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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?
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rubaiyat 11:10 pm 20 Jul 15

Precisely because my wife expects me to pay on dates is why I’ve stopped inviting her.

vintage123 6:13 pm 20 Jul 15

Neither. Become a food columnist for riotact and let them cover the bill.

astrojax 5:17 pm 20 Jul 15

this is a question two modern intelligent people who might have a view to a relationship can’t resolve? really?

rubaiyat 1:42 pm 20 Jul 15

I like to think the woman will think it insulting if I offer to pay, so I let her.

Same as she gets to pick me up, and come round and open the door before I can get out.

Mind you I could quite easily simply change my mind randomly and go completely the opposite and not let her know why I’m angry. After all if she was at all interested in me she would know!

Maya123 9:40 am 20 Jul 15

zllauh said :

He should initiate to pay but if the girl insist on splitting, it wont be a big deal.
personally , i would pay even if she insists ( Personal ego) :p

He shouldn’t be going out with girls, unless he is still a boy himself.

JustThinking 6:33 pm 19 Jul 15

I think we all change with age. In my 20’s I would have felt special if a guy offered to pay for dinner but at 50 I kind of like paying my own way. I don’t know whether it’s a pride thing or just a ‘been there done that’ thing. To me now a date is about getting to know someone more and forming a friendship and I certainly don’t expect my friends to pay my way.

zllauh 12:27 pm 13 Apr 15

He should initiate to pay but if the girl insist on splitting, it wont be a big deal.
personally , i would pay even if she insists ( Personal ego) :p

Antagonist 10:36 pm 08 Oct 14

fabforty said :

There seems to be a lot of “women are only after money” comments on this post. It seems to me that those of you who have been unsuccessful with women are using that as an excuse. In reading the tone of your comments, though, I would be more inclined to think it is your thinly veiled misogyny that women are picking up on.

Rose Porteous. Anna Nicole Smith. Heather Mills. Ellen Nordegren. Amy Irving. Kim Kardashian. Arlene Silver. Ivana Trump. Any of Hugh Heffner’s ‘girlfriends’. Shannon Tweed. It is not misogyny. It is reality.

bronal 1:47 pm 08 Oct 14

Maya123 said :

I can’t believe in this day and age that anyone would expect the men to pay for all the dates, and I would be interested to know the ages of those who think men should.

Well, I’m a baby boomer. And I didn’t say, or suggest, that the man should pay all the time. I think I outlined my reasons for the first date fairly clearly.

Maya123 12:06 pm 08 Oct 14

For the first date I would suggest somewhere fairly informal and inexpensive, jointly decided on and the bill split. Later, all going well, the dates could get more formal and how it is paid is up to the couple, but it could be whoever does the inviting pays. I believe both should pay for dates, but it is not necessary to split the bill. Take in turns to think of somewhere nice to take the other person.
Unfortunately there are some men who think if they pay the woman should go to bed with them; even after one date. How to ruin and put a dampener on an evening guys! That’s why I suggested an informal and inexpensive place jointly decided on and the bill split for the first date. It gives an opportunity to get to know each other a little better.
I can’t believe in this day and age that anyone would expect the men to pay for all the dates, and I would be interested to know the ages of those who think men should.

bronal 11:09 am 08 Oct 14

Spoiler alert: old-fashioned views expressed!

I am of the generation where it was expected that the man would pay for the first date (a) because it was normally the man who made the invitation and (b) as a sign of respect. The first date was a ‘getting to know you exercise’, no doubt with the hope and expectation of a longer-term relationship but certainly with no commitment to one.

As far as expectations of sex are concerned, this is just another sign of the general debasement of human relationships.

curmudgery 9:48 am 08 Oct 14

” … if women are as capable of earning as men are …”
If.

“… why should women see men as a provider?”
It’s a Darwinian imperative.

“Why not judge each other on their providing potential?”
Because that’s not how it works.

Cherieford 9:46 am 08 Oct 14

I will offer to pay for my share, but if the guy takes my money without any hesitation, I might have to reconsider a second date, lol.

fabforty 9:04 am 08 Oct 14

There seems to be a lot of “women are only after money” comments on this post. It seems to me that those of you who have been unsuccessful with women are using that as an excuse. In reading the tone of your comments, though, I would be more inclined to think it is your thinly veiled misogyny that women are picking up on.

neckbeard_virgin 10:38 pm 07 Oct 14

curmudgery said :

It continues, neckbeard_virgin, because the females want to know, among other things, who might be a good provider.

lol, I could swear I said the same thing just a few replies earlier. My question though, is if women are as capable of earning as men are, why should women see men as a provider? Why not judge each other on their providing potential?

curmudgery 10:58 am 07 Oct 14

It continues, neckbeard_virgin, because the females want to know, among other things, who might be a good provider.

A word to the wise, though. If he watches every penny, he’ll be a misery to live with. And if he flashes a lot of money around it’s probably not all his.

Antagonist 4:33 pm 06 Oct 14

neckbeard_virgin said :

curmudgery said :

The man paying for the first date is symbolic – it’s just one of the many messages exchanged between the two. It says “I’m doing ok in the world, I have resources.” And that’s important to you both.

(Other messages he should include are: “I can dress myself, I’ve heard of personal hygiene and I know better than to blow my nose on the tablecloth.”)

Well, not really. Hygiene and being able to wear clothes has always been a mutual expectation, but the symbol of displaying resources has been a male thing.

Why should that continue?

Think of the term ‘gold digger’ and where it may have its origins. Take a pair of identical twin men. Dress them to look exactly the same. Then tell your test subject which one is the billionaire and which is stone motherless broke. You can bet a clap of thunder to a gooses fart that she will go for the rich boy every time. Any woman who says otherwise is a liar. That is why it continues. Its just a fact of life, and feminism will has not changed it – nor will it ever change for that matter.

neckbeard_virgin 2:12 pm 06 Oct 14

curmudgery said :

The man paying for the first date is symbolic – it’s just one of the many messages exchanged between the two. It says “I’m doing ok in the world, I have resources.” And that’s important to you both.

(Other messages he should include are: “I can dress myself, I’ve heard of personal hygiene and I know better than to blow my nose on the tablecloth.”)

Well, not really. Hygiene and being able to wear clothes has always been a mutual expectation, but the symbol of displaying resources has been a male thing.

Why should that continue?

curmudgery 12:07 pm 06 Oct 14

Sorry, but to me just having coffee or a drink together doesn’t count as a ‘first date’ and sex has no place in the first date equation.

The man paying for the first date is symbolic – it’s just one of the many messages exchanged between the two. It says “I’m doing ok in the world, I have resources.” And that’s important to you both.

(Other messages he should include are: “I can dress myself, I’ve heard of personal hygiene and I know better than to blow my nose on the tablecloth.”)

If paying something seems preferable to her then suggest coffee or a gelato elsewhere: a token – that should be enough.

Common sense can then reign happily on the second date.

P.S. If she gets a bit miffed, insists on a 50-50 split and goes on about ‘the principal of the thing’ and ‘equality’ or other variable abstractions then, ok, acquiesce to her preference. But she lacks that ‘je ne sais quoi’ – and it’s more than just having no sense of occasion: it’s about style – and style can’t be bought, studied for or won through debate. Your search continues.

neckbeard_virgin 12:02 pm 06 Oct 14

What’s the point of dating, anyway? To assess the suitability of someone as a partner.

Now that we’re in the age of equality, shouldn’t we demonstrate that by accepting a default custom of splitting the bill?

The person asking has no more responsibility to pay than the person accepting. Traditionally, the man would pay, as a token demonstration of his ability and willingness to fit the provider role. But no longer, as women have every opportunity to earn as men do.

Maybe the new custom should be to bring your payslips to a date, calculate the pay imbalance as a percentage, then contribute that when the bill comes.

Nothing says romance like equality!

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