A Match.com survey of 5,500 singles around the country found that the average single American spends $1,596 per year on their dating life. 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 31-year-old single woman living in Portland, Oregon to track her dating-related spending over four days.
I groan as my alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. I have a date tonight and I’m really nervous about it, so I promised myself I’d go on a run this morning to shake off my pre-date jitters. Winter in Portland is brutal — I know it’s nothing compared to the East Coast, but it’s still damp, cold, gray, and not ideal for a morning run.
After a hot cup of coffee, a long shower, and breakfast at home, I get to the office around 10. I get a text from the guy I’m going on a date with tonight confirming we’re on to meet at Harlow, a vegan restaurant in my neighborhood. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend three months ago, and this is my first date since then. I met this guy on an app, and he seems nice. He’s a vegetarian like me, so that’s one point for him at least. At lunch, I slip out to Walgreens to pick up some cheap blush since I just ran out and can’t go on a date without rosy cheeks ($7).
I finally slip out of the office around 5 and pick up a six-pack of Stella on my way home ($10), so I can ease my nerves while I get ready. I take my time getting dressed and putting on my makeup and then head to my date. I’m pleased to see that Tom* is just as cute as his photo, although he’s very Portland: He’s got a big, bushy beard and is wearing a Patagonia fleece. Figures.
We hug hello and order craft beers and veggie bowls. You pay at the counter at this place, and he offers to cover the bill right away, which I think is nice. I’m a little drunk already from my three Stellas on a mostly empty stomach and secretly think this fourth beer probably isn’t a good idea, but hey — a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! The conversation flows easily, and afterward I suggest we go to Salt & Straw, which unquestionably has the best ice cream in Portland. Since neither of us has a car (and I shouldn’t be driving anyway!), I get us an Uber ($7).
I order Honey Lavender in a cone, and Tom gets Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. He offers to pay since I got the Uber, which doesn’t exactly even out considering he paid for dinner, too, but I don’t mind. We Uber back to my house, and he kisses me goodnight.
I wake up feeling well-rested and reach for my phone. Tom texted me to tell me he had a great time after I fell asleep, and I smile. Is it really possible that I’m falling for the first guy I went on a date with after my ex?
I text him back to tell him I had a great time, too, and then head out to my regular Saturday morning yoga class. When I get out of class, I have a text from him asking if I want to go on a day date tomorrow, since the weather’s actually supposed to be nice. Before I can overthink it, I text back to tell him I’d love that, and we make plans to meet at Stumptown Coffee at 10 a.m.
I wake up feeling a little queasy and then remember that’s what happens every time I’m nervous. Yep, even after our great first date, I’m anxious about my day date with Tom. I get ready and head over to Stumptown, and when I arrive, Tom is already waiting for me. I insist on paying for our coffee and bagels ($20), and we chat for a while before heading over to Powell’s Books, a famous Portland landmark.
We spend the rest of the day walking around the city. It’s chilly out, but it’s nice to get a little sun for once. Tom buys us gluten-free treats at Back To Eden Bakery (they’re delicious, I swear!), and we eventually part ways around 4 p.m. I’ve gotta admit, I think this might be going somewhere.
Ugh, Monday. I overslept, and my bed is so warm that the thought of getting out of it is excruciating. I eventually make it happen, and when I finally get to work, I realize Tom never texted me last night saying he had a good time. It isn’t a huge deal that he didn’t, and I tell myself I’m probably overthinking it.
When I haven’t heard from him by 2 p.m., I decide to just text him. Who cares about playing hard to get? I tell him I had a good time and ask him if he wants to go to a concert next weekend. He responds immediately saying that he does, and I realize I have butterflies in my stomach — or something like that. Well, this is certainly the start of something interesting.
Dating-related spending: $44
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of innocent daters everywhere.