Dear Jeanne & Leonard:
You told “Scott,” a 50-year-old who’d recently begun dating again following a divorce, that it was fine to propose splitting a dinner bill 50/50 after the first date. Sorry, but you got it wrong. I’m also 50, and if my date expected me to pay on the second date, there wouldn’t be a third. Of course I expect to contribute financially, but not by divvying up the check. I might make dinner, buy concert tickets or bring the wine when we go to a party. I might invite the guy to dinner at a restaurant and insist on paying for us both. My point is, while we women in our 50s and 60s fought for women’s rights, that doesn’t mean we killed chivalry. Buy us dinner. It impresses us.
— C.K., Sacramento, California
We once heard a woman complain vociferously about a guy who, on the first date, ordered her dinner for her. He also paid for the meal, but that she didn’t complain about.
You see the problem here, C.K. It’s difficult to expect men to adhere to traditional sex roles in some areas but eschew them in others. Which is to say, you can’t have it both ways: You can’t be the object of chivalry when it suits you — i.e., when the dinner check arrives — but not when it doesn’t — i.e., when you want to enjoy the equality you fought for. Of course, you’re entitled to establish any rules you like with respect to money and the men you date. But don’t be surprised if some very nice guys fail to follow them.
P.S. Another reader, Kim, wrote in to advise Scott that “If he expects his date to pay half the dinner tab, he’d better say so before the date occurs, and he’d better be prepared to let the woman have an equal say in choosing the restaurant.” Kim we agree with.
Dear Jeanne & Leonard:
Years ago, my childless aunt named her brother as the executor of her estate. “Aunt Ellen” has considerable wealth, a large extended family and many beneficiaries. She is now in failing health. The problem is, her brother is elderly himself now and is not well. Should I say something to my aunt about appointing someone else as her executor, someone younger and better able to take on the responsibility of carrying out her wishes? We’re all concerned that when Aunt Ellen dies, “Uncle Buddy” isn’t going to be up to the task.
— S.H., San Antonio, Texas
Aunt Ellen should appoint a new executor. Should you be the one to tell her? That depends on how close you are.
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