The Juice & the Squeeze
Who Pays on the First Date? A Modern Conundrum When Dating the Opposite Sex.
The Battle of the Bill. Navigating the dating minefield.
In the era of modern feminism and calls for gender equality, the question of who pays on a first date has become a sticky and confusing matter.
Traditionally, at least for an opposite-sex couple, the norms of courtship have mandated that the man pay for the first date … in the name of chivalry and generosity.
But in the age of independent women and progressive attitudes, things are not so cut and dried. Some women prefer to split the bill, while others insist on covering the whole thing.
So what’s an upstanding gentleman (or gal) to do? Here is one perspective that we humbly offer for you to consider. Find a balance between modern ideas of equality and good old-fashioned notions.
Perhaps, to diffuse some anxiety around who gets the check, as a default, the person “inviting” should pay. For better or worse, in an opposite-sex relationship, that tends to be the guy. (New York magazine recently hilariously declared “if you penetrate, you pay” in #12 of their Etiquette Rules).
In reality, when it comes down to it, both parties might reach for their wallets at the end of a date, though the woman may be merely making a polite gesture in the familiar first-date-check dance. But as long as the guy’s offer seems firm and genuine, most gals will accept his act of generosity and see it as a positive sign that the date went well.
But what if she determinedly says “I’ve got this” or offers to contribute? Do you battle for the check or let her pay? Gentlemen, may we suggest that you first triple check that this is not still part of her gesture by assuring her you will cover it and thanking her for the offer. Just please don’t say, “Are you sure?” This puts undue pressure on her to agree to halfsies or pay even if she was just just being polite by offering. Don’t do it.
If she continues to insist though, then please respect her wishes. Perhaps you either split the bill or let her pay. If you’re keen to see her again, you can always try to get it next time!
In the end, it’s not about who pays, but about spending quality time with someone you’re interested in getting to know.
So put down your wallet, relax, and let the conversation (and your personality) flow – who knows where it will take you?