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In recent days, a buzz has surrounded a list supposedly outlining suitable first-date locations for men to take women, with popular chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Cheesecake Factory receiving a hard pass. On the flip side, a counter-list of women to avoid dating has emerged from an anonymous group of men. This situation prompted me to share my thoughts concisely.

Some women today aim to “financially shame” men for not taking them on expensive first dates believing it demonstrates their worth. Insisting on lavish first dates can lead to labeling men as “cheap” or “broke,” which is unreasonable. While some argue that men should splurge to impress, I believe differently.

Starting a relationship with extravagance sets unrealistic expectations. Lavish gestures are best reserved for special occasions with your girlfriend or wife, not the first date. Many women want the benefits of a wife without the commitment, and some men play along, but I don’t.

If a woman prioritizes the menu over getting to know her date, it’s not a date; it’s just dining out. Men aren’t oblivious to this tactic. While not every place is suitable for a first date, being excessively picky doesn’t help either. Safety and personal values should guide your choices.

Financial responsibility is attractive. Expecting someone to spend beyond their means isn’t a sign of leadership but a desire for something in return. Realistic expectations show an understanding of building a future and family, not flashy Instagram posts.

Dating is an investment, especially the first date. You invest more as you see potential for the future. It should focus on interaction, not food and ambiance. Outings should match your income unless it’s a special occasion.

Going all out on the first date can set unrealistic expectations. The process of building a relationship should be valued, not just the end result. Today, people want instant gratification without effort, but I prefer being equally yoked with a partner, sharing values and goals from the start.

In the end, a first date isn’t about the price tag; it’s about connecting with someone who shares your values and goals.

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