A recent study says over 85 million people in India are single and are on the lookout for companions. While dating apps help singles find partners, over 40 percent of the users are from urban areas. While the idea of having someone to share your quirks with seems exciting, dating can indeed be an expensive affair. Eleven percent of the young generation goes overboard with dating and spends more than Rs 4,500 on an average per date, states the study. After speaking to a cross-section of young men and women in the city, it seems that the research is spot on.
Aman Singh Gaur divulges his dating diary: “The number of dates is never fixed; it ranges from twice a month to 10 times. I approximately spent Rs 50,000 on all the dates I have been on. This city being expensive, going on a date makes my wallet skinny. Even though girls today who are seeking equality, prefer bills to be split, and I’m happy to do it that way.” While others may spend on prepping for a date at the nearest shopping mall, he pooh-poohs the idea. “Shopping before a date is not my thing because I’m not into impressing girls that way. I believe in expressing and, with time, building a bond.” A few dating tips that work according to him: being punctual, being courteous, giving your date attention, and wearing shirts.
Today’s generation is well aware that a date is not just to meet, talk and decide straight away whether you want to marry the other person. More prolonged contact gives deeper insights into the person’s behaviour. So, it doesn’t make sense to splurge all your money on one date in order to impress. As Kavya S, an MNC employee, notes, “We are all about proper planning and perfection and wants our choice of partner to be perfect. And dates help us in getting to know each other. I have seen the drastic shift of technology that moved dating from face-to-face interactions, proposals and marriage; to online matches and chats leading up to a real meeting. It depends on how well we bond first online. So, the day we actually meet we will obviously make a special effort with clothes and manners.”
Marketing agent Shiva Shankar agrees, “Shopping is an extra budget. But first impression remains the best, so I give importance to my dressing, even if I don’t shop before every date.” He believes in being himself on a date. “I do not follow dating tips or act like someone else. I’m an open book and everything about me will be clear during our conversations. This adds to the comfort level of the date. I’m not really into counting the bills, which might affect the relationship too.
But, on an average, judging from past receipts, it costs me around Rs 2,000 each time. I prefer taking my date to a chilled-out place with fewer people or a respectable restaurant, which makes thing costly. Add fuel to the list too. These expenses sometimes make an individual think we are paying for a partner.
Some girls do not split the bill while others do. These certain actions give me an understanding of her character too,” he explains.
She elaborates, “On a date, I try to show my preference in dressing and the food we order. But this costly IT city attracts us with fantasy stuff like differently themed coffee shops and resto-bars. One to two dates in a month cost me approximately between Rs 6,000 and 10,000, including the shopping for the date, the date itself, travelling to and from it, and a present, if the person is special. I’m not a beer person, but if the opposite person is, I prefer to hang out at a pub, which has smooth music and some good food. But this can also be a little expensive in such places. My typical date is either with two coffees or two beers, one fresh lime soda and two pizzas, which ranges from Rs 3,000 to 4,000. And if it is just a movie and dinner, it is different again.”
While women seem to have it figured out, dating for men has some hidden costs. Dating apps charge them to be able to connect with potential mates and to be visible on the top list. The costs of this vary according to the app and the package. Shiva observes, “Dates are costly, not just in the form of expenses for food and shopping but also to find a partner if it is through dating apps. With different packages in different price categories, this also comes under the list of expenses for the date.”
Arun Kumar, has witnessed his friends’ experiences and is amazed at how much they are ready to shell out. “The expenses are extraordinary sometimes! The singles who are into it are also those who are earning quite well so their confidence is letting them go ahead. While some have a positive experience, some do not. But the latter do not hesitate to spend money again and again, which is being desperate, I feel. But then, there’s a certain social stigma against being single, which is why they are ready to spend so much to find the right partner,” he hits the nail on the head.