Ever wonder what the cost of dating really is? A Match.com survey of 5,500 singles around the country found that the average single American spends $1,596 on their dating life per year. And that number creeps up in major cities: For example, New Yorkers spend an average of $2,069 on dating. To get an idea of what that spending looks like, we asked a 28-year-old single woman living in San Francisco to track her dating-related spending over four days.
My mind wanders to the second date I have coming up tonight with Evan*, who I met on an app. I went on vacation for 10 days after our first date, so it’s now been two weeks since we’ve seen each other. He mentioned wanting to hang out after our first date, but in my experience, long breaks often mean there’s no follow-through. But Evan texted me on Sunday night asking about my trip and asked me out again, so we’re meeting at a local bar around 8 tonight. I’m actually pretty excited.
I’ve been swamped at work, so when I leave around 7, I realize I definitely don’t have enough time to go home and change before my date. Not wanting to drink on an empty stomach, I grab a container of dolmas from a boutique grocer ($8.94).
Luckily I get to the bar right on time, and Evan buys the first round of beers. I grab the second round ($14). I’m actually having a great time and don’t want the date to end, so I suggest going to another bar on the same street, Barcade, to play pool. He buys us another round of drinks and a few tokens, and we play a few rounds of pool. He wins one round, and I win the other two.
Evan walks me home from Barcade, which is about three-fourths of a mile away. We say goodnight and I think he’s going to kiss me, but he doesn’t. I’m happy to see a text from him half an hour later saying he had a great time.
I have another date — or I think it’s a date — in Oakland tonight with Adam*, a guy I’ve had a flirty relationship with for a while now. I wince when I check Google maps and see how much traffic there is. But I really like this guy, so I decide to take Muni downtown and transfer to BART ($3.50 for BART ticket). I get to downtown Oakland around 6, and walk a few blocks to a new Mexican restaurant.
I’m still not sure if this is a date, and the fact that we’re supposed to order at the counter doesn’t help. We each get our own dinner, margarita, chips, and guacamole ($36). It’s going pretty smoothly, but I am still not really sure what his endgame is.
We decide to go to a nearby bar for cocktails, and he gets this round. Before I can wonder if that means something, he asks if I am dating anyone, and I say I’m not. We end up kissing. I get the next round ($14) and then decide I need to get home. It’s around 11 by then, so I take a Lyft Line home ($18).
Bad news: I wake up hungover. Good-ish news: I have a text from Evan, but nothing from Adam. I’m kind of disappointed, to be honest — the great time I had with Adam last night makes me realize that there’s no real spark between Evan and me.
I clean my apartment and read my book for a few hours in between texting Evan. He finally asks if I want to grab a quick bite tonight, and I agree. It’s worth at least one more shot, right?
We meet at a bar near my apartment, and Evan gets us a round of drinks (as if I need that right now), and I offer to buy us a plate of chicken wings to share ($13). Since I’m not sure if I like him, I don’t want him to definitely think this is a date — although I’m pretty sure he already does. The night goes OK, but I realize by the end that I’m 100-percent not interested in him in a romantic way. He tries to buy another round of drinks, and I tell him I should probably go home. While it’s true that I am craving a full night of sleep that doesn’t end in a hangover, I don’t want to lead him on. He looks disappointed, and I feel a little bad. I mumble something about hanging out again, and he looks relieved (oops). He walks me home and kisses me. Yep, definitely no chemistry there.
Dating-related spending: $107.44
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of innocent daters everywhere.