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?

Image: etsy.com

26 comments :

  1. Its too confusing for me ... I think I'll just start with second dates. :)

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  2. Some people treat it like rocket science. I think I got in the game way too late to learn all the mind tricks and put them to use. Besides, I'm too awkward to play them out convincingly.

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  3. Let me just say that if someone has a "rule" for this kind of conduct, I wouldn't want to date them.

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  4. That's why I love you. Thanks for keeping it real, babe.

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  5. I remember Heidi and Anonymous...you haven't talked about them in so long. Haha.

    Call me old fashion, but if the guy asks the girl out, then he should pay. But I am guessing that nowadays, first dates can be so casual that it's hard to tell. Who knows, I have been out of the dating scene for so long.

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  6. If a man doesn't pay for the first date, there will be no second. simple.

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  7. And how far into the dating game would you finally feel like it's okay to pay for the date?

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  8. I agree with anonymous. The guy should pay on the 1st date.

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  9. I'm curious as to why though (other than because that's just how it should be). Is it that then it's like the guy doesn't know how to be a man and support the woman? Is it because then he's not fulfilling his role as the dominant one/bread winner? Is it because he sees you as too much of an equal? Is it because we've just been wired to be treated by the guy and if he doesn't it makes us feel just a teeny bit sad because it means he doesn't care as much?

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  10. The female can pay too, but not at first. She can pay after that whenever she pleases. But the whole concept of the first date is the man has to swoon you, be a gentleman, not show his ass (aka act correct and polite). He has to provide for you, it's all about YOU (the woman ) the first date. He has to prove he is worthy of your attention and presence (LOL) He is trying to win you over and guess what.. you are the prize lady. At least that's the whole concept, its sexy also when a man pays. It gives off the feeling that he can provide for you if need be. It's also sexy when a man wears delicious smelling cologne. Anyways, end of the day nobody wants a cheapass dude. I can go be cheap on my own elsewhere : )

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  11. Fair enough, it's just the old-fashioned style of dating, I guess. It comes down to the man needing to prove his worth to win the female over much like animals show off their colorful feathers to impress a mate. I can't front like I don't like the attention, it's great! But I still feel bad for those poor guys who want to be treated on a first date too. Or do you think they grow up accepting that they will need to pay?

    Obviously you can refuse to leave the guy, but would the guy have grounds to call you a cheap ass woman if you refuse to chip in for the bill?

    So what happens when two girls go on a date? And do gay guys usually go dutch on the first?

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  12. I was just going to write if a guy feels bad that he wasn't treated on a first date, he is clearly gay.. that being said. I don't know who pays on a gay date? Hmm I'm assuming whoever asked the other out.. El que invita paga mi pana. heeyy let me go ask our office tranny.. brb.

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  13. It's about a man being a gentleman. Showing appreciation that you're sitting across the table from him. Letting you know that money is not an issue when it comes to spending time with you. No one is saying he has to take you to a $300 dinner date.

    For future dates both parties can figure out what works best for them. It's just the same when a guy gives you his jacket because you're cold. The word is GENTLEMAN!

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  14. I meant appreciation you are in front of her.

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  15. And here I thought a person was gay because he wanted to have a relationship with his own sex.

    So yeah, it's what I mentioned before. It's this whole "prove your worth" mentality that goes back to our animal days. Women fish for someone who'll care for them and the future kids while making her still feel wanted.

    So if a guy doesn't pay, that's it no second date whatsoever? What if he was really nice and sweet otherwise? You'll kill that chance?

    And wait, where do feminism and the modern day woman fit into this? Because I'm sure there are women who will cry independence day and night and that they work and pay their own bills and then have a hissy fit if they have to pay for a date.

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  16. I won't go on a second date if he didn't pay. I would feel so insulted. There wouldn't be a second date or anything for him .. nada.. not even a hug. Maybe a hand shake.. i don't know I've never had to pay on a first date, but it would probably go along the lines of SEE YA!

    Yes Dorkys, if you like the same sex you are gay BUT if you are a man who feels bad that the WOMAN didn't pay on the first date, then you are battling your gay demons and must come to terms that you are gay and must date a man who will pay for your dinner on the first date and come out the closet already.

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  17. Plus it makes you feel soo special : )

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  18. Yeaaahh, no, sorry. That still doesn't make a man gay. And I love you and all, but the fact that you'd think that - or even throw it around jokingly - is a bit disturbing. But Homosexuality 101 is a post for another day. Tune in next week for that.

    Back to the topic at hand and why being asked to pay is such a turn off. I really wish I heard from people on various points of the spectrum, too. Am I the only one who feels the way I do that paying for the first date shouldn't be an assumed detail nor a complete deal breaker? Especially not if the guy has shown potential throughout the rest of the night.

    I'm all for the nice chivalrous acts, the being cared for without needing to say a word, having him know how to comfort me, but I also understand that some people just don't know how to do these things or it doesn't come as easily. It could be because they can't read your mind/instinctively know what you need, because they didn't grow up being taught these things, because they haven't had to use these skills in previous relationships, or because they're just clueless in that respect. That doesn't mean he can't learn how to make you feel special as you get to know each other. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and patience before you learn to give and receive what you're looking for in a partnership.

    Yes, a lot of assumptions about status, personality and boyfriend material are made based off of first impressions, but who knows what you'll find if you give someone a few more chances before writing them off. Maybe they were having an off day, perhaps they forgot their wallet, or missed a paycheck but didn't want to cancel. Lord knows, but I couldn't use a blanket statement that would apply to every situation. I'll save that for things like outright rudeness to me or the servers, kicking animals, smoking, etc.

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  19. Dorkys, I dont even have the attention span to read that entire comment. I dont know what else to tell you except, a real man would never let a lady pay on the first date. Sorry if you haven't had that experience ????

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  20. Oh, but I have. I've been treated and split the bill and it was no big deal. I offer and sometimes it's taken up and sometimes he insists on paying. I just didn't understand why a guy's sexuality had to called into question over it. And by the way, a gay man is...still a man.

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  21. Well I am with you. I would be perfectly fine to split the bill. I would expect to split it as a matter of principle.

    The first dates with my love started out with us carpooling and then mutually deciding that we were hungry, let's go eat. In this case, it might feel like a date because there's fun and chemistry, but then it wasn't an invite situation.

    Given the invite, I do kind of think it is polite for the person who invited to offer to pay. I think it's sort of a cultural thing for one person to offer and the other person to turn it down, and so on. It might be ridiculous, but I think it's classy to offer to pay regardless... on either side. It says that you dont expect anything from them.

    More than anything a thank you is essential if one person does end up paying. I've been in situations where it was neglected and it was very awkward.

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  22. Oh girls. Listen up, vagina owners!

    1) "Who pays on the first date" is about the most useless metric to gauge for relationship success I can think of. Except, of course, if you actually care about it. In that case, it is a very telling indicator that you're too concerned with superficial things to be an interesting date in the first place. This goes for men and women.

    2) This ain't 1956. I know it sounds romantic to go out with a guy who totally takes control because you're a dainty waif who is still learning how to work a voting machine, but repeatedly subjecting yourself to this specific fantasy will turn up far more assholes than genuinely manly men. Here's a tip: if he acts rich, but he's still willing to date you despite #1, he probably isn't rich and the "take control" thing is an act, too.

    3) Gay guys are tougher than straight men. They don't whine and complain about the potential dick up their ass. They take that shit in stride.

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  23. I paid for our first official date. It's not something that makes me feel more powerful, wasn't me exerting my independence, wasn't him being cheap, wasn't a big decision, and certainly wasn't him taking advantage of me. I simply wanted to go to the bronx zoo and I wanted to hang with him. Given that we both had the same awful job and I had more money in the bank, I didn't even think twice about offering to pay. More like, "I'll pay, that's solved." Lol. In today's day and age, we've moved past the whole "guy pays for the first date" mentality and boy am I glad.

    Never have I questioned his appreciation for me or ability to be a gentleman. 2.5 years later, we've paid for each other and split so many costs, it'd be impossible to track.

    To each their own I guess.

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  24. I'm all for the nice things like opening doors, etc, but who cares who pays? I mean, isn't it more important that everyone enjoyed themselves?

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  25. if a guy does not pay for our first date, there is no second date. i am not going out with a 'buddy,' it's a date and if you want me to look at you as a real man, then pay for the first date and show me you know how to treat a lady.

    i will pay for tip though, but still thinks he should decline on the first date; subsquent dates are up for grabs.

    in my experience, the ones that didnt pay or went dutch were losers. never met a 'good guy' that didnt pay for first date. NEVER.

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  26. I have to agree with someone former who said, that paying on a first date, it's just a sign of appreciation. Especially if it's just a small snack or something. I had bad experiences with guys who would not invite me on a first date, they used to be quiet cheap and always wanted to get dutch, eventhough they earnt more money than I did. And emancipation back and forth..equal paying is still an issue..

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