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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Men with Money

For years, my mother has offered me dating advice, so I was happy to learn business magazine Forbes and their Web site, www.forbes.com, contributed vital information to my Evansville dating life when they announced our city as the 19th most expensive city for a first date in a February article aptly titled “Most Expensive Cities for a First Date.”

With dating-insight-enriching Forbes, I immersed myself in their story in which they dedicated two solid paragraphs to Evansville, citing facts like how far we are from Indianapolis (181 miles) and who won the Super Bowl this year (the Indianapolis Colts, who are also 181 miles from Evansville).
Besides a chance to learn about Indianapolis, what does this ranking mean for Evansville? To answer the question, we must first consider how Evansville made the list.

Forbes ranked more than 200 cities (minimum population: 100,000) in the continental United States, referencing the Council for Community and Economic Research in Arlington, Va. Then, they computed some first-date fundamentals in each city: alcohol (a 1.5 liter bottle of Livingston Cellars), food (a Pizza Hut pizza), entertainment (a movie ticket), grooming (a barbershop visit), suiting up (a dry-cleaning bill), and transportation (a gallon of gasoline). Each part of the date was weighted equally, and the magazine quips, “call us old-fashioned,” but the man pays. According to this logic, women don’t pay for the beauty salon, makeup, or dresses.

Some factors, like inexpensive wine and a family-oriented chain pizza restaurant, no matter how good, aren’t expenses that lavish a first date; Forbes factored these elements to keep the data uniform, not to create the perfect first date, a fact I ignored when I copied the Forbes first-date formula.

During my re-enactment, I greeted my date with a bottle of Livingston Cellars ($5.93) and a nice haircut ($18) and asked, “What do you think of my sports coat?” Pearl Laundry & Cleaners, she thought, did a fantastic job ($5.70). When she inquired at which restaurant we would be dining, I asked her for the nearest Pizza Hut. We made a 15-minute trek to the Washington Avenue Pizza Hut to discover it was a primarily take-out establishment. My date and I, in our best dry cleaning, slouched over the pizza box as a substitute for plates ($15.07). I lost any chance for a successful date, and this was confirmed when my date whipped out her cell phone during the movie ($17) in an effort to inform anyone and everyone in her address book what a miserable time she was having.

What, then, does Evansville’s ranking in Forbes’ “Most Expensive Cities for a First Date” mean for us?

Nothing. The Forbes list doesn’t know what it’s actually like to have a first date in Evansville. National magazines haven’t experienced the intimacy of local restaurants like the Knob Hill Tavern in Newburgh. They don’t know that Knob Hill co-owner Dan Kollker can’t even guess how many successful first dates he’s seen by the cozy fireplace at his 64-year-old Newburgh tavern. They don’t realize how easy conversation flows when surrounded by a circa-1915 ballpark, watching Evansville’s own baseball team on a hot summer’s evening. They don’t know that the price of a first date doesn’t matter as long as both people make a connection.

Still, it’d be nice not to pay so much.

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