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Tammy Swift and John Lamb, Published November 06 2011

He Said/She Said: Are we still playing by ‘The Rules’?

Tammy: So, John Lamb, you’re a man.

John: What gave it away? Am I scratching myself again?

Tammy: That, and the pyramid of beer cans on your desk. Seriously, I keep talking to my younger women friends about their love lives, and I just don’t understand dating anymore. Granted, when Irwin and I were dating, he would drag me by my hair to the nearest Cave-ic Center so we could watch the diplodocus derby …

John: And I thought you were just dressed like the Flintstones for Halloween. My bad.

Tammy: Well, I’m starting to realize that my dating rituals really were prehistoric. For instance, a young woman recently told me that it was the status quo to “go Dutch” on dates.

So what have you found in your exciting tales of dashing bachelorhood? Does each party pay their own way? And if so, what’s the logic behind it?

John: Whoah, slow down with all the questions there, police woman.

Tammy: I’m not kidding, Soupy Sales. Make yourself useful. Share some guy-ledge with me.

John: Sigh … this feels like talking to my mom. OK, what do you want to know?

Tammy: After this, I will ask you where you were last night, if you have any pants that need ironing, and if you remembered Aunt Muriel’s birthday card. So here’s my 20th question: Do you usually split the tab on a first date? If so, why?

John: I hate to be so open-minded on you, but it really does depend. If it were just getting a coffee to meet someone, I may offer to pay, but I think each could get their own. If I asked someone out to dinner or a movie or a monster truck show, I would pay. Likewise, if someone asked me out, I think it would be appropriate for them to offer to pick up the tab. No one brings me to monster truck shows anymore. When was the last time you took your husband out?

Tammy: Define “out.” Does that include trips to TSC to pick out a weedwacker? Really, after 10 years, we’re happy to dine in, so we can watch TV while eating and don’t have to come up with witty banter. I’m usually the last one home, so I usually pick up the Chinese food, or whatever, and pay. Isn’t it romantic?

John: Only if you have matching “his” and “hers” weedwackers.

Tammy: Just wait. Someday you’ll be married and you’ll understand.

You mentioned women asking you out. When I was single, there was this book called “The Rules,” and it basically said you should never ask a man out. In fact, you should only consent to a date if he hired a skywriter to ask you on a date and gave you a year’s notice to fit it into your supposedly crammed social calendar. This book was really idiotic, but that’s the kind of advice they doled out to women in the ’90s. So I’m assuming it’s now not only OK, but almost expected, for women to ask out men? And what do you think when a woman asks you out?

John: I think if a woman wants to get to know someone, absolutely she should ask that person out. I also think, “Great! Someone else is picking up the tab!” But if the first date is going to look at weedwackers, I’m not waiting around for dessert.

When they aren’t sniping at each other or producing other stuff for The Forum, co-workers Tammy Swift and John Lamb write an occasional “He Said/She Said” column.