Going Dutch? Advice for Dating on a BudgetBy Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder
Referenced in previous posts, "going Dutch" means to split the cost of the check, typically when speaking about dating. In the event you or your date are on a tight budget, you may need some suggestions for having an inexpensive interaction that is enjoyable for all. Again, to avoid promoting gender inequality, it is best to "go Dutch" until everyone is comfortable having an adult conversation about personal physical boundaries and delights. It is unfair for one party to a date to cover the entire cost while the other party's only responsibility is as an escort. And, when that is the standard it leads to misunderstandings regarding what to expect out of the encounter. To avoid injustice on all sides, it is best when starting new relationships or even going out once or twice that everyone split the check. This will show both people are truly interested in spending time with each other and getting to know each other rather than some form of passive prostitution or a situation that could be understood as such given historical and socio-environmental factors.
Even if you and/or your date are not on a tight budget, you may wish not to spend a lot to avoid setting up expectations for continued expensive outings early on in any relationship. And, in the event your date likes to spend beyond their means or expects you to do the same, it will likely end poorly. The double entendre is intended there.
Now, when two individuals find that splitting a check may require a more frugal approach to chosen activities for the first few dates (or more), what activities might be best on a budget? Below are a few suggestions:
1. Go for a Walk or Hike Together (FREE Depending on Location and Time of Year)
2. Go on a Picnic (INEXPENSIVE: You bring food, date brings wine/beverages, etc.)
3. When Comfortable Enough, At Home Activities (i.e. Your or your date's home split food and entertainment costs. Such as ordering delivery and watching a film or playing a game already available without further expense.)
4. Volunteer Together (Lots of ways: Soup Kitchens, Beach Clean Up, Animal Sanctuaries, just to name a few direct care and service options for volunteering.)
5. Free Events (i.e. Run a search for free events in your area on http://www.google.com or your favorite search engine and see what you find. If in the Seattle area, you might find this page: https://www.greaterseattleonthecheap.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-seattle-this-weekend/ (Includes free and up to $10 live music and free dancing, inexpensive international film festivals as well.)
6. Going for a Drive? (If so, split the cost of gas. That's true regardless of whether you are carpooling to a chosen activity or simply going for a drive as the activity.)
7. Going for a Train Ride or Boat/Ferry Ride? (Split the cost or everyone pays for their own fare. This is fun. Under $10 for adults for Ferry Ride in Puget Sound area. You could bring a picnic with you depending on the rules of the particular venue.)
8. Take A Class Together Of Interest to You and Your Date (Seattle Central College offers short courses on a number of things including gardening and basic home repair and maintenance, crafts, food and wine, and more. The gardening course I checked was only $29/person. Home repair and gardening are skills most should have if planning to be self-reliant or share responsibilities at some point. See: http://learnatcentral.org/lifelong-learning/home-garden-classes/)
9. Library or Bookstore Challenge (You and your date go to a bookstore or library and try to pick out each other's favorite author based on what you know. Could be fun and tell you and your date how well you know each other at the given point.)
10. Museum or Gallery Visit (Depending on the museum/gallery, it might be free to view the art. Many museums and galleries offer free admission days, so, check the schedule. And, even Seattle Art Museum is only $17-$25/per person depending on exhibits. But, given location there may be parking and transportation costs.)
So, ten ideas or more for things you can do on a date that are respectable, fun, and inexpensive. The above are less expensive than even most dinner and theater dates. One might say they are even less expensive than a night of bowling, depending on alcohol consumption and venue. Some alleys in Seattle cost $30+/hour per lane, plus shoe and ball rentals (for those without their own). If you add on alcoholic beverages, snacks, or other costs, you might be looking at $75+ for the night. But, not too expensive depending on your budget.
I sincerely hope this helps everyone who is making plans with new love interests and that everyone exercises a true commitment to equality in romantic relationships by going Dutch and truly showing an interest in your date as a person and not a prop, dupe, or some sort of passive paid escort.