Last week I went to Worlds of Fun (Kansas City's major amusement park, similar to a Six Flags but a bit smaller) with seven people aged 17-19 (I am 26). All four of the girls (including the one) have interest in me to varying extents, and in three of four cases, it's returned. The point is not to boast pseudonymously online, but to show that the stakes are high enough to think seriously about the perception I am creating in their eyes.
The titular question refers to my spontaneous offer and then insistence at the gate of paying everyone's way. The guys didn't protest at all, the one I'm really close to thanking me briefly and the other two just pumped about their good fortune ("Sick dude!"). Hmm, not sure that's what I wanted. I like all of the guys and feel a protective, big-brotherly relationship with them, but there is no denying that they are competition, too. Though my conscious motivation was a consequence of genuine enjoyment (once you've hit the mid-twenties, being the center of attention in a group of attractive, well-adjusted teenagers is invigorating and immensely enjoyable) and being cognizant of the fact that getting in was a substantive expense for them but not for me, an immediate desire for deference and humility went unfulfilled--shouldn't they feel small about not being able to drop bills like that? I might have been quite the chump (and for leveraging my financial security against incoming college freshmen, I probably deserve as much).
But the female reaction matters more. Three of the girls did resist and then tried to give me money--forcefully after I put my hands up in non-compliance--to which I reacted with my best male dancer impression (unlike Agnostic, I have zero dancing experience). Cute, right? Again, probably not what I wanted. A swooned girl doesn't try and stop dreamboy from providing for her--she simply rewards him warmly for doing so. Plus, my girl would be thrilled if I provided only for her (which I obviously had planned on doing) in the presence of other interested females, rather than feeling like just another part of the harem. Worse, the harem reference might not be right at all--perhaps I momentarily became the cool uncle (and thus the conspcicuous grown up).
Sound like a misfire? Or is there enough redemptive value in being a solid material provider to justify it (in addition to acting on genuine altruistic urges)?