Wanda and Wayne aren't the only ones philosophizing on the logic of love these days. The mailman has been very busy lately delivering letters and reader responses to our columnists. As a reminder, if you want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom on your love life or other relationships, give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readers had plenty to say about the column, "After four dates, he is ready to bail because she won't pay," originally published May 10.
Here's a roundup of some:
"You two missed the mark entirely. ... It isn't about who pays, but who asks!! Did he ask her out on a date? Did she ask him? The one asking, pays. And if he wants to get to know her better, he doesn't have to go high priced. A movie and a walk is a date. You make it all so complicated. It's simple common sense."
"Stop asking her out and see if she pursues you. If she asks you out, maybe she will pay. And anyway, whatever happened to ... male provider pride?"
"Your bigger problem is you guys already have bad communication. The common sense thing would be discuss the issue with her. If you can't even do that, there's no hope. ... Also, she's a lawyer - watch your back. ... Or maybe she's just looking for a free meal. "
"She may be daddy's little princess and is just used to being paid for. She may be heavily in debt from law school and barely getting by."
"Too many women believe they are entitled, during dating, marriage and divorce. Why hasn't she offered to take you to dinner?"
"Lots of men act this way too -- entitled, spoiled, etc."
"Hey cheapskate, it's a man's responsibility to pick up the tab for the first few dates. Women like to be treated like women, and my rule is, after three dates, I will do something nice for the man, like cooking him a delicious homemade dinner, baking for him, etc ..."
"If you can't pay for a date, don't ask her out. Also if you were really romantically attracted to your date, money would not come to your mind."
"If you ask someone out, you pay. Or up front, suggest going dutch."
We were initially surprised to receive so much frenzied feedback on a topic that seemed fairly innocuous compared to most of the dating dramas we respond to. But really, as I noted in my response last month, this situation boiled down to two of the biggest relationship bear traps --money and communication -- and our readers are certainly passionate about voicing their opinion on both.
Ultimately, dating is an investment of time, energy, emotion and, yes, money. If you aren't willing to drop portions of each into dating and winning someone over, you probably aren't going to get a very good rate of return.
Wayne is right: Dating is an investment. A theme that emerged repeatedly in readers' responses is that the person who asks should pay. I agree! The one doing the pursuing should also be the one investing. It isn't until the settled-down relationship phase when going Dutch becomes the unspoken rule.
However, you should still offer to chip in. It's a gracious gesture whether accepted or not. The idea that the "man pays" and the "male provides" are dated conventions in today's dating scene, stemming from a time when men generally made more money, fewer women worked, and it wasn't even acceptable for women to make the first move. Times are a'changing. It remains polite to foot the bill if you float the initial invitation, but an offer to share in the costs is classy and endearing.
• Wanda is a wise woman who has loved, lusted and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at email@example.com.