Advice Goddess

Amy Alkon drags people, kicking, screaming, and laughing, out of their misery with her behavioral science-based advice column, which runs in about 100 newspapers.

Buy her science-based and bitingly funny new advice book, "Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (St. Martin's Press, June 3, 2014).

Got a problem? E-mail Amy at AdviceAmy@aol.com.

Advice Goddess 

Thursday, Nov 29 2007

Give Fleece A Chance

As a single male, I find something extremely repulsive. More and more, women are making as much or more money than men. Yet, on dates, when the check comes, these career women conveniently disappear to the bathroom. I smell a scam. I'm sick of this ugly "What's mine is mine/what's yours is mine" mentality. So, a little philosophical consistency here, or else I give up. -- More Than A Wallet

There will be plenty of time after you're married to drain her bank account and move to the Bahamas.

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Life isn't fair, Bucky. Deal with it. Or, if you'd rather, bow out of the dating game, and spend your nights on men's movement blogs posting rambling screeds about the "feminazis" and this new set of filet mignon mercenaries. Sure, men and women are now equal under the law, but that hasn't made them the same biologically. Because women are the ones who get knocked up and stuck with mouths to feed, they evolved to seek "providers'" -- guys who show signs they'll stick around to fork over gifts and grub after the fun is done. Modern women are still getting this directive from their genes -- even staunch feminists, chicks with six-figure incomes, and women who think of themselves as "Barren!" In short, there are about 1.8 million years of evolutionary hard-wiring standing between you and any clever notions that you'll wax your legs and Nair your mustache if she'll just pick up the tab.

We aren't the only species that goes on dinner dates. Anthropologist Helen Fisher calls gifts of food one of the "universal features of wooing" -- and guess who's almost always responsible for the check? Fisher writes in "Anatomy of Love" that the boy black-tipped hang fly plies his crush with aphids, daddy longlegs, or houseflies. (Hard to say which wine goes best.) "The male common tern often brings a little fish to his beloved. The male roadrunner presents a little lizard." And then, of course, there's the ultimate courtship gift, the male praying mantis letting the female praying mantis eat his head during sex.

You don't have to go that far, but you could maybe buy a girl a glass or two of wine without making out like you've fallen victim to one of the greater injustices of our time: "I have a dream . . . that one day men and women will go halfsies on dinner . . . " Actually, a glass or two of something-or-other, not dinner, is all you should be buying on the first date. You don't shell out big for a near-stranger. The point is getting to know a girl, not getting to know whether she prefers Kobe beef to lobster. And yes, the person who does the asking out -- usually the man, poor dear -- should do the paying. On at least the first and probably the second date. Beyond then, if a woman's wallet seems welded shut, have a little talk and suss out whether she worries you'll think ill of her for paying (some men do), or whether she's just a leech with lipgloss.

Look, either you're setting the stage for seduction or you're spearheading the investigation of the global conspiracy to make men pay for dinner. You have a decision to make: Accept that dating costs money, and consider it an investment toward finding love, or follow through on your threat to "give up." Who's that gonna spite? All the women who are denied your company? Don't worry about them. They'll be out with guys who not only buy dinner, but sometimes even precede it by bringing flowers. And no, the little card tucked in there isn't an invoice.

Haul Of Me

I'm a woman living in a remote area where most of the men have about six teeth. This great guy just moved here, and we're going for coffee. The thing is, I'm a truck driver. Most men can't seem to handle this, but I really don't want to lie. How do I break it to a guy without chasing him off? -- Semi-Worried

Sooner or later, he's going to see your big rig parked out front. What are you gonna say, "Oh, my Prius is in the shop, so they gave me this -- and asked me to haul 10,000 chickens to Pacoima"? You're a girl who drives a really big truck. Some guys will be hot for that, but a guy who can't handle your truck driving on the first date isn't likely to handle discovering you're a truck driver and a liar on the second or third. Forget that your town's men have a mouthful of teeth between them. Your job on dates is simply to be you -- thus weeding out any guy who isn't man enough to be with a woman who not only wears mascara but delivers it by the ton to Wal-Mart.

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