"Dear Manola 180,
My girlfriend of two months broke up with me because we went to Disney World together and I paid for about 80% of all expenses. She offered to pick up lunch and a few drinks, which I accepted. After the trip she sent me this angry email, accusing me of being a cheap bastard. She admitted that by offering to pay for lunch and few drinks, she was testing me. Apparently all her friends think I'm a scrooge too, even though I've picked up just about every tab since day one.
Since when did paying for everything become proof positive of a man's feelings for a woman?
I may not be Rockefeller, but I'm still a rather generous guy, and don't mind treating a lady during courtship and relationship, as much as my income allows. But I work hard for my money and she makes the same amount, if not more, than I do.
Am I really being such a stingy asshole? Confused about my heart and wallet! Please advise!
Male Platonic Friend"
Dear Male Platonic Friend,
You just opened a can of worms and they have all slithered out onto my desk and into many little loopholes! When the issue of money gets wrapped up in the sheets, things get ugly.
As I have known you for donkey's ages, I can vouch for the fact that while not wealthy, you are a generous man.
And although I barely know this woman, I say she's an idiot.
You know, true friendship is all about tough love, and if I thought you were being a miser, I'd be the first one to say "dude, you're being a miser." But you don't hoard wads of cash in the bank and you never flaunt fake wealth.
What went wrong? Old-fashioned expectations on her part and lack of communication between the two of you regarding who pays for what. She probably assumed your request to join her was an invitation for weekend-long free room, board and entertainment and here's where I must give you a little slap on the wrist.
On the other hand, her testing is decidely passive-aggresive yuck. Woman, if you're expecting the man to pay, don't test and then backstab him with an angry break-up letter. Speak up or forever shut up.
Woman, you want cheap? How about the man who tried to impress Manola with dinner at one of those all-you-can-eat sushi for $10 dives on South Beach, complete with flourescent lighting and loud TV blaring sports, while talking about how he's buying a million dollar waterfront condo? How about the man who drove from South Beach to Aventura just so he could treat Manola to drinks at a chain restaurant where his friend would serve giant margaritas filled with gummi bears at half-price? After one-hour of debating why she refused to have sex with this disgusting, groping tight wad, Manola called a taxi from the WC and spent more on the ride home than he spent on women over an entire year.
But I digress ...
Male Platonic Friend, knowing that there's one thing you don't buy -- that macho crap when men buy love with money and women buy men with sex -- I absolve you of this most unfair accusation.
But don't let this unfortunate experience sour your generosity. Old fashioned courtship lets a man show he cares and gives a woman the chance to let him be a gentleman.
Ah, somewhere between the dinner bill and the bedroom there has to be fair game.