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Should the guy pay on the first date?

By Samara Gentle - 3 October 2014 41

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A question like this can change any group conversation to a heated debate, surprisingly. So many different opinions and different reasonings as to why.

Me? I’m not fussed either way. If a guy insists on paying I’ll let him. If I offer to split the bill and he agrees I won’t get offended. It doesn’t faze me either way.

However I have friends who disagree wholeheartedly. One saying that if they’ve gone to the effort of asking them on a date she expects them to pay – basically it was their idea therefore they should foot the bill.

Another friend thinks that it should be split because of feminism. Full stop. I’m not sure what’s feminist about it, but that’s how she feels.

Talking to a few male friends they all said they would insist on paying because it’s the right thing to do. The right thing? I get it’s more traditional, but tradition isn’t always necessarily right, or for that matter wrong.

The waters get even muddier when you throw in an expensive location – the person who suggests an expensive restaurant should be the one that pays, apparently. It’s too embarrassing to tell someone you can’t afford a certain restaurant so you should definitely split it or the person who initiated the location should pay, says another.

After a quick search on google it turns out that several researchers claim that when a man pays for dinner his expectations of sex go up. Are there really blokes out there that think that in exchange for a meal they should expect sex? I think they’ve mistaken dating for prostitution.

I could be wrong, it could be that if a woman allows a man to pay for dinner it’s a subliminal signal that the date is going well..? No? The weirdness of humans really is interesting.

All of this debating really does scream of sexism (so did the majority of my friends responses to my questions). But another aspect of society’s sexism is that we generally assume the man will always want to have sex with the woman.

This all seems to boil down to the fact that no one can win. Whether the man pays, the bill is split or the woman pays. Someone is going to feel ripped off, p*ssed off or emasculated by what’s taken place.

The answer.. don’t sweat it. Whatever happens just go with it and realise dating is no longer black and white. The lines are as blurred as ever and who pays on a first date is the least of your worries.

Do you pay on the first date?

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41 Responses to
Should the guy pay on the first date?
milkman 8:05 pm 03 Oct 14

farnarkler said :

Knowing my luck, she’d order the lobster thermidor and a bottle of Krug, say she’s forgotten her purse and never call or return calls again.

That sounds like a very flash maccas!

farnarkler 7:29 pm 03 Oct 14

Knowing my luck, she’d order the lobster thermidor and a bottle of Krug, say she’s forgotten her purse and never call or return calls again.

justin heywood 7:26 pm 03 Oct 14

Traditionally, on a ‘serious’ first date, the guy pays, and I would think you should try and enjoy the date rather than sweat about who is paying the bill. First dates are fraught enough.

And if he’s the sort of guy that expects some action in exchange for paying the bill, take his money and walk with a clear conscience.

I’m still traumatised by my first date with the girl of my adolescent dreams. Channeling James Bond, I nonchalantly paid the bill with my then new credit card. It bounced, and in those days there were no ATMs in western Queensland. I had to leave my date sitting there as security while I went home to borrow cash from my parents. She was kind about it, but not so kind that she would go out with me again.

Whenever I’m feeling a bit smug, I just have to think back to that night.

HiddenDragon 6:25 pm 03 Oct 14

Wasn’t there something in the news this week about an 18% gender pay gap, so maybe the rule of thumb should be a 60/40 split……but seriously, the suggestion made by others of having some cash (and not just in the form of $50 notes) might be useful.

chewy14 1:36 pm 03 Oct 14

braddonmonsta said :

This is made so much more complicated in Australia since most restaurants refuse to split bills, meaning the non-paying person would have to take out their phone and do a bank transfer, which is really quite awkward for recent aquaintances.

There’s this new fangled invention, I think it’s called “cash” or something similar that might help in this situation.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:21 pm 03 Oct 14

braddonmonsta said :

This is made so much more complicated in Australia since most restaurants refuse to split bills, meaning the non-paying person would have to take out their phone and do a bank transfer, which is really quite awkward for recent aquaintances.

Alternatively you could have some cash on you, given that you knew you were going on a date and knew you may have to pay half.

braddonmonsta 1:12 pm 03 Oct 14

This is made so much more complicated in Australia since most restaurants refuse to split bills, meaning the non-paying person would have to take out their phone and do a bank transfer, which is really quite awkward for recent aquaintances.

If someone says “I’ve got this”, I don’t think it’s necessarily polite to contest that – just make sure you get it next time. If someone doesn’t ask you out again on principle for not offering to split the bill, I think that’s pretty immature and stingy really.

Antagonist 1:07 pm 03 Oct 14

“Another friend thinks that it should be split because of feminism. Full stop. I’m not sure what’s feminist about it, but that’s how she feels.”

This kind of woman would not get a second date with me. Screams difficult and high maintenance. It reminds me of a time I was officially counselled in the APS for referring to some of my female co-workers as ‘ladies’, the argument being that it is not my place to judge if they were ladies or not. True story!

Grail 12:42 pm 03 Oct 14

“This all seems to boil down to the fact that no one can win. Whether the man pays, the bill is split or the woman pays. Someone is going to feel ripped off, p*ssed off or emasculated by what’s taken place.”

I prefer to view it this way: if the other person pays, I had a free lunch. Say, “thank you,” and maybe wonder once or twice over the next few days about whether you’ll hear from that person again.

From my own perspective, it has never been “paying for dinner” that led to men expecting to have sex with women, it’s simply that the woman was (an attractive) female that led the man to hope to have sex with her. The cost of dinner was incidental.

astrojax 12:08 pm 03 Oct 14

HenryBG said :

“Are there really blokes out there that think that in exchange for a meal they should expect sex? I think they’ve mistaken dating for prostitution.”

Ummm….that’s kind of how sex works, didn’t you know? Females expect a man to provide, and choose partners on the basis of what they perceive to be a man’s ability to provide.
If it weren’t this way, prostitution wouldn’t be such a one-sided affair.

ummm, i think henry you’ve conflated prostitution with a genuine relationship – the former being an arrangement where the commodity is only sexual; the latter being a more equal relationship where love and trust, among other things, are shared. ‘dating’ is here, i take it, to be a precursor to finding the latter. fyshwick is for the former…

HenryBG 11:40 am 03 Oct 14

“Are there really blokes out there that think that in exchange for a meal they should expect sex? I think they’ve mistaken dating for prostitution.”

Ummm….that’s kind of how sex works, didn’t you know? Females expect a man to provide, and choose partners on the basis of what they perceive to be a man’s ability to provide.
If it weren’t this way, prostitution wouldn’t be such a one-sided affair.

LTDLOWRIDER 10:48 am 03 Oct 14

I always offer to pay the full bill. If the female offers to split, I insist that I pay in full. If the female continues to insist I split the bill.

Personally I don’t think its a good sign if the If the female doesn’t at least make an offer to split the bill.

It’s a good sign if the female pay waves before I even get a chance to use my card, which is what my girlfriend did on our first date 🙂

pink little birdie 10:37 am 03 Oct 14

usually if it’s on a date it’s pay your own way or one pays for dinner and the other pays for the movie or the drinks. It’s far easier this way. All our early dates were split like this.

Kalliste 10:24 am 03 Oct 14

“However I have friends who disagree wholeheartedly. One saying that if they’ve gone to the effort of asking them on a date she expects them to pay – basically it was their idea therefore they should foot the bill.”

Does this mean if she asks him on the date she would expect she has to pay for both? Just wondering if she thinks it goes both ways.

For me, I’ve always thought the “Man must pay” tradition is silly. Maybe back in a time when women were less likely to be working or, if they were, getting paid less in their work than sure, he could pay.

I would prefer just to split the bill on the first date.

Although it also depends on how well you know the person. Is it someone you’ve recently met and are going out on a date or is it someone you know well and the relationship has changed? If it’s the latter I’d probably offer to pay in the expectation that at some point in the future they’d foot the bill.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 9:37 am 03 Oct 14

Hypothetically, if I was on a date and the lady offered to split the bill I’d insist on paying. If the lady expected me to pay I’d pay, but never ask her out again.

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