I'm talking about official dates between people who are not together as yet. It seems like it is a financial burden to the asker (usually guys) who is trying to impress someone they like (usually girls) who may not necessarily like them back. I personally prefer to only go on dates when the girl and I are togehter, because in that case we are both trying to make that outing special and trying to put impress each other instead of one person making all the effort wheras the other is there to look pretty or handsome and enjoy a free meal.
Most Helpful Girl
Well, historically the point of dating is to figure each other out, with the understood intent that you're thinking about going out with each other to build a relationship. The guy would traditionally ask the girl out and take the responsibility of the covering the cost of the outing as part of the courtship process. In return, the girl would be attentive in listening/responding to his stories, look and smell good, etc. Women would ultimately reciprocate by inviting the guy to her home for a home-cooked meal (usually with her family present). The guy gets to sample her cooking, see how she keeps house, etc. Back then it was presumed that the guy wouldn't know how to cook and the woman would; that the guy would be able to support her and she would be able to delight him on a number of levels. (Ahem... Keeping this PG-13, okay?)
The crashing waves of emancipation and equal opp protests hit the shoreline and suddenly women started asking men out, blotting out a very old gender-role tradition to cross the gender line at every level.
Today, some women balk when a guy doesn't offer his seat on a bus, train, etc. and leaves her standing, or only opens the door wide enough to step through it himself, without looking back, but this is part and parcel of the decision to eradicate all gender-based stereotypes. Women liked being treated well, but it's confusing (to both guys and girls) to say you want that without offering to treat your date to the occasional dinner. Today it's NOT assumed that women are good homemakers, so it's not clear that guys always have to court a girl with fancy restaurant cooking. Everyone takes short-cuts -- if you don't believe it, just take a look at the debacle of the last Valentine's Day. How may people bought the SMALLEST/CHEAPEST thing they could -- maybe a box of candy from the pharmacy -- to court a person or show that they "cared"?
Dating... well, it's lost it's value. The focus has shifted (deplorably) over the years to refer to any form of "going out" for the purpose of "hooking up" rather than building foundations for a relationship. As such, guys are not always expected to pay, not are girls always expected to get gussied up.2