Reilly: Expectations vs ‘Sexpectations’

Men and women in college should worry less about the money spent and what that means and more about having fun on a date.

Kate Reilly

Kate ReillyA male friend of mine recently shocked me with an aggressively sexist statement: “Dating is like a legal form of prostitution.”

Though my friend argued that if he’s “spending money on a girl [he] would be surprised if nothing happened by the end of the night,” the more he insisted, the more I thought he is missing the point of dating.

When it comes to dating, acting chivalrous shouldn’t signify to anyone that they’re automatically getting laid. For both guys and girls, the choice of whether the night will continue after the date, bedroom or otherwise, is theirs alone. My friend’s logic is outdated and arrogant, but maybe he’s just a jaded victim of the hookup culture in college.

Many students aren’t looking for a lasting relationship – that’s undeniable. But an attitude focused completely on personal gain – like an unwillingness to treat someone to dinner unless the investment will be returned with sex – certainly won’t lead to any fulfilling commitment, either.

It feels discomforting to be reminded that there are a number of guys with the mindset that dishing out money will get them some action at the end of the night. In my experience, a first date consists of trying to figure out if the other person is even worth the time to see them again.

Between men and women on first dates, it’s often the case that neither party knows what they want in a relationship. When I asked several other men their thoughts, they gave complex answers on their dating experience, in contrast to their peer’s assertion that dating is just like paying for sex. It even seemed like women were less concerned about the outcome of a date from the reactions I received.

The general consensus from several female students was that they don’t hold guys to a very high standard of behavior – but what happens at the end of a date is ultimately up to them, they said.

“If I’m going on a date, the guy could pay if he wants but I’m not going to feel the pressure to hook up with him because of it,” freshman history major Allison Davis said. “I’m not a prostitute.”

Most women probably don’t expect Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet in the college environment, but they do want someone to have fun with and hopefully find a connection with. The idea of paying for themselves isn’t an issue, they said, even though it would be noted as a nice gesture.

And ultimately, dating shouldn’t be dependent on money in college. If you are looking to have a meaningful conversation with your date, maybe going to a frat to drink and dance isn’t an ideal place, compared to grabbing a slice of pizza and sitting on Beury Beach. Most of the time, the environment you are in with your date or are in looking for someone to date will reflect the relationship you’ll have.

Several male students expressed mixed feelings when asked about dating and the expectations that follow. Some of them agreed that it’s only polite for their date to reciprocate a free meal with some post-date alone time. Others said they would interpret having sex on the first date as a bad first impression of the person they are dating.

“If I’m on a date with a girl and she assumes she needs to put out if I pay for her, she’s not the type of girl I would want to continue seeing,” said freshman biology major Emmet Nealon.

When it comes to dating, you probably won’t find a serious relationship on the dance floor at a Thirsty Thursday party or at the Draught Horse on White Girl Wednesday. Maybe if students focused a little more on the setting and activity of a date, rather than the price, they’d communicate their motives better.

If students learn to separate the ideas of hooking up and dating, both parties might feel like their needs are better met.

Kate Reilly can be reached at

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