I always recommend your column; however, I take issue with your slamming "Joe Spokes" for not directly asking out the girl in his bike group. Besides, only a fool would take a woman on a date and pay. It takes discipline, but if I invite a woman out, I ask her in advance to pay her way. This helps me weed women out. If they just want a free meal, they can go to the homeless shelter, and I won't have that terrible feeling of being duped into the meal and movie scam. — Outsmarting Them
If you're looking to "weed women out," you're on the right track. Sure, it's best to be on your guard against gold-digging users — to a point. Treating women like scam artists right off the bat — "I'd love to take you out to buy yourself a glass of wine!" — is right up there with Kmart announcing over the loudspeaker, "Welcome, Kmart shoplifters!"
But, don't just take it from me. I posted your approach on my blog, and nearly 250 comments later, women confirmed that opening with a demand for separate checks is the best way to end up on separate dates. Here are some typical remarks from all the gold diggers: "Gretchen" wrote, "Women should never go on a date unprepared to pay for at least their own food, but to be told in advance is so weird and off-putting I'd probably stare at this (dude) with a blank expression and walk away." "Cornerdemon" was one of many women who said if money's tight, it would be OK to attend an art opening (free wine!). "Kristin" "always" offers to pay for her meal — or even the whole tab — but said if a guy "announced beforehand that I was expected to pay I'd tell him I'd let him know how dinner was."
Your approach not only offends women, it suggests you'll be fishing pennies out of a fountain to pay the tip — or making the wife pick through the trash for returnables before you'll let her take the kid to the dentist. Even if a woman has every intention of footing her share of the bill, her genes are driving her to make sure a guy's a "provider" — someone who has access to resources and a willingness to share them.
But wait! Gloria Steinem said women should get equal pay! Shouldn't they also pay equally, and from the first date on? Sorry, but that notion confuses being equal with being the same. Men and women are biologically and psychologically different, and that isn't likely to change any time soon. In fact, according to evolutionary psychologist Donald Symons, "Natural selection takes hundreds or thousands of generations to fashion any complex cognitive adaptation." So, good news! It should only be about 25,000 years until women leap at the chance to date you.
Until then, you'll probably be "outsmarting" a whole lot of women — right into the arms of other guys. These would be guys who know better than to buy dinner for some near-stranger on the first date, but who understand that a couple glasses of wine are the investment you make if you'd like to have a girlfriend before the next Ice Age. Now, although you say your approach "takes discipline," I have to say, I suspect it's more your philosophy than your actual practice. But, hey, if asking women to pay is working so well, why stop there? You're sure to be fighting 'em off if only you'll tell a woman she has to put her money in escrow before your date, just in case she runs out on the check for her $6 Merlot.
Resistance is feudal
After hearing stories of my dating misadventures, a married woman advised me, "If a girl tells you she wants to be friends, immediately tell her you have enough friends and walk away. You will more often than not be remarkably surprised by her actions after that." I nodded, but really have no idea what that means. — Befriended Again
Believe a girl when she tells you she wants to be friends — if you're both 5. At 25, it's usually code for "I find you sexually repellant." For some girls, however, it's code for "I find you sexually repellant but potentially useful." It sounds like your married friend wants you to understand "friends" isn't going to morph into "with benefits" — unless you're willing to count the warm glow you'll feel when you unclog the girl's toilet just in time for her date. Her advice is good in concept; just don't take it literally. Squeak "I have enough friends!" and storm off, and you should indeed be "remarkably surprised" — by how quickly one man can go from the "friend zone" to the "no chance in hell with any of her friends zone."