On Dating, Economics, and Pettiness

Stan Fields: Miss Rhode Island, please describe your idea of a perfect date.
Cheryl "Rhode Island": That's a tough one. I'd have to say April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.
Miss Congeniality (2000), (The Quote above has little to do with the post, but every time I think of dating, this pops into my mind.)
I have tried to avoid turning Being Caballero into a dating advice column, as I think it minimizes the purpose of what I do. That is why I have not come up with a “How a Gentleman Dates” article even though I will admit I have drafted more than a few. I try to focus on the Character aspect of being a Gentleman. But every so often, either in article comments or even full blown articles, I keep finding how money, or more clearly how men refuse to pay for dates, is a constant issue. So after being aggravated yet again by it, here is my take on the topic.


You might pay for the dinner served, the show seen, the cab taken, or whatever else but not the “Date.” If you view dates as something you pay for, you also view the person you are with as little more than an Escort Service.


If you think that spending money in a date is an investment, then you are openly calling your date a Prostitute. Don’t complain when she treats you like a John.


Dating is not about you. Dating is not even about the other person. It’s about both of you having fun, enjoying your company, getting to know each other, and sharing memorable events. As soon as you focus on you and your wallet, you are admitting with whom your heart lays. If you focus exclusively on the other person, you stop caring for yourself, setting up a relationship of abuse.


If you feel you need to impress your date by spending a lot of money, you are either dating the wrong kind of person or really need to grow up. If you are currently broke, don’t excuse yourself to your date, but don’t limit yourself from going out on a date. Dealing with a financial crisis should be a temporary setback and not a permanent situation. If they are not willing to be with you when you are “financially limited” you really don’t need them with you when you are well off.

I personally have a golden rule. If I invite you to something, it means I will pay. Be it for coffee, a drink, dinner, a show, whatever. It was my idea to get you out of your comfort zone, so why should you have to pay for it. If you want to cover the next round or the next date, that’s great. But paying this round expecting them to cover the next one? Please see “You don’t invest in a date.”

You want to make a “cashless” date, go for it. But let your date know. “Let me prove that we don’t need money to have a good time” could actually set you apart from those who think that money buys happiness. Just don’t do the cashless date as an excuse to not pull out your wallet. The focus should be the date, not your bank account.

So, Gentlemen, please. If your focus is your wallet, and not the memories you create in life, don’t complain when they call you cheap. These are the same men who will think that being a “good provider” is more important than being a “good husband.” These are the same men who think that working to death to make a lot of money will fill their void. The reality is that anybody who thinks money will make them happy hasn't got money, nor do they understand it’s value.

There are people who have money and people who are rich in spite of having money.


Old Enough to be Young

Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
C.S. Lewis
When I was a child, knowing what was right and wrong was easy. Either its right or it’s wrong. Does it hurt someone? Then it’s wrong. Does it make someone happy? Then it’s right. A pretty simple philosophy when you place happiness as a priority. Running around, climbing trees, playing games, making friends, treating animals kindly.

The life of a child is simple. If it rained you got wet. If you get hurt, a kiss could magically make everything better. And yet the shadow of the horrible “You’ll understand when you’re older” looms over the child as the terrible death of innocence.

So I started to grow older, not by choice mind you. And then I became opinionated, and rebellious, and socially minded. I began rebelling against what was established, believing in a radical concept, if it hurts someone, it’s wrong. And again I was force fed “You’ll understand when you’re older” as an excuse to do wrong to people.

And at some point in my life I grew up. I am not sure when it happened. The playful child turned into the rebellious teen, who in turn became the “older guy who understands.” Being right became more important than doing right. Doing well became more important than doing good. Do you know what the price for “growing up” is? Happiness stopped being a priority.

So I decided that I don’t want to be the “older guy who understands.” I want to go back to the days when if it rains, you get wet, and if you get hurt, a kiss could magically make everything better. So I have decided to play, to love, and to live. I have realized that the child I was before new a lot more about life than the man I grew up into.

If anyone wants to find me, look for me fighting imaginary dragons, or building sand castles, or dancing, or laughing, or looking for a kiss to make everything better or simply splashing in the rain!


Being Dama (Lady)

Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't.
Margaret Thatcher
After watching the internet backlash Sofia Vergara received during the Emmys, two thoughts came to my mind. One ended up becoming an article for Good Man Project. The other, I felt rather close to since it’s the gender swap version of what Gentlemen deal with, a society with a love-hate relationship with what it means to be a Lady, a society trying to fight sexism to the point that it will shame women.

I usually avoid getting into the topic of Lady-like behaviors and attitudes, limiting myself to the Gentlemen side of the equation. Why? Because, as a fellow GMP wrote, “I am not going to tell women how to act. I am not an asshole.” Yet, I feel that the term Lady suffers from the similar misconceptions than the Gentlemen does. But before you consider the idea that I am Man-splaining what it means to be a Lady, I have this same condescending attitude towards guys who refuse to understand what it means to be a Gentleman.

I had the good fortune of growing up surrounded by several proper ladies. That is why I find it so confusing every time I read how the term Lady is disrespectful or demeaning towards women. Then again I also had the good fortune of growing up surrounded by Gentlemen who set excellent examples of what it meant to be a man.

A Lady of Society is not there to serve as a trophy wives or as decorations. She is meant to show how a woman can be powerful, opinionated, and charitable while never losing her elegance or class. She should slap you down with a single eyebrow or raise you up with a slight smile. No crass actions or attitudes are needed, no vulgarity or even a raised tone. Such is the power of a Lady. She is a woman empowered by her femininity.

And this is not an easy task, especially now where femininity is attacked by so many women who confuse it for weakness. This kind of attack remind me way too much to the attacks some Men’s Rights Activists do against the concept of being a Gentleman.

Neither Masculinity nor Femininity is something to be ashamed of, but rather another tool of personal empowerment. As I mention time and time again to guys, nobody is forcing you to be a Lady, but in your zeal to fight Sexism, be careful you don’t turn from being the shamed and become the shamer.


Equality is not Sameness

Equality is not in regarding different things similarly; equality is in regarding different things differently.
Tom Robbins

Every time the conversation of gender equality comes up, someone brings up the comment of Gender neutrality. “I teach my son and my daughter the same way.” Personally, I think this is rather irresponsible. Not only does this defeat the entire purpose of equality by stating that they only way they can be equal is if they are the same, but it dismisses the reality of the different challenges boys and girls face. By ignoring the differences, we refuse to accept that there ARE social differences. I extend this attitude to everything, from gender to race, from ethnicity to religion.

As you might have noticed, I am a stout feminist. I am also a strong supporter of social and religious equality and acceptance. This means that everyone is capable of achieving the same greatness, but the paths that they follow will be different. What a man can do to challenge sexism is different than what a woman can do to challenge sexism. What a white person can do to challenge racism is different than what a black person can do to challenge racism. What a Christian can do to challenge religious intolerance is different than what a Muslim or even an atheist can do. And so forth, and so on. This is not because one is better than the other, but because each is faces with different challenges or different privileges within society.

It’s easy to believe in equality, when everyone is the same. That’s denying the differences between each of us. The reality is that every group, even every person, is different. And this is a good thing. We learn and grow by learning about our differences. It, not only creates tolerance, but kills ignorance.

Because it’s not about tolerance. Tolerating something is simply accepting it because you can’t change it. Equality is about embracing our differences, and the differences of others; not simply tolerating them. To achieve this, you need to educate yourself as to the challenges everyone faces, being able to empathize with other people’s challenges. And the only way to do this is to remove the arrogance and ignorance that breeds pettiness and bigotry.


Life is hard. Good!

If you are not new here, you probably have notice that I won’t sugar coat life. A lot of my write-ups are about keeping that fighting spirit alive, about never losing the warrior side of being a Gentleman. Because without it, you won’t survive life.

The reality is that life is hard, and life WILL break you. And this is a good thing. It helps you get rid of all those bad habits you pick up from having an easy life, especially any sense of entitlement you might develop. You learn pretty quickly that life owes you nothing when it takes everything away.

You learn to fight for what you want and you learn to appreciate what you got. You also learn to measure just how much you wants something based on your actions to get it. People love to say how much they want to do this or that, how it’s this or that holding them back. It's easy to lie to yourself if you want to be lied too.

Want to know how much someone wants’s something? Just look at what challenges they overcame to achieve it.