapping in the breeze than mine.") These women should imagine having a friend they have to pay for all the time. I believe the term for this is "leech." If a woman considers herself a man's equal, her equality shouldn't evaporate when the check comes.

Some selectively equal women don't think it's right to make a man foot the entire dating tab; just the parts of it that run into the double and triple digits...even when the man is their financial contemporary. He pays for the seven-course meal and the movie tickets; the human siphons spring for the popcorn at the movie. Nice!

Other women make a pretend effort to pay. As if they're inquiring whether they should reach into a lion's mouth and feel around for canker sores, they ask their date whether they might finance some or all of the check. To be fair, some women dance this dance because they're not certain how a particular man will react if they pay. Generally, there's another reason: They're pretty sure the guy will feel obligated to turn them down. If they really wanted to pay, they'd pick up the check...literally: reach for it, snuggle it up to a credit card (one with their name imprinted on it), and hand it to the waiter.

Personally, unless I'm dating a man who parks his yacht at a dock instead of on the side of his bathtub, I'll pick up the check on every other date. Should a man's culinary preferences extend into the restaurant stratosphere, I'll pay whenever our meal doesn't arrive in an armored car. Other women might prefer going Dutch. The point here isn't calculating each person's outlay to the bent dime; it's that dating shouldn't send men to bankruptcy court and women to the mall.

Copyright ©2002, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 70 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.