In case you haven’t noticed I love to talk money. More than anything, I love to talk money that really makes people think and/or stir up friendly conversation/debate. Being a modern single woman with other modern single friends, the topic of ‘who pays on the first date’ comes up more often than you would think! Admittedly, most people still have the ‘old fashion’ idea of a man pays for dates, but I’ve come across conversations that leave exceptions to this old school rule.
So on the first date, who should pay? What about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th date? Does that change the equation?
Tradition and self-help love guidance literature tells the woman to expect a man to pay for dates. Society says if a man wants to date a woman, he should take charge of the situation and pursue her. This means setting up the date, navigating time and place, and taking care of the bill…no matter at what cost. The woman is supposed to follow his lead and is trained to not even glance at the bill once it’s laid on the table.
Now, I’ve been in conversations where women would not even consider a 2nd date if there was even a hesitation at the table on who would pick up the bill. For many women, a man should invite them to a restaurant (or outing) that is within his budget and should not expect her to pay, especially on the first date. The thought is, if he invited me, he should pay.
With the last thought in mind of “if he invited me, he should pay”, I began to wonder what if she invited him? Should she be responsible for the bill? It’s 2012 and more women are stepping out of the traditional dating role and are asking men out. The lyrics of “I am women hear me roar” stand out for me as I imagine a woman has in her mind as she walks up to a man and asks them out.
So is the expectation on her to pay? I asked that question and I get a “squirmish” response from the ladies. They like the idea of being bold enough to ask someone out, but don’t really want to foot the bill. Is this fair, or are we still playing the traditional role in a modern-day “suit”?
My mother, and I’m sure SO many other mothers, have told their daughters to NEVER go dutch on a date…especially the first date. I’m not sure if women would be more insulted over having to pay the entire bill or being asked to go dutch. Which is worse??
To me, I think the ‘go dutch’ mentality came as a way to feed into the new age modern woman. Traditions changed and I believe men fed into the idea of the women being able to handle her own, including her portion of the bill. To this day, however, going dutch is still not a popular dating concept and is tabooed by many love and relationship experts.
Personally, I’ve NEVER paid for a date in the beginning phases and have never gone dutch. Being a personal finance person, I am always aware of the dollars being spent and make my selections based on what I would normally order and not go crazy just because it’s on someone else’s dime. I’m pretty old school and I highly appreciate it when I’m asked out and the date is paid by my suitor. In all honesty, I may raise an eyebrow if I was asked to pay for the first date (especially if I was asked out), but again, that’s why I select based on my normal process. Of course I ALWAYS bring enough to cover my portion (let’s be smart!). Would there be a 2nd date if I had to pay the 1st? Probably not, but the circumstance may change that answer.
After a few dates, I am always more than happy to pitch in, whether it’s paying the tip, or picking up the tab for ice cream after dinner. I actually think a lot of women would agree with me on this as well. Of course you will have some who never feel the need to pay for anything, EVER. Hey, to each his own, whatever floats your boat, and if you like it, I like it less but I’m happy for you!
Ok, I love to hear other opinions so share your 2¢! Who should pay on the 1st date? What about date #2, #3 and so on??
Photo by: mando2003us