To some extent it can be viewed as an "investment". The man is investing in a relationship with an attractive woman so that he can date her, and presumably do even more. The variable that is interesting to me is the COST of those dates, or the amount of investment that he has to put INTO the relationship before he is able to extract what he desires OUT of the relationship.
In the NY Times today they had a brief advice columnist discussion in the "Social Q's" section. Here is the question that was asked:
I've been on two dates with this girl. We get along great and have a blast together. Problem is, I end up buying all the drinks. She doesn't even pretend to offer, even after I hint. This doesn't seem right, especially in the age of $14 Belgian beers. My friends tell me she's a mooch and I should ditch her. Or should I just keep paying?
I find this to be amazing. The guy ISN'T EVEN BUYING HER DINNER. He isn't picking her up at her place and taking her to a movie. He isn't even springing for cab fare. He is merely buying her drinks at a bar (probably a bar located conveniently for him, no less, but I am just speculating here).
And he, and his friends (whom he cites in the letter) think that BUYING HER DRINKS to presumably loosen her up a bit is TOO HIGH A PRICE to be paid for what appears to comprise "dating" as it is defined, at least by this guy.
In one of the classical economic concepts - people put a VALUE on items that they acquire based on their COST, whether or not that is truly relevant to the current value. One great example of this is "anchoring", where people stick to certain stocks or other investments based upon what they paid for it regardless of its current actual value in the marketplace; I for one fell into this trap with Nokia stock as I watched it fall down the drain in value but continually referenced what I paid for the damn stock in the first place.
While taking economic costs and applying them to social relations isn't always clean, neat or even applicable, in this case we might want to think of the value that this guy is putting into the relationship IF HE WON'T EVEN PAY FOR HER DRINKS, especially when drinking is so clearly in his benefit (dinner or a movie, not so much).
I guess you are part of the older generation when you just can't understand what the younger generation is thinking. This is where we'd part company. At a minimum I'd at least pay for drinks, in this case.
Cross posted at Chicago Boyz