Picture this: you’re on a first date. You select a nice restaurant to take your date for dinner. That place is The Cheesecake Factory, a moderately priced restaurant known for its tasty selection of cheesecakes. The restaurant is not upscale or exclusive but can be pricey. Upon arriving, feeling good about yourself and the first impression you’re about to make, you exit the car to let your first date out at the door. Once you reach the passenger side of the car, you are startled to realize that your date has refused to exit the vehicle. Your intended first date goes on to arrogantly inform you that they do not go on cheap dates. The Cheesecake Factory is a chain restaurant. They refuse to get out of the car. What would you do in such a situation?

A viral video that circulated on social media last week sparked a wave of controversial “lists” of unsuitable first date options for Black women. The Cheesecake Factory was No. 1, but there were other shocking items that really boiled down to an interesting study in what some Black women desire as a proper first date. On the list of places that you should not take a first date: a coffee or ice cream spot, the movies, Applebee’s, Chili’s, bowling, a sporting event, Netflix and chill or anything at someone’s private residence, Red Lobster, Waffle House, buffets, nightclubs, the gym, family events, Chipotle, Red Lobster, and by the way, throw in all chain restaurants. This “list” caused a social media firestorm because it was a snapshot of what some women in their generation believe are satisfactory places to go on a first date, or any date.

What is wrong with these first date selections outside of being entertained at someone’s private residence? The appearance of wealth. The list contains viable and acceptable options for any size wallet. When you think of a first date, the general idea is to get a sense of who the individual is and whether they are suitable for a second date and the beginnings of a potential romantic relationship. Where the problem becomes apparent is that the above options for a first date are easy on the bank account, and some women feel that a cheap date is the total sum of the person asking for the date.

Is there anything wrong, however, with what some assume is “a cheap date?” If the intentions are to snag a big fish, a “baller shot caller” or a boss, then pulling up to the neighborhood Red Lobster does not scream wealth and prosperity on the initial glance. It screams for some women a potential struggle relationship.

What is a “struggle relationship?” A relationship in which one or both partners are living from paycheck to paycheck and not able to make ends meet, and the primary earner is usually the woman, who carries the bulk of the financial burden in the partnership. Women who want to avoid struggle relationships use these types of lists to grade an individual who is requesting a date.

This borders on to something that the late social media relationship guru Kevin Samuels touched on regarding women and dating … the search for a high valued man – a man who has a six-figure income and above. Most women on the dating circuit, according to Samuels, are seeking such a man.

Is there anything wrong with partnering with a high value man? Not hardly. Statistics reveal that Black women are the most college educated group in the United States. Did you know that Black women “hold a large lead over Black men in almost every facet of higher education?” The Journal of Blacks in higher Education reported that “Black women account for 63.6 percent of all African American enrollments.” What does this mean? A higher education can come with the possibility of a substantial bump in yearly financial income and a better overall lifestyle. With Black women in the position to sustain themselves and enjoy the accruements and benefits of a higher salary, some want to partner with men who can complement or exceed them financially. But is the above reference an excuse for why coffee at Starbucks is not an acceptable first date?

It would be wise to note that social media is a microcosm of what some people think and/or believe. Not all people. But it is not uncommon to hear conversations about cheap dates. Let’s face it, women love to be wined and dined. The chase for romantic affections is not something new. Perhaps the first man, Adam, brought Eve a bushel of roses, sunflowers, lilacs and exotic island fruits on their first date after his rib healed.

The issue that many have skipped over is that it is not about the priciness or how upscale a potential date is. What is important are the intentions and the first impressions made. A first date is just that … a first date. The first date can lead to subsequent ones. Or it could be the only date. Yes, first impressions are important. But the impression that makes the most indelible mark is one’s personality, character, and how they treat the people surrounding them. That is what the focus should be, not whether the individual can afford to spend a few hundred to a thousand dollars on a first date. If that is the gentleman’s/or gentlewoman’s preference and they want to splurge that amount on a first date, that should be at their discretion and not the demands of the person being asked out.

The Cheesecake Factory, a coffee or ice cream date, or even a stroll at the local museum, are great first date ideas. No, these are not fancy or expensive date choices, but if romance is the name of the game, the ice cream date is a winner.