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"How Much Does a Date Cost?" (1959)

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Helmut F. also spends around 80 DM per month on his girlfriend. However, from that he can deduct a 5 DM can of tobacco that his girlfriend gives him at the end of every month.

Dieter R., 20, a musician from Mainz, has a fixed budget every month: 50 DM. From that he pays for ten, or, in less favorable cases, seven dates. (Once the budget covered only a single date – but Dieter doesn’t talk about that).

“In the long run a steady girlfriend is cheapest.” – Nearly all the young men we polled had that experience. Of course, no girlfriend at all was (financially) even better. On the other hand: switching girlfriends frequently was a pleasant but expensive diversion. One man spoke of an “investment phase” that had to be overcome with every new girlfriend. “In the beginning, every girl costs money, you have to impress her, after all.”

Girls who pay

There is disagreement, however, on whether girls should pay for themselves later on. Hans P. from Hamburg is horrified: “Out of the question, of course I will pay.” Nearly three-quarters of those polled, though, said that they would have no problem if girls wished to contribute to the expenses in an appropriate way. Elmar W., however, reported the following: “Here in Munich the praiseworthy custom has established itself that girls pay for themselves. Twen should recommend this as worthy of emulation.” In fact, many girls pay for themselves. Especially when they have already been together with their boyfriends for a long time. “For cultural events – and that includes theater, circus, art exhibits, and ice shows – she buys the tickets,” reports Ingo N. Werner N. says: “My real girlfriend costs me 60 DM a month, my other girlfriend about half – she pays for herself.” One man appreciates the fact that his girlfriend contributes to the cost of gas for the scooter (3 Pfennigs per kilometer); another likes that his girlfriend brings butter sandwiches along; and one student is grateful that his girlfriend cooks him lunch twice a week (“Otherwise you don’t eat properly, she always says to me.”).

“The disadvantage of a steady girlfriend: you have to give her presents,” notes Ernst B. About one in three of those surveyed at least gave his girlfriend something on her birthday and at Christmas. Ten to twenty Marks are invested in a birthday present (records, books, “something for her room”), between 10 and 50 Marks for a Christmas present (jewelry, clothes, books). In addition, Hermann C. buys flowers for 2.50 DM every two weeks, though in the winter, when the flowers are more expense, only every three or four weeks. “A girl is naturally always an expensive affair,” maintains Frank J., ”but if you are a little bit clever, it need not be too expensive.” He goes on a lot of walks – “Still the best way to entertain a girl.” Dirk T. often invites his girlffriend home – “there is less interruption and it’s cheaper: my parents have a beer cellar.” Jan Z. and Bruno D. always go out together with their girlfriends – they share the gas costs for Jan’s car, and at the dance club they can then order one bottle of wine for four people.”

Still, many believed that girls were actually much more expensive than they seemed at first glance. If they had no girlfriend, they would go out less readily and less frequently, and probably also to simpler restaurants. “In addition to the direct expenses, one must not forget the ‘indirect costs,’” noted Friedrich L. And he lists: “A new tie (4.50 DM), a white handkerchief (1.20 DM), a wet shave (1.50 DM).” Peter S. speaks of certain special expenses next to his “fixed costs.” For example: “3.50 DM for flowers for his girlfriend’s mother on Mother’s Day.” But Ludwig M. from Stuttgart stated: “If she is nice and looks good, I don’t care what she costs me.” And Jürgen C., now twenty-three, recalls: “I have already spent a lot of money on girls in my life, but I regret nothing!”

Source: Klaus Bresser, “How Much Does a Date Cost?” [“Was kostet ein Rendezvous?”], Twen, August 1959, pp. 2-22.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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