*THE HOTEL ROOM
It’s deeply embedded in a man’s genes to be “the protector”—for centuries men have been the ones building the roofs, and eventually paying for them. Something just doesn’t sit right with a man about his girlfriend paying for the accommodations. It’s his job to make sure you have a comfortable place to sleep. If you’re traveling together, pick up the meals or activities, but leave the hotel to him.
He does not want gas money from you. There’s something about driving a woman around that makes a man feel on top of the world…and there’s something about her trying to hand him a wad of cash at the gas station that makes him feel at the bottom of it. Pay for the snacks inside the gas station, but let him handle the actual mode of transportation. If you really want to pay for gas, then just offer to take your car in the first place.
*A ROUND FOR HIM AND HIS BUDDIES
If you’re out with your guy and a group of his friends, and your guy orders a round of drinks, don’t throw down your credit card the second the bill gets there, or secretly slip it to the bartender when your guy isn’t looking. He was trying to be “the man” by getting those for his friends, and you just stepped on his toes. And made his friends wonder if he’s broke.
*DINNER ON A DOUBLE DATE
When there is another man there to impress, forget about it—keep your hands off your purse. Your man will feel humiliated if the other boyfriend on a double date throws down his credit card, and you pick up the tab for your half of the table. Let the men split it, and take your guy to lunch the next day.
*DINNER WITH YOUR PARENTS
Your guy wants to make a kind gesture and invite your parents out to dinner. He lets them pick the spot because, well, they’re more “elderly” and have tighter specifications on where they’re comfortable eating. But, they pick a pricy place and you know your guy is on a budget. The last thing your guy wants is to appear incapable of taking care of your parent’s daughter. It will be painful, but let him pick up this big tab and just pick up the expenses for the rest of the week to make things easier on him.
*DINNER WITH HIS PARENTS
Unfortunately, you just don’t get to role reverse when it comes to meals with the parents. Your guy can and should pay for dinner out with your parents, but you should not be pulling out your credit card when you’re out with his parents. It will make everyone uncomfortable at the table—that’s two generations of men in the same family who you’re implying can’t afford dinner! Graciously thank whoever does pay, and bring them a nice house gift next time you see them.
*ANY COST HE HAS TO WALK AWAY FROM
Any time your guy is about to order/purchase something then once he hears the price has to say, “Oh, never mind…” and hang up the phone or walk away from the cash register, do not swoop in and say, “I got this.” This makes your guy feel like you’re his sugar mamma. Guys want to be able to fund their own lives—let him make do with what he has.
*THE TUX FOR YOUR PLUS-ONE EVENT
You get invited to a wedding and are allowed a plus-one. Obviously you invite your guy, but because you know he’s tight on money and needs a tux, you surprise him by renting/buying one for him. NO! This makes him feel like he’s a responsibility to bring along, instead of a pleasure. Let him work it out—he can borrow a tux from a friend, or find a cheap rental place. But you’re not his mommy; don’t dress him.
*THE HOUSEWARMING GIFT FOR HIS FRIEND
If one of your guy’s friends has a house party, leave it up to your guy to get him a gift. You might want to remind him to (since men don’t think about that as often as women do) but don’t just go behind his back and get one. He’ll feel awkward handing it over to his friend, pretending it was his idea.
*THE BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR HIS BOSS
This might be worse than secretly picking up a gift for the friend! Your boyfriend’s boss is someone he really wants to impress. He gives himself a pat on the back for getting a thoughtful gift for his superior. This is a man-to-man event: (unless the boss is a woman, in which case at least give your guy some tips) let him handle it.
*THE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM HE’S BEEN SAVING UP FOR
Or really anything your guy has been saving up for. Guys derive a lot of pleasure from working towards something, so if your guy comes home to find that giant plasma TV that he’s saved half the money for, wrapped in a big red bow and sitting in his living room, the wind will be knocked out of his sails.
Couple’s massage, a romantic couple’s themed night at a restaurant, a couple’s moonlight cruise…really anything with the word “couples” in it just because, well, men find these pretty cheesy.