For so many years I was doing it all wrong. I can’t tell you how many dates I went on in New York City and Los Angeles where I spent so much money trying to impress a woman. Many times it wasn’t because I wanted to, but it’s because I thought that’s what was expected of me. Sometimes we’d bar hop to 3 to 4 different places after a nice dinner, only for me to be friend-zoned at the end of the night. And many times we would never see or talk to each other ever again. While I wouldn’t necessarily call these “bad investments,” we could have arrived at the same conclusion for a fraction of the time and price if we did a coffee date instead. Or maybe…just maybe…it was a foodie call.

The rise of the “foodie call”

Foodie Call
Yeah she seems interested

With the rise of what’s called a “foodie call,” (one third of women date to get a free meal) it’s time for the rise of the coffee date! If one third of women are going on dates just to get a free meal (because they want to save money or they can’t afford it), then you can easily filter out these women by sticking to coffee dates. Sure, food tastes better when it’s free but don’t be a sucker and fall for foodie calls (unless you’re ok paying for momentary meal companionship or you’re so rich money doesn’t matter to you)!

Just to give you guys an understanding of how expensive dates in New York City and Los Angeles are, here’s an infographic from Match.com. Keep in mind that we’re looking at the average prices for the entire states of New York and California. New York City and Los Angeles are likely even higher. And yes, I always had a hard time spending less than $200 on a typical first date – until I got smart and optimized towards coffee dates. In many women’s defense (not the one third mentioned above), I am seeing more women prefer coffee dates because they don’t want a man who they don’t even know if they’ll connect with spending that much money. Classy move!

The expectation of men paying for the first date (or most dates) is a leftover remnant of archaic gender roles when men made the money and women were expected to stay at home.

Average Price of a Date in US

Story time!

When I was living in Los Angeles (2015-2018), I matched with a beautiful girl on Tinder. This girl was absolutely stunning. For those of you who know my type, this girl was my type. You can imagine my disappointment when she lived up to the stereotype of someone of her beauty when her first message to me was,

“Take me to Ink.”

Ink Los Angeles Restaurant
This just looks expensive

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the LA foodie scene, Ink (now closed) was a four dollar sign ($$$$) restaurant on Yelp meaning the shit was expensive. The tasting menu was $85 and the wine pairing was $50. You know if you’re getting one, you’re getting the other so the minimum price for a meal would be $351 (including tax and tip). This does not include the Ubers to and from the restaurant, or any additional stops such as cocktail bars or lounges. Your bill can easily skyrocket to $500.

If a girl is asking to be taken to a $$$$ restaurant on a first date, where the f do you take her on the second date? Do you fly her to the Caribbean? Hawaii? What do you do on your one month anniversary when your first date was already at a one year anniversary restaurant?

Oh – and for those of you wondering if I took her to Ink…F NO! I wrote back and said “How about we do Ink on our 2nd date and stick to a casual, local Thai restaurant for our 1st date to see if we connect?” I immediately got unmatched. But my bank account was healthier! I’m sure she messaged this to all of her matches knowing one poor sucker (or rich guy) would say yes. If I was a betting man, I would bet she ate at Ink that night. 

The expectation of men paying for the first date…

I didn’t want to get into my opinion on men still being expected to pay for first dates in places like America, but I found it impossible at least not to gloss over. The expectation of men paying for the first date (or most dates) is a leftover remnant of archaic gender roles when men made the money and women were expected to stay at home. In a day and age where women have (almost completely) closed the gender pay gap, I believe women have a responsibility to go all-in on pushing for gender equality by dropping the expectation of men paying for the first date. You can’t pick and choose which parts of traditional gender roles are acceptable based on circumstances – it’s time to go all-in.

Traditional Gender Roles
Traditional af!

As a side note, I am OK with the expectation of Western men paying for the first date in developing countries where not only is upward mobility less-existent for everyone, but the value of the American dollar is far greater than the local currency. An American professional can make $5 USD in a matter of minutes through his iPhone, but someone in Cambodia or Vietnam, for example, would need to work for an hour. Here – I can understand the expectation. In America, I cannot. Let’s do better.

What credit card dance?

I recently went out to dinner with a few friends in New York City, and one of the girls at the table bragged about how she doesn’t bring any credit cards with her on dates. It’s her proven strategy to ensure that she never has to pay. I asked her if she even entertains the thought of splitting the bill by doing the “credit card dance” (when the women pretends to reach into her purse  when the check comes). NOPE! She said she just sits there and does nothing because she believes it’s the man’s obligation to pay. She doesn’t even do alligator arms!

Alligator arms
Alligators never have to pay the bills

I know for a fact that this woman made good money (likely close to six figures). This type of behavior in my opinion is abhorrent and is working against the progress made by feminists and any women pushing for gender equality. 

Dinner dates take too long

The other problem with dinner dates is that you’re essentially trapped for 2 to 3 hours with the person. If things are going great, then this works out for you. But if things are going badly, both sides feel obligated to stick around and see the miserable meal through. I’ve been there and it’s not a fun experience for anybody.

Coffee dates remove the mandatory timeframe of a dinner date. You can meet at a coffee shop and if things aren’t going well, both parties are free to leave after 20 minutes. Time spent? 20 minutes. Money spent? Less than $10. Compare this to a dinner date which can cost $300 and take more time than a mini-Netflix binge session. And if you’re drinking cocktails, the hangover and recovery time can add another 12 hours. 

Coffee Date
What a lovely idea

Coffee dates can be creative

Another idea that I really like for a coffee date is to meet at a place like Central Park (or whatever park is close to you). During the spring, summer or fall months there are many coffee stands right outside the park’s entrance. You can buy a pair of oat milk lattes and walk through the park which is always romantic. Plus, this will give you a really good idea of your genuine chemistry. No alcohol to cloud your judgment!

Central Park
So romantic

And if things are going well you can choose to move the date to a different location like a cocktail lounge or get food. By starting with a coffee date instead of dinner, you’re hedging against a waste of time and money. And you’re weeding out the foodie calls.

By sticking to coffee first dates, you’ll :

  1. Save a lot money
  2. Save a lot of time
  3. Weed out the foodie calls
  4. Maintain a clear head
  5. Get a truer sense of chemistry
  6. Can always extend the date to a cocktail lounge, bar or restaurant

Of course if you’re an absolute baller and you just have money dripping out of your pockets, then this advice is virtually worthless for you – taking a girl to Ink LA and dropping $400 is like a normal guy going out for a cup of coffee. But for most gentleman, I strongly encourage coffee dates as the first date. Long live the rise of the coffee date!

BONUS VLOG!

My dogs Raindrop and Flex going head-to-head in a treat-catching battle!

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Do you think a coffee date is a good idea for a first date?

Leave a comment or you can e-mail me adam@befreemysheeple.com. If you enjoyed reading/watching this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

Be Free My Sheeple!