Apparently the recession has been good for dating, and in particular, internet dating. Single people are motivated these days to find a partner with whom to share the misery, and online dating is cheaper than bar-hopping and ordering drinks. It costs about $35 to join match.com for a month, while Jdate and eharmony are even pricier. But free dating sites have proliferated, including speeddate.com, plentyoffish.com, loveawake.com, and connectingsingles.com. Beware of sites that claim to be free and allow you to browse, but demand membership fees the minute you want to email someone. The best bet is to sign on with a site that doesn't ask for your credit card information.
If you meet someone online and decide to go out, stick with coffee or a drink for the first date. It's cheaper and it spares you from spending a protracted evening with a miserable date. At our recent reading, one woman commented that she always winds up going dutch on dates, particularly because she always asks the guy if he'd like her to pay! But the other women who attended -- ranging in age from 26 to 60 -- unanimously agreed that they expect the guy to pay for the first few dates and that he does. We agree, recession or not!