Can't Afford to Date

Q: I recently finished college and have an entry-level job. I work really hard and even do additional temping to make ends meet. I want to date but feel like I don't have the means to treat a girl right. For me to take a girl out for dinner and a movie would use up my spending money for an entire paycheck. Am I going to be stuck flying solo until my financial situation improves? — Michael, 23

Dr. Susan: You don't have to "fly solo" for years. What you have to do is reconsider what it means to "treat a girl right." Not every date has to be a dinner and a movie. I always thought movies were a bad idea on early dates, anyway, because you can't talk much or get to know each other. Look into 2-for-1 coupons and that sort of thing, for nice meals. Do NOT be embarrassed to use them with a girl you like. If any female judges you by your ability to spend a LOT, then maybe she isn't right for you. And after the first date or two, you can open up that you're trying to save for whatever, and could you do a picnic or a matinee or just rent a DVD?

You don't want to come across as ungenerous or cheap, but you're allowed to be honest about your limitations. Having fun can be really expensive, or it can be casual and much less expensive. A skeeball date at Chuck E. Cheese? And hopefully, any girl these days would offer to pay her share, at least after a while.

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