It is one of the known wonders of the Western world that you don't have to be rich or good looking to get married. To all my single friends who are lamenting their fate, please, look around, and you will see that plenty of average people have hooked up and produced kids. In fact there is probably MORE likely hood of two average people finding each other and staying together than either two rich or two beautiful people staying together. Many rich men like trophy wives. As they have greater ability to attract new and younger mates, their relationships can be fragile. Especially if their partner came into the relationship with looks and no money, if no intimacy was established, the old "trade in the 40 year old for a pair of twenty somethings" is common. In this day and age, even socially acceptable.

As far as "good looking" no one can blame a man for being visual. It appears to be hardwired into their biology. To that end, I can hardly understand women who don't do what is within their power to look nice for their mate. How is that any different than any other behavior we do for someone we care about? Do you cook food he likes? Would you music he listens to? The idea that "Fat is a Feminist Issue" is a little convoluted. Actually Fat is a health issue. If you are overweight and your spouse accepts that, that still doesn't make the situation optimal. If it is within your power to look better and be healthy, it's good for you too, to make the most of what God gave you.

Now that it is socially acceptable to get divorced, no one will disagree that it has become much more prevalent. As we continue in the recession, budgets are tight. What would be an inexpensive date? Some of my friends think going to the local bar and seeing who's there as the epitome of the cheap date. It's ok, but it runs the risk of bringing home someone you wouldn't even want if you weren't drunk. And what about date two? Here are some ideas.

To start with, let me say, I think if you are a man the amount of money you spend on a woman should increase with proportion to how well you know her. If you pull out all the stops on date one, taking her to the best restaurant in town, you may impress her. However she will be impressed with your money, not you. And is that what you want? As the woman in question, is still a relative stranger at that point, the message you are creating is: This is How I Spend Money Regularly, i.e. This is what I would do for Anyone. If you wait until you know the person better, and spend big bucks on the fancy restaurant, the message is subtly different. You are saying instead: This is How I Spend Money on Loved Ones, This is How I Treat YOU, Personally.

So the original cheap date would be getting a cup of coffee together. Go to a Starbucks or a Peet's. The coffee is better and no one will kick you out if you spend too long chatting. What if you don't have much to say? If you live in a city, see if you can find a coffee shop that has events. For example, when I was in college, the Ce Pasta Restaurant in Honolulu had poetry readings once a month. On Hollywood Boulevard I found the Sabor y Cultura Café has mixed media readings and music on the first and third Saturday of each month. If nothing else, the event will give you something to talk about on the ride home!

If you are a woman, no matter how old fashioned this sounds, inviting a guy over for a home cooked meal is a nice cheap date. Once again there is a meta message here. You are showing off some skills. Everyone likes someone who is handy in the kitchen. A few years of marriage, no matter how hot looking you are, the effect will wear off. But if you have some culinary skills, they will stand you in good stead. I am not trying to be sexist when I suggest this to women only. Frankly, I think if you are a man and you can cook, you will probably score more points. The thing is, some women are uncomfortable meeting a man they don't know very well at his apartment. So unless you are planning a barbeque and inviting other people, I wouldn't recommend it first date out.

Some other cheap dates I would recommend are doing things you like to do anyway. That way you can see if the other person would even fit into your lifestyle. For example if you are really into sports, invite the person to a sports bar to watch an event. College basketball or football can be cheaper than pro sports, although even an afternoon at Dodger Stadium is not as expensive as the opera. I remember when I met my first husband he asked me what I liked to do, and I said "ride horses." He arranged for a very impressive and expensive first date with two rented horses and a private trail ride through Lockwood Valley for nearly two hours. I thought that was awesome, except it was completely contrary to his nature. He didn't like horses and we never did it again. Once again, I think if he had started out with inexpensive dates, decided he liked me, and worked himself up to gifting with me that sometime after we were married, we'd probably still BE married. Instead he went into overwhelm mode almost immediately, hustling me to the altar whilst I was still starry eyed and impressed. Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

One caveat: if you are a woman and what you like to do is really girly, like yoga class, maybe you should pick something else as the "cheap date." A one time meditation seminar is more likely to interest a man who is infatuated with you, than an aerobics class at the gym. If it's a co-ed gym with weight machines for the guys, it's a more likely cheap date. Who doesn't like to check out their nearest and dearest, all sweaty and hot?