I’ve written before that people should seek pit people like themselves to date i.e. “water seeks it’s own level”, and it got me thinking of the imbalance I often saw in dating. One of the things I hated about dating was the expectation that men were expected to bring the money to the table, while women were expected to bring their charm and company. The money wasn’t the issue, my issue was this simple question: What am I bringing to the table if my only expectation is to pay and not be interesting or a good date?
Before I dive in I just want to say, this is no way a condemnation of women or how dating works. In fact, this is a condemnation of traditional dating mores that have their root in Victorian era courting practices.
There’s an idiom in Spanish that my friends are fond of using to describe someone who brings nothing to the table: papa sin sal. Literally translated it means unsalted potato.
Ask yourself this:
Are you a papa sin sal? What do you bring to the table besides money or good looks? Are you as bland as an unsalted potato?
For far too long, men have had very little expectations of them when it comes to dating outside of paying for the first date and not being a piece of human garbage. If you show up to a first date, are utterly bland and pay for the date, the expectation is that you’ll get a second date. You hear this complaint a lot from “Nice Guys“. They describe themselves in ways that sound good on paper, but are utterly devoid of personality or interesting characteristics.
I was gentleman, I paid for dinner, I kissed her on the cheek, and I followed up after the date and I still don’t know why she’s not interested
Maybe she’s not interested in you because you bring nothing to the table besides being nice (which is nothing to brag about, just so you know) and a wallet? Are you as interesting and attractive as the people you want to date? Do you have real depth, or are you just a walking checkbook who hasn’t learned or experienced something new since high school or college? Is your job the only thing you can talk about?
Why are you interesting?
I know why some people might consider me interesting and I can rattle off some reasons at the drop of a hat:
I’m a lifelong New Yorker who still remembers sketchy Times Square. I’ve got a wealth of useless trivia knowledge. I write a blog and I podcast. I draw a lot and briefly considered applying to Parsons School of Design after attending pre-college classes there on a scholarship. I briefly did graffiti after they changed the minimum sentencing laws for vandalism (sorry Mom). I’m a huge comic book nerd who could give you the back story of most comic book characters. I have several tattoos, one of which is inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe short story. I was homeless at one point in my life, briefly residing in a homeless shelter that had been converted from a hospital, whose most memorable childbirth is definitely Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
Don’t you want to hear at least one of my stories now? I’m not trying to brag about how interesting I am, just illustrating a point. If all you can talk about on a date is your job, the weather, and the latest happenings on a television show, you probably bring nothing to the table.
Again, I ask you:
Why are you interesting?
It’s okay to love yourself, be comfortable in your skin, and work to maintain your level of beauty. All of these qualities are great on their own, but none of those qualities are a substitute for personality, and none of these qualities should be your defining characteristics. Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, but what do we know of her? Not much right? (unless you’re a trivia nerd like me and you know that she was a demigod who was the daughter of Zeus) Do you want to be remembered for being beautiful, or for being interesting? I’m not saying that you need to be the “Cool Girl” or “A Chick who can hang“, just be an interesting person. Be more than what’s on the outside.
To clarify, I’m not saying that the characteristics of the “Nice Guy” and “Cool Girl” are specifically tied to a specific gender or sexual orientation, in fact, I only used them since they’re such prevalent stereotypes. These characteristics, which are rooted in being a pandering people pleaser, can apply to men and women in equal measure.
If your entire personality is based on being a people pleaser, which is ultimately what the Nice Guy and Cool Girl is, then you bring nothing to the table.
Now for the finances of dating. I’m not saying that you need to be making the exact dollar amount as the people you date, but let’s be real here:
You aren’t actually dating someone if they always pay for everything
You wouldn’t consider yourself “dating” someone who never took you on dates,so how are you “dating” someone if you’re being treated to everything? Financial imbalances happen when you’re dating because of a variety of reasons, but if it’s a constant and you bring nothing to the table, you aren’t dating them, they’re you’re benefactor. You don’t need to spring for the most expensive dates or gifts you can think of to reciprocate, just put a little effort in, even if you’re on a tight budget. You can cook for them, give them a handmade gift, or whatever else you can think of. Whatever it is you do, you need to bring SOMETHING to the table.
So ask yourself, once more:
What do I bring to the table?
If you don’t like the answer, now is the time to make some changes to become a dynamic interesting person who attracts interesting people. Otherwise, you’ll be spending the rest of your life eating unsalted potatoes.
Good Luck Out There.