QUESTION:  I have been out of the dating game for awhile, and now I am wondering what the etiquette for paying on dates is now.  Is it okay for a woman to offer or is it the man's responsibility?

HE SAID:  Etiquette has not changed.  It is okay for a woman to "offer" to pay for a date; however, if a guy is interested enough to ask a woman out (and is any sort of a gentleman), he better fork up and pay for the date.  If he doesn't, and expects the woman to, you can guess where I stand when he calls for a second date (and guys should call; no texting for dates!).

I understand it is a difficult time financially for many people, but this makes it a perfect opportunity for a guy to show off some creativity, uniqueness and individuality.  Anyone can take someone to dinner and a movie, but it takes time and imagination to plan something special for a date.

A guy needs to take the lead in treating a woman in a way that is honoring to her and to God.

SHE SAID:  In my opinion (and it may be old-fashioned, but so be it), if a man asks me out then with that comes the responsibility of keeping me in his care for the entire evening.  And that includes seeing to it that the bill is paid.  I am offering my company for a date, so this is the least he can do.  I know it sounds arrogant and perhaps elitist (and I'll probably get some "hate" feedback as a result), but the woman is the gift.  Okay?  YOU are the prize that is being sought (and "bought," if you will, in this scenario).  Your time and your attention are valuable.  And you are worth it (and I don't mean that you should act conceited or have a sense of entitlement; just remember who you are and whose you are—Genesis 1:27; 1 Peter 2:9-10).  So sparkle and shine!  Be a good date, engage in light conversation, ask good getting-to-know-you questions of your suitor, be polite and enjoy being treated like a natural woman (I think I can almost hear Aretha chiming in right about now).  Seriously, just be yourself and bloom in the moment.  A man wants to feel like he is taking care of a woman and (I believe) it boosts his confidence and his ego when he pays for your way (a meal, a ticket, etc.).  As in "I did that!" and "This woman is my date … unbelievable … yahoo!!!!"

QUESTION:  Is it appropriate for a woman to decline a date if she knows she is not ready or willing to pursue an emotional relationship with the man in question?

HE SAID:  Yes and please do.  Don't ever feel as if you have to say "yes" to a guy when you are not ready emotionally to date, not willing to pursue a relationship or not interested in him.  Most guys would probably welcome your (honest) sentiment at that point rather than many weeks or months down the road after he has invested his heart. 

There is nothing noble or "Christian-like" going out (or being in a relationship) when you don't want to.  It does neither person any good when one's heart isn't into it.  We witness so many relationships fail when both parties really want it, let alone those based upon "convenience" or "not wanting to hurt the other person."

Sharing your feelings now will help you to communicate better within a relationship when you are ready.

SHE SAID:  Yes, of course it is—just as it is appropriate to decline a job offer if she knows she is not ready (for whatever reason) to take the job in question.  Why would you do something that you know you are not ready (or equipped) to do?  Why not acknowledge your true feelings?  If you are not interested, you are not interested.  Period.  Why apologize or feel badly about that?  We were all created differently, and (correct me if I'm wrong) we were not all created to be attracted to each-and-every eligible person of the opposite sex who crosses our paths and asks us out.  God is bigger than you saying "thanks but no thanks" to this man in question.  There are other fish in the sea, and the man will get over it.  You have set him free to find the right person for him.  Believe me, I have heard it time and again from many men.  They would rather know up front if you're not interested, then have you accept and string them along on date after date just because you don't want to hurt their feelings.  Be honest and be kind.  That's all you can do.  The rest is in God's hands (Colossians 3:12).