I recently came across an article by one Andy Verderosa with the title, One Man’s Quest to Calculate his Lifetime Average Cost-per-Date. The article itself is not very interesting, but there is one obvious consideration the author does not take into account, which I am going to elaborate on.
First, here is the key part of his article:
I’ve been single for about 30 months. It’s reasonable to say, on average, I’ve gone on two or three dates a month. Because this is a math problem and not an actual date, we can say 2.5 dates a month. That puts me at 75 dates — most of which, for the record, were repeat dates.
In the end, he calculates that he spends $56 per date, and he even, in true beta manner, tries justifying the cost:
If a date is going well, you’re going to end up spending more just because it’s less likely to end soon. On the flip side, even a cheap, bad date costs your time. I’ve been on plenty of $35 dates for which I want a refund.
It’s almost as if he’s bragging because a date is going well if he spends a lot of money, and if you get away with less, you’re probably on a shitty date. That is one way of reading that part of his article, and it agrees with Millennial maths.
What I find so baffling is that one very important aspect sits right on his nose, but he completely ignores it: time. He agrees that a bad date costs him time, but what is the cost of a supposedly good date? Let’s say he is doing a lot better than he most likely does: if he gets laid once every two dates, then he spends on average $56 x 2 = $118, but as our little beta Milliennial player suggests, good dates take longer and cost more, we’ll just say that a good date in his book leads to a cost of $75, including the cost of condoms, which he also points out in his article. So, he’s spending $150 to get laid once.
Unfortunately, we have not yet put a monetary value on the time he spends. Let us be as thorough on that front than he is with all the expenses he lists, so we’ll add two hours of intermittent swiping on Tinder, four hours of lost productivity because every quick Tinder session breaks his concentration, and of course the time he spends getting dressed, travelling to the meeting location, hanging out with some woman, and finally, and that is by far the shortest part, having sex with her. The author lives in NYC, so transport is an issue. I’d say it’s safe to say that one date costs him 4 hours just on date night. He needs two dates to get laid, so that’s 8 hours and on top we add the time it takes to set up the date. Heck, he may even need to talk to the girl on the phone or message her incessantly to keep her from flaking. Let’s simplify it and just arrive at 10 hours per two dates.
In total, his expenditure is thus $150 plus 10 hours of his spare time, which he thinks are worth nothing. Yet, those hours are taken out of his limited spare time, so their value is not inconsiderate. I’d say a very enjoyable hour of your spare time is worth at least $20, and likely more. Just ask yourself: how much money would you like to get paid in order to give up one hour of your spare time. In my case, it is a lot more than $20.
So, little Andy ends up with a cost of $150 + $20 * 10 = $350 to get laid once. Looking at this result, I’d say it is very difficult to justify not paying an escort. You may spend a few hundred bucks, but you don’t have to spend ten hours of your time. Thus, even an expensive escort, say in the $500+ range, can easily be justified. Dating random chicks, on the other hand, strikes me as a rather uneconomical alternative.
You may now say that my approach is too cold or calculating, but I can easily turn this around: he’s the one throwing around numbers. Also, he’s been single for two-and-a-half years, so what did he get in the end for his money? It’s really not a lot. In his case, just the money he spent amounts to a few thousand bucks. He’s still single and had been for over two years, so he didn’t manage to make some girl his girlfriend. It’s just money and time down the drain for him then.