For the purposes of this article, we will assume that the final, symbolic action that completes a man’s fall into love is marriage. Obviously, this isn’t universally true, but it provides a framework to ground the analysis in.
Dr. Drew, the ultimate guide to all things romantic says it takes about 6 months to get to know somebody well enough to consider marriage. A more popular figure, though, is somewhere between 9 and 12 months. We’ll err on the conservative side and choose 12 months since men are staying wily younger these days. If you expect a longer courtship, expect a longer bill statement from the love doctor.
*Note: this article takes the highly-hegemonic and wildly sexist stance that a man pays for everything because it is also a highly-awesome and wildly-cool stance to take. Or we’re traditional. Whichever gets us less hate mail.
Commuting Cost (highly variable) $750
Depending on if/to what degree you’re in a long distance relationship, this cost could be negligible or staggering. For argument’s sake, though, let’s say you’re an average dude dating an average girl that is accessible by car. An average dude spends in the neighborhood of $1,500 on gas each year. And an average boyfriends spends 3 or 4 days/nights with his girlfriend which means that about half of the driving he’s doing (assuming an equal distribution of mileage across the week) is two or from his girlfriend. That makes your gas bill $750. We’ll ignore insurance and maintenance costs as they’ll likely change very little.
Let’s say this is a pretty average dating lineup: One movie rental a week ($10), one bar a week ($50), one theater/event attendance ($30). That relatively modest dating schedule is going to cost you $4,680 over your year-long courtship, and let’s throw in another $500 for large concerts and similar, big-ticket events to make the grand total $5180.
Non Fancy Dinners $2,500
In and Out Burger, Wendy’s, your particular version of the hot dog, these are all delicacies that you might not otherwise enjoy if you weren’t in the fair company of a sweetly-scented daughter of Eve. Hot Pockets got you this far, and if it weren’t for her, there’s no reason they wouldn’t continue to fuel you at both work and play, right? Though relatively modest, eating out and eating better is going to cost approximately 50% more than eating on the cheap. Let’s say you spend $100 a week on groceries, that means another $50 a week for a total of $2,500 more dollars per year.
Home Improvement $750
If you’re anything like the Made Man editorial staff (for your sake, we hope you are. We’re super cool) your bachelor pad is more bachelor than it is pad. If you’ve got a steady lady, it’s only so long before your broken futon will no longer suffice.
New couches, unclogged drains, cleaning supplies and an ironing board – there’s many faces the guy-with-a-girlfriend pad can wear, but if you get the new furniture off Craigslist and are judicious with your other purchases, you should be able to pull it in at $500, but don’t be surprised if it’s closer to $1,000.
Fancy Dinners $3,000
One uber-fancy dinner a month is not a bad idea to keep your kitten purring. We’re talking about one you can’t wear your bottle opener flip flips too (lame, but true). Don’t be a cheapskate, this is gonna cost you $250 a pop for a total of
Before you hitch your wagon to a beautiful bride, you’re both probably going to be taking your respective wagons on vacation somewhere together. Unless you are a particularly adventuresome couple, this will likely mean you’re going to a romance destination of some kind. Catalina, Hawaii, the Hooters Hotel – that sort of thing.
It’s going to be at least a weekend, but if it’s a little longer that doesn’t affect the cost much since the largest percent of it is taken up in travel, not hotels. So, let’s say there are 2, $600 plane tickets, $500 for hotels, and an additional $200 because food is more expensive wherever you go than it is in your kitchen. $100 for souveniers/entertainment, and you’re looking at $2,000 which, if you’re planning on leaving your corner of the country, is pretty conservative.
You’ve got to pay the piper. And, in this example, your paramour’s dad is a musician. A piper, in fact. And it’s going to cost you some cash to impress him and the rest of the family. Surely they don’t want to send their daughter off with a dubious ruffian who can barely pay his electric bill. And, unfortunately, pipers are rarely impressed with Microsoft experience points (which is seriously ridiculous of pipers).
You’ll likely have to drive or fly to whatever part of the country they live in. Let’s conservatively estimate that this will cost you $500. Once there, you’ll have to offer to pay for dinners, get a hotel room, and indulge in any incidentals (golf, movies, etc.) proposed by the parents. Let’s put another $500 in for all of that.
The Rings $10,750
If you’re around the age of marriage (on average 28) and you’re a male with a college degree (like most of our readers), the government thinks you make about $43,000. Although, that is technically at the age of 25 in 2004, so it’s probably going to be more than that. But we’ll cut you some slack on this one. Now, the love of your life thinks that you should probably spend 3 months of that annual salary on her rings. That makes $10,750 the magic number for you, friend. But, to be honest, we suggest spending a little more on something a lot cooler.
In 2007, before we spiraled into a romance-slaying economic recession, the average cost of a wedding in America was $27,500. Thankfully (kinda), the economy has begun to bleed the writhing hydra that is the Big White Wedding and the current average cost for a wedding hovers around $20,000. Of course, this can differ wildly, but you can expect to pay somewhere in that ballpark. Just keep your fingers crossed for traditional, rich-ass parents.
Being in love: Priceless $45,930