The true “true cost” of dating

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.

43 thoughts on “The true “true cost” of dating

  1. Agree with you about the time value and opportunity cost.

    The rebuttal to your argument about time spent is that for this beta schmoe, his time probably isn’t worth much!

    1. Actually, I looked up the author of that article. He seemed objectively decent looking. But given he is a writer (I take it) for a living, that’s definitely ‘beta’…

    2. That is a good point! Still, one may hope that his time is worth more than nothing, even though that may not be true. It is also true that beta schmoes seem to even enjoy being used as emotional tampons because they think that getting laid depends on spending a lot of time with women, in addition to divine intervention, presumably.

  2. Really makes you think, if he spent half the amount of time he wastes on dating improving himself he could probably attract women with much less effort. It’s kinda funny too see people try everything but situational improvement and then wondering where they went wrong.

    1. Most people don’t because most types of improving yourself are dominated by minmaxer.

      If this dude invested 1/3 of that effort in the gym, he could get a top 3% physique which would drastically improve the number of lays he gets.

      But he probably (like most people) thinks that to achieve a top 3% physique you need to become an obsessive minmaxing bodybuilder.

      Relevant previous posts by Aaron can be found here:

    2. I can attest that even doing some slight changes on your appearance can improve your odds in a significative way. By just not looking like a bum I enjoyed a more positive feedback from women.
      But there’s a caveat: no matter if you just shave and cut your hair or if you go full GQ, if you’re an unsufferable rude asshole you’ll get rejected. Yes, it happens to me.

    3. But there’s a caveat: no matter if you just shave and cut your hair or if you go full GQ, if you’re an unsufferable rude asshole you’ll get rejected. Yes, it happens to me.

      It’s not really a rejection though. It’s more auto-rejection. What’s the difference?

      Auto-rejection is when a girl pre-emptively rejects you because she thinks you’re rejecting HER. It’s not due to non-interest, it’s due to ego-preservation.

      Like if Brad Pitt walked up to her and said “you’re the ugliest girl on the planet, I wouldn’t bang you even for a billion dollars” and she says “pfft get away from me, you’re a creepy old has-been actor and your movies suck anyway” – that’s not real rejection, it’s auto-rejection.

      So if you’re being “rude” in a way that communicates you’re rejecting her, it can trigger an “auto-rejecting” response from her. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to fuck you.

      In short, it depends on what kind of “ahole” behaviour we’re talking about. Some types of ahole behaviour produce auto-rejection. But none of them make you “less fuckable”.

      It might make you less of a long-term dating prospect with some girls, or trigger auto-rejection. But it doesn’t make you less fuckable.

      If megan fox acts like a bitch you’re less interested in banging her. But you don’t find her any less hot. Make sense?

    4. @Aaron @Alek
      I am quite asocial and rude many times, not only with women, but with people in general. When I meant being an asshole, I wasn’t meaning the way girls use that word (being a smug, overconfident guy).
      That this is wrong? Yeah.

    5. I think the more correct word choice would have been “dickhead” instead of “asshole”. Quite a few girls like assholes. On the other hand, I don’t think many girls like dickheads.

  3. Transport is a non-issue in NYC. If you live in a remote part of Brooklyn, then yes. Other than that, everything is a cheap subway ride away.

    If one can’t get laid in NYC, one has issues

    1. I spent some time in NYC myself. Time yourself from door to door, let’s say your apartment to the bar. That time adds up.

    2. I understand, but you can’t say that’s a significant amount of time more than if you live somewhere else.

    3. Compared to living in the center of a college town, and even in a regular smaller city commuting is a big factor. On the other hand, NYC gives you more choice.

  4. What do you have to say about the investment of time a guy like me makes in getting laid if all I do is go to a club to pickup a girl for what is essentially a pump and dump which may but for the most part may not result in a FWB relationship?

    1. The smart approach is to go to clubs you like because in that case girls are an added bonus. I discuss this in my book Club Game.

    2. Humm, I never thought about it like that. Go to clubs I like and then there is no opportunity cost to going out to picking up girls.

    3. He mentions it in the part where he talks about meeting women in a context /niche or subculture you enjoy. Also gives the story about how he had most of his success by utilizing a scene that he fit into (a specific kind of club scene). And how and why he failed at another kind of club scene (it’s all in the book right there).

      But you really need to re-read both club-game and minimal game a couple of times. It’s not a novel, it’s non-fiction. You’re not going to get it all if you read it as if it were a novel. Read several times, make highlights etc…

      And not everything will be spelled out for you in particular. You have to deduce how this applies to your particular situation using deductive reasoning. He doesn’t spell out every possible scenario and how each concept applies to each (the book would be 1200 pages in that case). So you have to combine reading the books multiple times with reading clarifications on forums and blog. Or alternatively book a consultation to save time.

      Here’s a comment I made about this same thing:

    4. You are right that it is in there. But previously I didn’t remember it being so. Maybe I did and that is where the idea came to my mind.

      Thanks for the long response though. I haven’t really properly read club game but I have read minimal game cover to cover but that was about four years ago.

  5. The reason why guys like him defend this strategy: They like their ego stroked – which is a huge sign how immature they still are. A guy who value’s his time, sets priorities objective and will break down every demand he needs to accomplish his work: Food to stay healthy and lean, sports to keep your body working, sleep, and even sex. Nothing will be neglected.

  6. One thing that does not seem to be brought up was the attitude of the girl. I’ve never been to New York City, but I’ve been to LA and girls there have a bad attitude. Now in other times, I wouldn’t have minded spending money on a date. Even if things didn’t “spark”, at least I would have had a good time with a pleasant young lady. But not today. These girls (and they don’t deserve to be called women. They act like teenagers,) aren’t worth the investment.


    He’s good-looking. He could probably invite girls from Tinder right over to his place and get laid for free. I’m not even half as good looking as him, I live in one of the worst cities in the US for online dating (while NYC is the best) and I’m still able to do that.

    1. He looks like a big fucking idiot posing next to a crappy car or next to some trophy. His ugly oversized glasses aren’t doing him any service either.
      He seems to be tall though, but not in shape.
      As Alek said, he’d be better investing some time into going to the gym.

  8. I have mentioned this elsewhere on the forum, but its worth repeating: its too easy to sink inordinate amounts of time into chatting up girls on tinder who are just attention whoring and never had any intention of meeting up with anyone.

    Push for face to face meeting early and if they wont, drop them.

    1. My opening line on OkCupid is always “Would you like to get a coffee with me?”

      If I don’t get a clear yes, I delete the conversation. If I get a yes I immediately ask for the phone number and set up the date. No phone number, no more replies from me.

    2. I’ve never bothered with online dating. But I love you guys’ approach. It makes perfect sense.

    3. My approach when I had Tinder on my Phone was similar. I used to ask the if she’s DTF in the first massage.

  9. I am in my late 20s and I have never had sex without paying for it. STDs are the only problem I can think of regarding escorts. I never bed streetwalkers and always use condoms, but I tend to fret a bit afterwards (HIV is really the only serious illness these days. From what I have read chances are very slim, but still). On the other hand I know that similar worries, only regarding pregnancy, would occur if I had sex with regular girls.

    I am in Spain and 120 € get you laid for an hour with a hot girl (one that could easily be a porn actress). Mean monthly salaries are ~1200 €, so you get the idea. In all honesty, if she makes some effort it is not even expensive considering what it would take to bed her “for free”.

    Girls play very hard to get here and old-fashioned LTRs are still the standard procedure (I am not in a big capital like Madrid or Barcelona, maybe hooking up is more prevalent there). I am 6 ft. tall, neither fat nor ugly. After this last summer consistently going out every weekend all I could secure was 1 ONS with a 6 -I did not want to pay for a hotel so it did not materialize-. I don’t like the tacky Latin American music bars play and even though I don’t drink I am usually quite unproductive the day after.

    Having a girl that really lusts after you surely beats prostitution, but the problem is how hard it is to get there. Escorts tell me their customer base is getting younger by the day, and it does not surprise me. I was a bit of an unconscious MGTOW in my teenage years, and I certainly slacked when it came to do the effort necessary for sexual relationships, but after finding the manosphere and going out with all these techniques the results are not that great.

    Anyways, this is a great blog. Aaron, I find myself in agreement with much of what you say. I came to know you after reading an old 2013 post on your previous Blogger page about how sex tends to be overrated, particularly by people with little experience. Glad to see that you keep writing four years later. Are you German or do you just happen to speak the language? I ask because I do but German girls seem very hard to deal with, very stern. Cheers!

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

      German girls fully bought into the promises of third-wave feminism, so they can be really tiring to deal with. Also, they are often very uncritical and think people from other countries are below them. This is based on the idea that Germany is one of the richest countries. Yet, they conveniently ignore their personal circumstances. Consequently, a constantly broke arts student could easily think that a high-income earner from Spain or Italy who earns a lot even for German standards is not worthy of her.

    2. Your post is cool but I have two gripes with what you said.

      One, risk of HIV with an escort is no higher than with a random if not, lower. Do your numbers.

      Secondly, when you said “Having a girl that really lusts after you surely beats prostitution” I don’t think that is entirely true either. Just because a bitch lusts after you doesn’t mean she’s even a good person.

      There in lies the problem. Because good persons are rare in women, finding a woman who is good, lusts after you, has a marriage potential is implausible if not impossible.

      There is a book about marriage I had lying somewhere that clearly explains why you shouldn’t even think about it ever.

  10. Last week was a great example of what you’re talking about. I’m in a serious relationship but went out with 3 guys and one girl, and everyone was essentially looking to get laid.

    Night started with meeting at a friend’s place at 7.30pm on Saturday. Ordered dinner and had drinks, and then left for a lounge. Ordered two bottles there.

    I eventually left with my gf at 1, but these people were there till 3.30 or so.

    Total time spent : 8 hours. Direct monetary cost including taxis : about 140 dollars per person. Only one out of the 4 managed to get laid.

    Overall, it was such a shitty deal. Even the next day after such a night is partly spent recovering. Even you manage to get an average fuck once every 2 such times, the true cost is insane.

    1. Just out of curiosity, where did you meet your SO? I have pretty much always thought that going out is the way to look for a partner, but at the same time I don’t enjoy the venues so I have come to the conclusion that it is self-defeating for me.

      On the other hand, the whole “daygame” thing of cold approaching in the street seems too hard. Kudos to those who can pull it off, but I just can’t.

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