23 July 2011

This is a tough one. Traditionally it has been expected that the guy should cover the cost of dinner when on a date. But, as in all areas of life, traditions fade gradually over time. With the rise of feminism and female empowerment, the issue is less clear cut today than it has ever been. Should a guy pay heed to an old chivalric obligation and foot the bill, or should a girl seek to be treated as an equal partner and split it?

An Age-Old Dating Conundrum: Who Should Pick Up The Check?In an effort to find some kind of consensus as to how the deal should go down, we asked a varied selection of men and women the simple question, “What’s your policy when it comes to picking up the check on a date?” After reading what our interviewees have to say you’ll be armed with some fresh insight to take with you on your next date!

A common response that came from the men we questioned went something like “the guy should always offer to pay.” If he offers to pay, he shows that he cares, but is willing to allow his date to make up her mind for herself. But this scenario still implies that the guy is in control of the situation. Is that agreeable for most women?

From those we spoke to, it seems so. “I personally prefer that the guy pays for the first date. I’m kind of traditional,” said one. Another expanded on this: “I like a guy who is willing to pay for the first two or three dates. I’m a little traditional and I don’t mind being shown that he’s putting in the effort. But on any date after that and I prefer to split the bill.”

So it seems many people prefer to at least pay lip service to tradition. But then the question becomes, how should a girl respond when the guy offers to pay the bill? Should she accept outright, make a quick offer to pay before accepting, or insist that the bill should be split?

“I’ll usually make some kind of counter-offer, like “I was thinking we might go out for coffee or drinks next time. Why don’t I cover that, and we’ll call it even?” said one of the women we asked. An interesting strategy, but this of course is assuming that the date went well, which we can all agree doesn’t happen all the time.

“As a girl I always offer to pay my half, if they say no I offer once more. If they still say no, then I offer to cover the tip or buy dessert later.” This was representative of a more common answer to our question. “I also keep the rule that if I can’t afford to cover my half then I don’t go on the date,” she added.

A few people had some rather interesting policies of their own. “If I ask anyone to have dinner with me, I always offer to pay, regardless of the situation,” one guy said. A couple of people shared this view, with another agreeing, “Whoever does the asking should pay, unless it’s a blind date or an internet first meet, in which case it should be split.”

As happens a lot these days, someone had to bring up the economy: “These days, it should be the employed one – or, if both are employed, the better paid one – who pays, unless they’re splitting.” Another girl added, “When means to pay are unequal I am a fan of switching, where the wealthier person pays for the more expensive dates which alternate with cheap dates – so fancy restaurant one night, pizza and a movie the next.” This implies that both parties are aware of each other’s pay grades however, which isn’t always likely to be the case on most first dates, and could lead to an awkward conversation.

A few quirky responses aside, the consensus seems to be that men should offer to pay, and women should either accept graciously or insist upon splitting it – either option is fine in most cases. Most of our guys didn’t seem put out by this either, unless their date is rude about it. “I am willing to pay for the first three dates, but if she doesn’t at least reach or offer, then that says a lot of negative things to me,” one man said. The general rule seems to be that the guy will pay for the first few dates until both become more acquainted and the issue of who pays what is no longer so awkward.

So, in spite of how far we have progressed and modernized as a society, the dating game seems to be the last haven of chivalry, where men can and should make their lady feel a little bit special for the night as they wine and dine together. That’s not such a bad thing, is it?

Posted by Mirela Gluck at 07:02 AM
bargain news , Points of View , Relationships |

11 July 2011

Since it first became a mainstay of pop-culture terminology a few years ago, I’ve struggled to understand the whole “cougar” thing. Well, I say I’ve struggled to understand it, but at the same time I understand it completely, if that makes any sense. Because it seems to me it is rooted in an inherent social misogyny, but aren’t we supposed to be moving forward and leaving all that stuff behind, not perpetuating it in the popular media and beyond?

The The inequalities that still exist between men and women are sometimes so glaring that it’s hard to believe we’re living in 2011 and not 1911. The societal double standards are barefaced and at times laughable. Pertaining to the cougar example, why are older women stereotyped as predatory for seeking relationships with younger men, but when an older man goes after a younger girl, the girl is depicted as a gold digger while the man is presented as someone simply trying to make the most of his twilight years?

I asked a number of people how they felt about this issue, because it seems a little bizarre to me that there isn’t much feminist uproar about it. In fact the cougar moniker seems to be embraced by many women, becoming some kind of twisted symbol of female empowerment.

As one girl I asked suggests, there’s even a gender-based disparity in the very definition of the word “older.” “Why does a woman become “older” in her forties and a man doesn’t until he’s nearly sixty?” she asks. This point can be highlighted in numerous cultural examples.

Take the Ashton Kutcher Demi Moore situation for instance. She’s forty-eight and he’s thirty-three, so there’s a fifteen-year age gap – but the media portrays it as if she’s twice his age. Now lets take the recently-ended relationship of George Clooney and Elisabetta Canalis – he was eighteen years her senior and no one batted an eye-lid! And don’t get me started on Hugh Hefner. I mean, he’s just an old pervert, why all the hero worship?

Of course, despite the media portrayal, not everyone sees things this way. Some think that older people shouldn’t date the younger regardless of gender. One guy who I questioned said:

“I usually view both guys and girls that are in their twenties and go after older men and women as either messed up in the head or as gold diggers.” Though he added, “But to be fair, I usually view both older men and women that are going after younger folk to be trying to make the most of their twilight years – if you can get it then go for it.”

Another guy told me that I had it all wrong, and in fact the situation was the opposite of how I see it. “I’ve never heard of the stereotype being that older women are predatory; it’s often younger men talking the so-called cougars up,” he said. “The older guys on the other hand are usually denigrated and portrayed as being creepy or predatory.”

But regardless of how you view the matter, I think we should stop treating the roles of men and women differently, especially when it’s based on age. Sure, you can think that older people are “predatory” when they consistently take on younger partners, but this view should apply equally to both men and women. So, if we’re stuck with the word cougar for the time being, maybe it’s time to start labelling older Romeos as panthers, no?

Posted by Staff Writer at 08:27 AM
bargain news , Points of View , Relationships |

15 April 2011

As anyone who’s ever watched an episode of The Rachel Zoe Show (or, god forbid, tried to call a fashion house themselves) knows, basic kindness is a hard What Happened to Nice?thing to come by in the world of fashion. We can’t help but wonder why. Is the trend toward mean a reflection of how tough the business is or is it all about status?

On the one hand, it’s not hard to see why fashionistas have to develop a thick skin. The ratio of fashion jobs to fashion enthusiasts is skewed in a way that makes for a lot of competition. This means that, much like cliche reality show contestants, most fashion industry folks are not here to make friends. They’re here to get ahead, and sometimes the best way to do that is to keep those at your level or below down while desperately trying to get in with those ahead of you. A word of caution, though – someday, those people you trampled on will be the people whose favor you want to curry, and everyone remembers a slight.

There’s also a less generous hypothesis for the unkindness running rampant in the industry: fashion is a high-status industry, peddling expensive goods everyone wants. Just like restaurants, which are often dreadful if they don’t need to be good because of location, fashion folks don’t have to be nice. People will still buy a top-brand bag, even if their salespeople are rude.

Evidence suggests, however, that even when rudeness doesn’t hurt, being kind might get you even further. In their book The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval discuss how their own brand of friendliness helped them rise to the top of the advertising world. We know a few fashionistas who should strongly consider giving it a read.

Leila Cohan-Miccio

Posted by Leila Cohan-Miccio at 02:18 AM
bargain news , Points of View , Relationships |

6 April 2011

Through the ages, women have never had a lack of complaints about the inequalities between men and women. Particularly when it comes to romance, dating and age, there’s always been a lot to complain about. I wish I could say that I am not about to contribute to that litany of gripes, but oh no, I’m about to jump right in.

So, this whole “Cougar” thing. I wouldn’t mind if that term got lost in the Bronx Zoo and was never heard from again. Or was shot with a dart gun and left to die on the Serengeti. You get my drift. I loathe it. It is the word that is now used categorically for any woman who dates younger men. When you hear the word “cougar” what comes to mind? Sharp claws, bared-teeth, pouncing on an unsuspecting zebra to make a kill.

continue reading – <b>Cut the Cougar Crap

Posted by Liz Tuccillo at 07:38 AM
bargain news , Insiders , Our Guest Bloggers , Points of View , Relationships |

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