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Each then used Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment app, to request that his date reimburse her share after the fact. “I do not have time for scrubs,” one said, speaking for all.They had expected to be treated, not treated as debtors.
Turning to Rogo, he said, looking around the room, “I believe they’re all female.”“Hopefully some males will come,” Rogo said.Kera, who didn’t say much, had on a simple black dress and a colorful scarf.Margalit, who had short, curly hair, flirted with Dowling—“Are you married? They all belong to a group called It Takes Two, which is devoted to pursuing and meeting single men online. “We invite men from the dating sites, and we provide the wine.”“The ladies are pretty passionate,” Dowling said.You could call it a dating site for the elderly, but they prefer to call it a place to find “companionship.” Don’t confuse them with Stitch.com, “Your guide to the embroidery world! Arlene and Carol had long hair, well styled, and ample mascara.Vivian, who told me that she is legally blind, wore an oversized blue T-shirt, black pants, and polka-dot socks.(Emoji: the flying wad of dollar bills, plus the girl crossing her hands over her chest in the universal sign for “take a step back there, cowboy.”) Digital avoidance does have its advantages.
The Senior Planet Exploration Center, which opened last year on West Twenty-fifth Street, boasts of being “the country’s first tech-themed senior center.” One afternoon, I stepped inside to find patrons—mostly women in their seventies and eighties—hunched over desktops and reading i Pads at a conference table. In a corner near the back, Marcie Rogo and Andrew Dowling, young folks, were preparing to tell the seniors about their startup, a Web site called
that suggested that one of the institution’s foremost traditions might be undergoing some change.
“Cheap Bros Have Found a New Way to Get Out of Paying for Dates,” the headline read.
How else, in modern times, can he experience the atavistic pleasure of returning to his cave fresh from a hunt, happily dragging a woolly-mammoth carcass behind him, if not by buying a pair of movie tickets instead of just one for himself? As I wrote in my piece, the origins of our gendered treating tradition are historical, not genetic—and recent history at that.
The imperative that men pay for women goes back to the start of the twentieth century, when dating was a new method of courtship practiced by members of the urban working class.
Really, though, that’s looking at things through the wrong end of the telescope.