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Modern Buffalove: The money test

Whether we like it or not, money plays a role in dating. You can measure someone’s generosity and predict how they will behave in a potential relationship from the very first meeting.

Similarly, when I go on a blind date, my own behavior with money has a way of revealing how the date is going – and my own intentions going forward. To wit:

  • If I know immediately that a meet-up probably won’t be a match, I make sure to pay for my own drink upon ordering and probably offer to pick up his, too. This way I’m sure I’m not leading him on or sending mixed messages. If I’ve already wasted his time, I can at least spare him his money!
  • If I detect some chemistry, I’ll let the tab sit on the bar, continue the intro and deal with that awkward moment later. I sort of enjoy watching how the situation plays out and how we handle each other. If at any point I feel neutral or not interested, I’ll pay the bill.
  • If the date’s going well, we seem to be attracted to one another and he suggests splitting the bill, there’s a very small chance we’ll ever connect romantically.

Maybe that last one stems from my South Buffalo roots. The Irish love to buy a friend a beer! With my family and girlfriends, it’s a fight to pay the tab — we literally trip over each other to be the first credit card down. That same fun-loving generosity is what I am seeking. So if a guy’s making a great impression, I’m attracted to him and there’s some chemistry — it’s icing on the cake when he insists on buying the drinks. It may sound old-fashioned (especially coming from an independent gal like me) but there’s something charming about a man who insists on picking up the first tab.

Other findings

I’ve also discovered that a person’s salary is not always commiserate with his generosity, willingness to enjoy fun things or even personal stability.

While dinner at Hutch’s is fabulous, I’ve also had fun, romantic nights watching a game and eating dinner at the bar at McCarthy’s. This was more the speed of my ex-boyfriend, Elliott. We dated for over a year after connecting on

He was smart and successful but wasn’t into “high-end” dates. Elliott took me hiking and kayaking instead of to fancy dinners, and I enjoyed being taken out of my comfort zone. The monetary value of a date doesn’t have to be a measure of its quality.

This is in contrast to another guy I spent time with, who owned a big house and drove fancy cars. I witnessed him blow thousands of dollars on multiple occasions at the casino. It was a major turn-off to watch him lose hand-over-hand what amounted to my monthly mortgage, while he was thrilled I was sipping free drinks.

The same man “with a lot of money” bought me Christmas gifts that year from the casino gift shop that were paid for with casino credits. Go figure!

Elliott, on the other hand, designed a computer image of a heart shaped from antlers (to match my home decor). He colored it in with black ink pen, had it beautifully framed and even included his initials to give it an original art signature. While he had other thoughtful presents under the tree, nothing else compared. The thoughtfulness of that gift has stayed with me years later as the best gift ever!

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