Treating and Sitting and Smoking and Talking

by A Dude

There’s no good way for me to say this without sounding like a bitch, so here: I want my boyfriend to pay for things. That’s right, I said it. Our relationship is fairly new and things are going really well, but he keeps inviting me to dinner / lunch / drinks / coffee / whatever, picks me up and we go eat together and then he doesn’t pay for me; just says “separate checks” and moves on. The first couple dates we went on, he paid.

I’m all for going dutch and paying for myself, but when he invites me to dinner I think that he should pay. I don’t know how to bring this up to him without sounding… well, terrible and spoiled. I cook him dinner, surprise him with pizza, and bring beer over, so it’s not like I never contribute. And it’s not a monetary issue: we’re in our last year of undergrad and he had an internship where he made a lot of money, and his parents give him money. I’m not saying this has to happen every day or anything, I just keep getting embarrassed because I’ll be standing next to him in line to order and he totally blows me off and the cashier and people behind me look at me like an idiot, like “Ooh burn, girl. BURN.”

Should I ask him if he’s paying for me before we leave? Is he just doing this because we had “the talk” about a month ago and he’s got me on lock so he doesn’t feel like he has to woo me anymore? I am a girl, I love being wooed. WOO ME. So, A Dude, any advice that you have for me would be super.

This is somewhat about money, but it seems more like you just want him to be … thoughtful. Based on what you put in ALL CAPS, what you hate most is feeling humiliated, and what you want most is to be wooed. Him paying for stuff is shorthand for valuing you, and not paying means he’s taking you for granted. He’s being lazy and lame and thoughtless.

And unfortunately he’s not going to magically realize it and start paying. So it’s your job to speak up and say that when he invites you to something that costs money, you think it’d be super cool and nice and romantic and swell if he, you know, also picked up the bill. Heck, it’s possible he thinks it’s inappropriate and condescending to pay beyond the courtship phase, and you can’t expect him to read your mind. More likely, he’s not thinking AT ALL, but you still need to speak up and say what you want. Which is for him to spend some of those internship bucks on his awesome lady … shorthand for acknowledging that for you to be happy, he needs to keep some of that courtship fire burning.

Oh and if he had an INTERNSHIP that paid well, I’m guessing he’s in finance or banking or consulting. Couple that with the fact that his parents give him money, I’m willing to bet that he has no real sense of what it’s like to be strapped for cash. Again, he’s not really pondering what your situation is. There are two kinds of rich kids — those who know they’re rich and quietly cover more than their share, and those who that think money comes from a bottomless bag in the basement … and why wouldn’t everyone have an awesome bag like that in their basement? You know, between the wine cellar and that old marble bust of Grandpa. Sounds like you’ve got rich kid B. So not only is he oblivious to the emotional effect of not treating you, he’s dim to the real financial effect. Uncool.

But you know this. You know he’s being lame. And I think the reason you’re confused is because you’re wondering if in 2012 are YOU also being lame for expecting the guy to pay more than you just because he’s a guy. Because admit it: part of you, even if you had just as much money as him, you want him to pay more. And is that douchey and antifeminist and selfish and shallow and hypocritical? I think no, it’s fine for you to want that. Because for you, him paying represents a type of thoughtfulness that is essential to your happiness in a relationship. You want him to WANT TO pay more. Because you are awesome and money is nothing compared to how awesome you are so why wouldn’t he pay? He should be turning his pockets inside out with longing. You’re not superficial; you’re SUPER.

Which brings us to the kicker: is he nice otherwise? Pause for a second and think about whether he’s taking you for granted in any other ways — ways that might be more basic and important than who picks up a check. Ways where if he were being considerate and not sucky, maybe you wouldn’t be thinking about money at all.

What do dudes really think of girls they’re in a relationship with farting? Should she just never do this if she can help it? Is it a huge turn-off? One friend of mine, who has been in a relationship for five years, claims she has never once audibly farted in front of him. If she has to do it, she leaves the room! A friend of a friend, however, says that one day she had a conversation with her dude that went thusly:

Lady: “Did you get my love note?”

Confused dude: “What love note?”

Lady: *farts*

Dude: *hysterical laughter*

And they lived happily ever after, replying to each other’s farts with “I love you,too!”

So, when your lady love lets one off, would you prefer she A) ignore it, B) say “oops, sorry” and not mention it further, or C) acknowledge it and make it hilarious? Is there a point in the relationship where it gets acceptable to fart openly, like the point where it’s okay to get a little lazy about shaving? Or would it seem like a girl had “stopped trying”? I really could have boiled this question down to: farting. Thoughts?

First off, here is your plaque for Best Question Ever. Hang it in your fart closet.

I think this is an issue where people are just going to differ. Some dudes think any ladyfart is unladylike. Other dudes think any ladyfart is hilarious, because it is a fart, and therefore the best thing ever. And a rare few have a sexual fetish for women farting directly onto cakes. Google it (don’t).

So I can’t purport to speak for all dudes. But what I’d hope for everyone is that in your relationships — especially FIVE YEARS IN, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE — you can be yourself and feel comfortable. And that’s gonna mean farting. Farts needn’t be fully incorporated into your rapport, and certainly not your love life, but I’d worry that pretending to be a fartless human is like pretending you don’t have irrational fears, the occasional totally evil thought, or any imperfections at all — things that, when shared, bring to you close to someone’s real self. Think of where you try really hard not to fart: a staff meeting … church … a crowded airplane. Is that what you want your home to feel like?

To answer your question, I personally think B or C are fine. Ignoring the fart, if it’s obvious, is just weird. Making it hilarious is great, though that could eventually wear a bit thin. Acknowledging it and moving on? Points for maturity. I think the most annoying thing is a full-on, purposeful fart that goes un-commented. I dated a girl once who got to the point of letting them rip without any fanfare, and I found it a bit lazy.

I adore the “I love you, too” fart response. A dude friend of mine shared a similar story: One day after he and a lady had been dating for about three weeks, he said “I think we’re ready to take this to another level.” She got excited but also anxious. What did he mean? Being exclusive? Meeting parents? What? Of course you know what happened next. He ripped a huge fart. She paused and laughed her ass off. That could have, um, backfired on him big time. But it didn’t. They’re married.

Can a player change his stripes? There is a known player in the mix, he is a co-worker who works in a different department, so while we work together, he has to try really hard to come up with a reason to visit my department because the two departments are drastically unrelated. He has come knocking at my (metaphorical) door on several occasions in the last year, but I have always had my guard up around him and never answered his call. Recently though he got past the main gate of my defense system and has been lavishing me with attention, texting, calling, hiding little presents in my desk at the office, and has even shown himself to be a very stand up guy on more than one occasion now. Most recently he took really good care of me when I got way too drunk at an office party: he got me home safe and didn’t molest me or try to get in my pants or my apartment! To the point where I’m thinking that maybe I misjudged him. He knows what I think of him and that I’ve purposely kept my distance, and he’s doing his best to convince me that he is a “good guy.”

My friends are divided: half say roll the dice, this guy is trying so hard (a lot of time has been invested at this point). The other half say DANGER! DANGER! Don’t go there. Once a player always a player!!!

The rational side of me knows that we all want what we can’t have, and as soon as he has me he’ll move on like all players do. The irrational side of me wants The Dude to tell me that this guy is really into me and that I am the girl special enough to kill the player, because if the player was dead he would be a pretty good catch (smart, funny, driven, hot … all the good stuff!). Help me Dude, am I being hunted like a Gazelle on the Savannah, or is this guy legit?

Yeah, there’s a decent chance he’s going to fuck you over, but I think it’s worth a shot — depending on a couple things. Before you go digging through kitchen drawers for your chastity belt key, I’d ask around and see if there’s any meaningful precedent on this dude. Sounds like you know ladies who got played by him. Anyone keep her guard up as long as you have? Was he an upright gentleman until bedding her, and then skedaddled? Unless there’s a pattern of him putting this much effort in and still ditching out, he deserves some cautious benefit of the doubt.

The older this guy is, the more worried I’d be. If he’s kind of young, he might just be waiting for the one. If he’s been playing around for 10 years and never gotten serious with someone, I’d say that’s a flag and it’s “kinda pink” (as my dad would say while running a red light).

Okay so: no bad precedent, he’s not super old, or if he is he’s at least had real relationships? Great. Go out with him. You say he knows you know his rep, but it may be worth laying down the law before you start dating. For example, “Hey dude, I know you’ve been a player, so why don’t you prove all my friends wrong who are screaming at me to run the other way?” Make it clear that doesn’t mean a promise of marriage on the first date, just that he’ll treat you with respect and actually communicate. If it starts getting serious and you’re worried he’s gonna split, ask him what’s different with you and all the girls he’s ditched? If he can’t point to something specific that’s working now that wasn’t before, I think your worries are warranted.

But let me stop and ask you a callous question. Namely, are you really so fucking delicate? You know the chance you’re taking with this guy, and you must be attracted to him or you wouldn’t be thinking about him at all. How hurt or surprised can you be if he does something TOTALLY PREDICTABLE and plays you? So go out with him. Have sex with him. In the long run, it’s probably not going to work out, either because he’s a player or for one of the other 46 reasons that most people shouldn’t be together. But you can’t know that by thinking about it hard or listening to the right friend or making him pinky swear to be true. You want a guarantee? Run away from this guy, fast. But there are no guarantees.

Okay so this is a pretty lame question but it’s something that’s been plaguing me. I recently started college, and twice in my less-than-two-months here I’ve had a guy invite me to smoke weed with him late at night. Just the two of us. The first time it happened we hung out at like 3 a.m. and then he asked if I wanted to come listen to records in his room for a while. Which we did. And that was ALL we did. The other time it happened, I was at a party and another guy who I have a class with and kind of know asked if I wanted to go smoke with him after we’d been talking for a little bit, but then he casually added that we’d have to trek back to his dorm to do so. And we went. And we just sat and talked and smoked. Neither of these guys were my close friends.

Am I crazy for thinking that I might be about to get some in these situations? If a guy invites me to smoke with him alone IN HIS ROOM in the middle of the night does he probably want to hook up? And if so, WHY AM I NOT GETTING ANY? And if not, that is, if they have no intention of attempting to get with me, why am I being invited!?!

Man, it sucks that it’s 1912 and the lady isn’t allowed to make the first move. Oh wait, it’s 2012 and totally fine for the lady to make a move! Sometimes required even, given how nicey-nice dudes are supposed to be, especially the liberal arts college freshman varietal of dude.

Can I say a something that is not true but educational to consider? Broadly speaking, there are two types of college guys: wimps and date rapists. The rare ones in between these poles are thoughtful, sure of what they want, and straightforward about requesting it. There are six of them spread across the nation’s campuses. I hope you meet one of them. One’s named Bryce and he goes to Vassar.

So yeah, false. But not that false.

Point is, there’s a decent chance these dudes wanted to make out with you but just didn’t make a move. When I was alone in a dorm room with a girl, what was the percent chance I wanted to get with her? Roughly 100. How often did it happen? Pretty much only when she made it abundantly clear that’s what she wanted too. In other words, that one time in October 1999.

It’s possible you’re just a cool lady who gives off a perpetual desire to smoke weed, and these dudes were only interested in sharing a joint while discussing Walter Benjamin and listening to Arcade Fire. But chances are they want to get with you and are just not making that clear. Human beings are engineered to be vague, because it protects us from emotional danger. Over-thinking, college-aged humans are particularly predisposed to vagueness, because every single day they learn a new word that allows them to communicate less clearly.

And here’s the other thing: you may not be looking in the, um, greenest pastures for hookups. The jury is out on whether weed is an aphrodisiac or total libido-killer but (rappers aside) I think it’s safe to say that the Venn diagrams of chronic-enthusiast and Cassanova don’t overlap so much. At the very least, stoners are not the most proactive people. So you’re dealing with a group who already don’t know how to express what they want, and adding in another layer of not really wanting to get off the couch to get it.

So, ball’s in your court. If you’re interested in these dudes you need to say it. If you can master asking for what you want, you’ll be at a huge advantage over all the mumblers, wonderers, and hopers in your age group. You’ll be a superhero among mortals. Like: “Do you know Lindsey?,” asks a young man in Brueger Hall, 2nd floor. “Yeah,” another replies, wide-eyed. “I was there when she said that sentence. You know … the one where she said exactly what she meant.”

Next time one of them offers to smoke you up, say “Sure, but are we going to make out this time?” Fortune favors the bold, young stoner.

OK, last thing. I ran your question by a much more blunt friend and he asked this:

“Is she hot?” Do with that what you will.

Previously: Four Men and a Chest.

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Dude? (300 word max, please.)

Photo by v.s.anandhakrishna, via Shutterstock.