Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Who Should Pay on the First Date?
On a recent outing with Heidi and Anonymous (remember them?), we started talking about who should pay on the first date and while hearing their thoughts on the matter, I realized I don't even remember who paid when A. and I went out for the first time. Knowing me and how quickly and casually our relationship developed (he asked for my email before my number), I wouldn't put it past us to have split the first few bills and thought nothing of it.
I know it's quite romantic to be wooed, wined and dined (Lord knows I still crave it from time to time), but I don't care much about going dutch on a first date or treating the guy if I can. I definitely wouldn't knock a man if he needed me to help out. As it stands, A. does end up paying for most of our meals, but I'll pay for random things in the relationship without keeping tabs.
Back in the day, I'd squirm at the thought of some guy paying for me without letting me pay him back (in monetary form, of course). Because my father raised me on the idea that I should always fend for myself and not borrow money if I had no need to, I developed a notion that letting a guy pay for me meant that I owed him something or was, in some way, subservient. Plus, I just felt guilty about it. Why should I accompany you to a nice restaurant, eat good food, and let you pay for the whole experience when I enjoyed myself, too?
I don't even pull that trick where you reach for your wallet and pretend to search for money in the hopes that the guy will rush in and say, "Oh no! Please! Let me!" as he steals the bill away. A., always the snarky one, says he doesn't play that game. If a girl offers to pay, then by all means knock yourself out. In other words, don't get offended if a guy doesn't swoop in to save you from yourself.
I think the idea that the guy should always pay on the first date is doused in old-school, medieval mentality, but it begs the question: is chivalry - as in paying for meals, opening doors, pulling out chairs, and such - a prerequisite for a second date? Or is it enough to treat each other as equals, with respect, and aim for a good time without these hidden tests?