Sittin' on Dubs: The Andrew Jackson Proposal

By Jabulani Leffall on 19 April 2008 6 comments
Photo: Twenty

It's been probably a decade since I've been on the real, true-to-life dating scene in earnest and truthfully I don't plan on returning there anytime soon. But I have ideas about what I might do, when I do, if that makes sense.

See, a lot of young men in the parts of the city and country where I grew up were proud of being frugal - a kind way of saying they insisted on not "getting got," by so-called "money-hungry" females.

Even for all the flash and hood-rich pomp of the cats I grew up seeing, it was still considered a sign of weakness to splurge on a date, or a friend, or an outing. After all that's not what true pimps, players and hustlers do. These are not my words, I'm repeating what I've heard. I am from my environment not of it.

But in pondering the realm of money and interpersonal activities, I thought about what the great Black American poet O'Shea Jackson once quipped:

"Girlfriend show me luv up in the club, I might spend a dub (double-saw=$20) tryiiick!"

Very eloquent isn't it? BTW, O'Shea Jackson is the rapper/actor Ice Cube's government name for the curious. But allow me to step down from the 2:15 train to digression and get back to my lightbulb. For all the wacky consumer choices that come out of my community: spinner rims, $200 shoes with the tag still on them, $700 jeans, all bought by people who still rent and don't have bank accounts mind you, there's hope in that stingy madness when it comes to hitting the town.

And it got me to thinking. Oh no. Why not turn lemons to lemonade? Why not test Mssr. Cube's theory and propose ten ways for grown people to spend $20 or less on a date or outing and still make priceless memories?

Put your "dubs" up.

1) Dinner and DVD: Produce vegetables and noodles at the grocery store make for a good primavera or pad thai whip up. Then, a six pack of whatever or a $3 to $6 red could leave six to ten baysacks for a funny romantic comedy rental for her and any movie where the actor who plays the protaganist has a name that ends in a vowel for him. (See De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, Li, Liotta, Sizemore, Buscemi and John C. Riley - sometimes "Y") Not ready to do it at the house, take your laptop to the park, slap the disk in, enjoy.

2) BYOB tapas spots: There are certain restaurants in certain cities of the ecletic variety (sorry you have to do the research, it's your 20 bucks) that allow you to bring you're own bottle for a cork fee, order some filling appetizers, and sit their as long as you can hold your nectar

3) Off-brand, specialized museums: It's easy to think of the contemparary art museums or the natural history exhibits and things like that. Use your imagination and learn something. There are things as arcane as bottle-cap exhibits, or aviation or trains or shoelaces; or a labor history exhibit and any of the ethnic museums in your mid-sized to large city. They cost comparably less than $20, different from the prime tourist spots.

4) A drive to nowhere: Exactly what it says, put $10 to $15 in the tank, pack some supplies from home go........

5) Go hiking. That's it, just walk up a hill.

6) Giddy up, expenses down: If you live a rural place or a big city that has outlying rural places, a horseback ride can often be had for less than a dubber for two people. Just don't bet on the horses.

7) Second-run theaters: We're back on cinema. If there's a stupid movie you haven't seen and wouldn't be willing to pay full price for it, almost every mid-sized to large city in America has a second-run theatre. They usually smell like popcorn popped by the actual inventor of popcorn and lodged under the seat for a century, but it keeps your pockets fatter than they otherwise would be. Wear big clothes and bring a beverage LOL:).

 8) City Parks and city gardens: Totally free. Spend time talking, chatting and learning something from that new person, or that old person or that in between person or that stranger. Technology be damned for a day.

 9) Board game dinner party: If you're the type of person who reads this site,  you're probably the type to have an old board game in your house. Tell one of your friends to bring $20 in potato wedges or assorted snack foods, tell that couple you hang out with to bring $20 in beverages, then everybody bring their favorite CD from their shelf at their house.

10) Garage sale and thrift store world tour: Get a friend or a group of people, hit the sales and practice your haggling skills to see how long you can go without spending your whole dubby.

I got some great responses and ideas so far so I'll extend this list now and it'll be your twenty for twenty. No? Okay I thought it was a cute play on words but oh well.

11) Dollar, dollar store Ya'll: How fun and zany would it be to go to a 99 cent store and buy a bunch of silly, stupid stuff up to $20 that you would never think about buying otherwise. Apple Sauce in bulk, stuff that enables you to blow bubbles, fruit, really bad movies in the 49 cent to dollar range, plants, six packs of obscure root beer

12) Bowling: At most alleys you can sign up and get your Barack Obama on

13) Free music: Especially in the summer time a lot of Jazz - not smooth Jazz I hope - and classical ensembles stage free concerts.

14) Spring and summer festivals: From the ethnic specialized carnivals of LA to the "Taste" in Chicago, you can have the time of your life and keep it under a double saw.

15)  Cookin' with grease and  other things: Places such as Williams-Sonoma stage free cooking classes all the time and they're fun.

16) Community and college theatre: You can attend both of these for under $20 bucks - sometimes for both people - and if they suck you have something to talk about, if they don't you're reminded that there are people who practice the craft because they still love it and not because they're trying to be discovered.

17) Hijack a park grill: There are several parks where you can grab some fish, vegatables meat or some Tofu equivalent and BYOC - the "C" stands for charcoal.

18) Heavenly bodies: Even if you're landlocked you have should have a river or lake within 40 miles of you. You might eat up the whole twenty in gas but think of the variety of things you can do when you get there, like look at the water.

19) Historical "you" tour: If you live where you grew up, you can take that special or for-the-moment someone and show them the places where you achieved all your milestones, maybe not all of them.

20) Send me $20 via paypal (No really my address is jabulani.lefff, ahhhh forget it)

There you have it. Anyway, when someone asks you about the typical dinner and a first run movie - a prospect that even if you're a cheapo is going to cost you $100-plus if you include gas - you tell them "naw dawg, I be dubbin,"

On second thought don't do that. But do tell Andrew Jack I said hello. 

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Guest's picture

Another fun date is to make a gourmet dinner that would be really expensive at a restaurant... Get some nice fish filets and serve over wild rice. Cheap, but delicious. I'm a food blogger, so I'm always thinking about things to do with food :)

Philip Brewer's picture

If you're ready to step up to a slightly longer-term committment, another cheap activity can be to take some sort of class or workshop together.

Around here there are bunches of them.  The park district, the public schools, the community college, the Y, and the library all offer classes in practically anything--yoga, pottery, acting, woodworking, a foreign language....

Many of them are cheap enough that you could pay the fee for your date and still keep the cost under $20 a session.

Guest's picture

Go to a drive in movie theatre, that's always fun.

Guest's picture

Maybe it's mostly classical or jazz, there's free concerts. Try art exhibit openings (free wine and cheese), and lecture series (don't wince, some are very stimulating), stuff like that around us.

Guest's picture
Rob O.

You can easily turn $20 into a nice bottle of red, a crisp Cesaer salad, some mannicotti, a hunk o' crusty bread, and a nice desert item for a fix-at-home meal that'll be sure to impress.

Mannicotti is super simple to do - just cook those big tubular noodles until they're a bit more than half-done, mix some ricotta & parmesian cheeses, an egg, some and chopped parsley, then stuff the mixture into the cooled pasta tubes. Lay 'em in a dish and cover generously with jarred sauce. Trust me, this is easy peasy yet seems like a real fancy schmancy meal.

Light some candles, toss on some Dean Martin or Frankie and your gal might think she's at Carrino's or Olive Garden - but you've saved yourself at least $20-30.

Guest's picture
Theresa M Cain

Hey...I remember you from Mizzou and wanted to say hello. Great ideas...I hope you are truly as blessed and prosperous as you seem! Theresa M. Cain