In these times of a sluggish economy, most life gurus say that it makes sense to be frugal – try to live on less rather than fall victim to foreclosures or work yourself to death in order to earn a few dollars more. However most men find that frugality comes as a mixed blessing – while it leaves them with more time to enjoy a social life, it actually restricts the number of ways and women they can hang out with. So what really frugality while dating imply and does it really work as a turn-off for women?
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First the numbers. Lifestyle magazine Marie Claire 1 quotes a study by online bank ING Direct that asked participants to name words that might come to mind if someone offered to set them up with a person described as frugal. While 27 percent Of the respondents, answered "stingy" and 15 percent said "boring", Only 3.7 percent said sexy. More importantly there were significant differences between how men and women viewed frugality in a date. 56 percent of men thought being frugal was smart whereas only 42 percent of women did so. And a mere 20 percent of men thought frugality implied stinginess, whereas a far higher 33 percent of women thought likewise. These numbers reveal what dating experts have warned all along – never to expect a woman to pay up on your first date. Most women like to be wined and dined in style during the courtship period for the simple reason that it makes them feel special. And thus a man who is tight with a dollar is highly unlikely to appear attractive to potential partners.
Apart from making a woman feel pampered, there is a strong evolutionary bias why women like to be dated by guys who can afford the best. This goes back to the time when distribution of resources like food and shelter was controlled by males and a woman gravitated to potential mates who had the largest resources in his disposal so as to ensure that her offspring would have the best possible chance of survival. This trait was as much crucial for the survival of individual families as for the success of the whole tribe or kin-group. This evolutionary bias only grew stronger in later historical stages when patriarchy was the norm; hence men still controlled all kinds of economic activity with the result that if women wanted to live in comfort, her best chances lay in marrying rich men. To a great extent, this bias continues to survive in women till today, even when many are earning as much as their dates, if not more.
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When a woman finds that a guy can date her in style, it not only means that he has money, but that he is likely to be financially sound and in a regular job. All this brings with the suggestions of financial responsibility and stability which are all highly attractive to women in potential partners. Moreover she feels a man who is in a good job is also worthy of her respect and companionship.
However the catch here is that a generous dating partner is no guarantee of his long-term financial viability. So before a woman decides to stake her all to winning the heart of the wealthy single, she should consider if he is actually rich or just addicted to a high consumption lifestyle. In today’s credit-driven economy, it is not really difficult to wear Armani suits and drive a BMW. One can dine at all the finest restaurants and have his wine ordered from the most distinguished vineyards from France. But unless he has assets which are increasing his net worth all the time, he cannot truly claim to be rich. So don’t worry too much if the woman you like, happens to be taken up with a Rolex-flashing guy; rather suggest to her that she do some serious background-checking to see if he actually has funds stashed away in his bank accounts or if he is merely living an ostentatious lifestyle on credit.
Indeed many men who seem to lead a frugal lifestyle, staying away from the glitz of lifestyle events and the glamour of the cocktail circuits are in fact millionaires who are quietly working on multiplying their wealth. And even if you aren’t one yet, you can take heart from the statistics which claim that while women are not particularly impressed by frugal dates, thriftiness is definitely a quality they are looking for in a long term relationship. A report in the New York Times 2 recently mentioned a study by the popular online dating site e-Harmony that looked at the 30 million matches it made in July, and found that both men and women were 25 percent more likely to have a potential mate contact them if they identified themselves as a saver rather than a spender. This could be because the former implies qualities like financial responsibility and planning and is thus more likely to have assets and healthy credit ratings. The spender on the other hand is less likely to have sensible investments and in extreme cases could also be drowning in debt – conditions which are all highly unattractive in a potential partner if a woman is looking to share a life with him. All this implies that women - though fond of being indulged in while dating - are actually looking for responsible and stable guys in the long run. Thus if you are frugal you could actually have decent chances of getting the woman you want.
However you have to be careful of the thin line that separates frugal from cheap behaviour. A good way to distinguish the two is to regard frugality is the quality which requires you to live within or even below your means while being cheap is extending your stinginess in interaction with others. Thus if you insist on splitting the bill with a date every time, never leave a tip for the waiter or return her things after using them, in all probability you will never get yourself a steady girlfriend. On the other hand if you can think up original ways to indulge your date and make her feel special - even if on a budget - she is sure to be impressed by your love, creativity and good sense.