Who Pays For The First Date?

A few years ago, I went out with a woman three times in a couple of weeks. We had great chemistry, and despite the fact that I was a customer service representative at JDate pulling in barely $30K, I’d paid for everything. First date was $60. Second date was $90. The third date was brunch the morning after the second date. She’d ordered a dozen bagels and then realized she’d forgotten her wallet. No big deal. An innocent mistake. She generously offered to pick up our next date.

She called me at work the following day to tell me of a play that sounded like fun. She said she was busy at work and asked if I could find out if there were tickets available. No problem. I called the theater and learned there were only six left. What’s a guy to do? No big deal, I bought a pair of tickets and figured she’d pick up dinner before we went out.

After our $40 meal, she put down her credit card and went to the bathroom. When she came back, she noticed that I didn’t put in my credit card to pick up or split the check. Upon which she glared at me and said, with a ton of venom and not a shred of irony: “What am I, your sugar mama?!”

Being generous, especially to someone you care about, is an incredible feeling – right up there, I’m told, with having everything paid for by someone else.

Yeah, being a guy isn’t always the most rewarding thing in the world. But what are you gonna do? I’ve stopped wondering about what’s “fair” and have decided to embrace the system I’ve inherited. In this system, a guy pays unquestionably, and if a woman offers to pay, he is supposed to say no. At least on the first few dates. Or as long as she’s being courted. Or maybe always. It depends on the woman. We can never know unless we let down our guard and allow her to pick up a check. And by then, it’s often too late to justify your behavior.

This is a quandary all right and there is no one right answer. Until now. As your friendly neighborhood single dating coach, I’m going to give you the definitive rulebook on how to negotiate this tricky territory, once and for all….

WHAT PEOPLE SAY:

HER: He should WANT to pay for me.

Yes, and, generally, that is the case. Being generous, especially to someone you care about, is an incredible feeling – right up there, I’m told, with having everything paid for by someone else. The one time I forgot my wallet on a date, she gracefully picked up the check and told me not to worry. This was both extremely classy, and extremely appreciated.

HIM: She EXPECTS me to pay for everything.

Yes, and that’s the precedent that was established way before you were born. Don’t fight it, just do it with a smile, ’cause if you don’t, you ain’t getting another date.

HER: He SHOULD pay, especially at the beginning.

This logic is a little dicier. Why should a man pay? Because it’s chivalrous? Consider that chivalry started at a time when men worked and women didn’t. Women, literally, could NOT pay. Thus, men picking up the check sprung out of necessity, not out of kindness. It has since been codified into a gentleman’s code, which is considered in very poor taste to question. I’m not questioning, but see how angry you are that I’m even bringing it up?

HIM: But SHE asked me out.

So what? If etiquette says that you pay for the first date, and she expects you to pay for the first date, and you can afford to pay for the first date, then pay for the damn first date.

HER: It doesn’t matter what he makes. A gentleman always pays. It indicates how he feels about me.

If you offer to split, and he lets you split (or even pick up) the check, he has done absolutely nothing wrong.

If a guy makes a ton of money, I can assure you, it’s his absolute joy and pleasure to spring for every last drink and spa treatment. But there’s a big difference between being cheap and being poor. Cheap means the guy asks the woman to pay for the fish when he ordered the less expensive chicken. Poor means that the guy has trouble making rent if he has to pay for five dates in a month. Put yourself in his position: it’s hard to blame him for wanting to alternate checks.

My solution is, not surprisingly, an equivocation. Let’s all try to understand one another.

Guys, be as generous as possible, not only because she expects you to, but because it’s genuinely rewarding to “be the guy” and make life easier on her.

Women, be sympathetic to the grad student or schoolteacher that doesn’t have the means to be as chivalrous as he’d like. You may not be our sugar mamas, but please don’t take it for granted that we’re your ATM’s, okay?

Postscript: A version of this article was written five years ago. Since that time, I find myself in a much greater position to be generous. I remain sympathetic to men who can’t blindly pick up every single check.

My slightly revised position for who pays on a first date is this:

He grabs the check immediately.

She does the “fake reach.”

He waves her off and insists on paying.

She thanks him for his generosity.

End of scene.

Presuming the man can safely afford it, this script should play out on every date during the courting phase.

HOWEVER:

You, as a man, can’t get mad if she doesn’t make the offer to split. If you offer to take her out, expect to pay for the whole thing, and be pleasantly surprised if you don’t have to.

You, as a woman, can’t get mad if he accepts your reach. If you offer to split, and he lets you split (or even pick up) the check, he has done absolutely nothing wrong. It’s not a game or a test, unless you treat it like one.

One final, overriding note for men: It doesn’t matter if it’s coffee or dinner, whether you make more or she makes more, whether you asked her out or she asked you out. You can never go wrong by paying.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Ramon Thomas

    I disagree here. Men should not be expected to pay. If we all believe in feminism than we’re equal and that means splitting any bill. Yes it does not seem to do much for attraction but there are ways around it. I really suggest doing things that doesn’t require any money. And avoiding dinner dates at the beginning. They become like interviews. I wrote about it here and also in detail here. Again if money is not supposed to matter and love/chemistry/attraction is all important why stick to an age old tradition if we’re supposedly living in a modern/free/equal world.

    1. 1.1
      Jeannie

      Ramon, where does it say we all believe in feminism? Or that every feminist has the same definition of what it means? Equal right laws were established for education & employment, not for romantic/sexual relationships!
      People spend  $$$ on what is a PRIORITY to them, so a man NOT WANTING TO SPEND SOME $ on me initially is very telling to me.   Notice I say “some”…And money does matter & it is naive to think there is 100% equality in this world. BTW, I am an older woman, so I may have had much more life experience than you,  I do not know your age…

      1. 1.1.1
        Samantha

        Like!!! 👍

      2. 1.1.2
        HonestPanda

        Really? Using the $$$ for priority argument is flawed in that by that logic, the man isn’t YOUR priority. Feminism is about equality. Or it should be. Used to be. Now it’s just filled with angry unattractive women. But.. Going “Dutch” is equal. You need to stop being selfish and writing it off because you are a woman. You are just as responsible. You are (or supposed to be) just as mature. Stop thinking of men as a free meal ticket and as people with their own emotional and financial problems.

      3. 1.1.3
        radu

        Nobody cares you’re an older women. If you can’t afford paying for a meal, get a job. I have no problem paying when I go out. I quite like it. But not everyone can and women expecting man to pay is rude. Get over it, we’re not in the medieval times anymore

        1. Jeannie

          Wow Radu, u know the thoughts of every human being? All u know is your thoughts- u don’t care that I am an older woman, but others do.

          I look like f-ing Tamra Barney, so yes older men do like me & I’m intelligent & kind & funny among many other things. I am a good catch & can pick & choose. So I will choose the man who courts me, period. It’s not rude either, u want to see rude look in the mirror. I don’t give a rats a$$ whether it is 2015 or 1515, a woman is a woman & nature is nature. Go suck your sour grapes elsewhere please!

        2. MikeTO

          I agree, men shouldn’t have to look after women like they are children.

        3. Buck25

          @radu,

          “Nobody cares you’re an older woman”

          Speak for y0urself! You are talking about the women I date. They happen to be people too, whether you put any value on them, or not. Some of them are pretty damn attractive, (to me, anyway)and even the ones who aren’t are often nice ladies, and deserve respect. If I can well afford to pay for a date, why shouldn’t I? It has nothing to do with whether she makes as much as I do, or is poor as a church mouse. I was raised in the SOUTH, you know, that quaint place where we still think a man should be a gentleman, and treat a woman as a lady. This is not about “mooching”; it’s about another “M-word”- it’s called “Manners”. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Anyway, personally, I had rather treat a guttersnipe like a lady, than ever treat a lady like a guttersnipe (although if a woman does prove to be a guttersnipe, I won’t be dating her more than once). This advice goes for you also, MikeTO (aka “God’s Gift to Women”), and if you “haven’t had sex in 16 years”, I think I can take a good guess as to why. 🙂

          Has it ever occurred to you that, young or old, feminist or not, women like to feel valued and appreciated? No? Well, they do, (just like we do). This is why we open doors for them, seat them at the table , walk them to their door or their car, find creative places/activities to take them on dates, and yes, pick up the tab for the date. (It’s also why, if they really are ladies, they acknowledge the courtesy with a thank you and a smile; a gentleman is always chivalrous, and a lady always gracious).

          I don’t pretend to understand women; quite often I do not; but I do happen to like most of them, most of the time. I am led to wonder if you do.

          Rant over. You are now returned to the (increasingly crude) current popular culture from which you evidently come.

        4. Mara

          Radu, some things never change!  If you can only afford to invite me to McDonald’s, do it and pay for it.  Unfortunately, the aggressive feminism of my new compatriots, great Anerican women, got them what they wished for:  The men forgot that they are men, that even a strong woman is looking for someone at least as strong as she is, someone generous, someone who thinks that he should get up in the subway car to give up the seat or open a door, etc., etc.  So keep saying that we are not in medieval times, see how many dates that would get you.  Good luck!

        5. Lisa Williamson

          Really? We’re not? Then why are we still paid less than men, but still expected to pay more for clothing etc. in order to stay attractive and make the effort for the opposite sex? Seriously, I think we’re worth a $5 dollar stout.

      4. 1.1.4
        Anon

        Why should a woman not spend on me ? I find it telling if a woman does not pay equally.

      5. 1.1.5
        Teri

        Like.!!

        Point is this, gentlemen. We cannot be too cheap. Because then you use us for sex.

         

      6. 1.1.6
        Kristen

        I’m 28 and totally agree

      7. 1.1.7
        alec

        Jeannie, I have spent money on women before and the effect becomes clinical.
        Oh Darling I would like a pair of new boots, why dont we go to a hotel this weekend, I want to go on holidays etc etc. Then one day the relationship becomes a battle ground over finance and seperation/divorse as a result.

        A successful relationship should not center money as the core. Money is an object, earned and should be appreciated, your partner on the other hand is a human being, no different to you and if pushed to far will run away or kill himself because to him life cannot get any worse for him as his wanting partner has become complacent that money will always be around when she needs it.

        Be real here, Gender equality although not perfect has improved and women are working and earning money. Remove the stereotype male from your mind, take him for who he is, treat him with love and you will find you will never have to ask again for personal things if and when he can afford it.

      8. 1.1.8
        MikeTO

        That’s feminism. They claim equal rights. Women work so why should a man pay for the date? If I ever dated if she didn’t even offer to pay the tip I wouldn’t even call her for another date.

    2. 1.2
      Addie

      men should ALWAYS pay! 

      1. 1.2.1
        Mike

        You want men to pay so you can go on a date with a different man every night just because it does not cost you anything!!! But men have to go on expensive date and spend $$$ on you women and then do not hear of you again!

        Stop leeching on men and pay for your own darn food! 

        1. Jeanne

          Mike, stop leeching off of women for sex.
           
           Buy a round trip plane fare to Parumph, NV where prostitution is legal & go to the Chicken Ranch where basic no frills sex (no oral or anal) would cost you $500-1,000
           
          Or stay home on a Sat. nite w/ a 98 cent frozen Banquet TV dinner + a tube of lube.
          PROBLEM SOLVED!

        2. Teri

          Actually, if I’m not interested, I pay half.

          They’ve done research on this (yes, money well spent LOL).

          If a woman pays anything on the first date, means she don’t wanna see you again….

        3. Evelyn

          Do you really think it’s worth it for us to spend time with undesirables just for a free dinner? We women want to spend our time and considerable money on wardrobe, hair, makeup, etc. to waste two hours to determine if we like a guy just to get a free meal?

        4. alec

          Take the man for who he is and not your father

        5. MikeTO

          Jeanne I don’t have sex with women.  I haven’t had sex in 16 years.  I don’t want casual sex so don’t accuse me of leeching off women for sex.

          It’s women who desperately want sex with me.  I just ignore them!

      2. 1.2.2
        anon

        and women should ALWAYS “put out” on the first date.

        1. mp

          Omg – is that really how we earn our dinner these days?  I’m so lost; I’ve had guys tell me they don’t feel like men if their date offers to pay.  I would pay, honestly, but I’m afraid of screwing something up when I do.

      3. 1.2.3
        Anon

        why should men pay ????

      4. 1.2.4
        Buck25

        @ Addie,

        And when they do, women should always be gracious, and show a little appreciation (and by that, I do not mean having sex with us-a sincere “thank you” and a smile go a long way).

    3. 1.3
      BKB

      Yes, in a world where the man insists on pulling the feminism card to justify splitting the bill, be prepared to only date feminists. You know, the women who won’t let you open their door. The women who act like men. Is that the kind of woman you want to date? Fine. Leave the ladies for the rest of us gentlemen to court.

      1. 1.3.1
        David

        nope, the woman whom I want to date is one who respects me and treats me as an equal – so one who doesn’t go to the date with the attitude that “I’m the woman, so feel honored that I blessed you with my company”.

        Picking up the bill is just part of it. It’s a gesture – so it’s not something you have the right to expect from me, but something you should appreciate if I choose to do so.

        Expecting me to unconditionally pay your share is rude toward me – because it sends me the message that you view me being able to go to a date with you much more of a privilege than you being able to go to a date with me. That’s being on a very high horse.

        And don’t get me wrong: if I see that the other party also makes gestures, make visible effort and show enthusiasm for the chance that (with time and MUTUAL effort) we might make a good pair – then I’m more than inclined to pick up the bill because then it would be an honest gesture filled with real meaning not just some empty show of “good manners”.

        1. Bubbles

          Believe me. You don’t want a woman who doesn’t expect you to pay. Several reasons. The first is that if she wants to split the bill, she doesn’t care what you think of her. She doesn’t want to ‘owe’ anything. i.e. she doesn’t like you and may not be interested in a goodnight kiss, let alone a second date or whatever it is you really, really want. Second. If a woman is too ‘easy’ and ‘eager’ you won’t be interested in her. You’ll like her for that quick ‘f’ then you’ll choof off to the next ‘eager beaver’ waiting around for you to pay her the slightest attention. Women who pay either a) don’t have much choice in the dating world or b) have lots of choice, don’t particularly like you and are kind enough not to rob you of your hard-earned.

          You decide….

      2. 1.3.2
        MikeTO

        LOL Women have benefited from feminism.  A woman doesn’t have to be a feminist to benefit from it.

    4. 1.4
      Kellie

      I pay to get my hair, skin, and nails looking beautiful. I pay for the lovely dress you GET to see me in that shows a little bit of what you LOVE looking at. I pay to keep my smile bright and white that you like to see shine. My laugh and sweet company is payment. If a good man doesn’t have enough money to continuously take me out, he simply plans something thoughtful and free. No man-boys for me.

      1. 1.4.1
        Adreana

        Love your comment!

        I actually think being ultra feminine in the appearance deters man-boys and those who want the women to pay. I have always maintained my appearance, but I realize that if I dress casual it attracts exactly the kind of guys I don’t want…” hey, she’s low-maintenance so that means it doesn’t take much to impress her”. When you have you’re hair done, a nice dress and high heels…they know you expect more on a date, and they treat you like a lady.

        Truth be told, I don’t mind paying every now and then or even buying him gifts ( after commitment) , but if they guy doesn’t want to pay in the first few dates ,he is telling you he doesn’t see you as his dream woman.

      2. 1.4.2
        David

        Does that mean that you usually don’t go to the hairdresser, don’t make your nails shiny or whatever you do with them, and don’t wear lovely dresses?

        And will  you throw out your lovely dress after our date and not wear it anymore – for example for other dates, possibly with other men?

        Don’t think so.

        And if  really not, then I see some serious logical faults in your argument.

      3. 1.4.3
        Bubbles

        Perfect. I’m a doll too. I have my choice.

        Men, you pay to have a chance with me….not forever…because if I like you, I split things down the middle further along the line…but at the outset you pay for the opportunity to let me let you get to know me.

    5. 1.5
      cheryl gero

      You are so kind and generous.

    6. 1.6
      Angie B

      Equality as you explain it is not the same as equity. Even in the USA, women still only make .75 cents for every dollar a man makes. The person of most means should pay most of the time. Paying equally should not mean a financial hardship for either partner.

      Men are hilarious.

      They want to be the pursuer yet have it cost them nothing.

      If you wont let him pay, he’s usually a bit insulted. It’s like saying “this is not a real date” to most men.

      If you offer to split they refuse.

      Then they come on the Internet and complain about having to pay.

      1. 1.6.1
        Adreana

        I think they should stop taking out women on fancy dates if they can’t afford it. The problem with many men is that they give the women the impression that this is their lifestyle ( with or without her), and later down the line they blame the woman for draining their money. Why not go do something FUN that actually doesn’t require a lot of money?

        Oh right, it’s because these guys are not charming enough to create  a fun, atmosphere…their “true” idea of a good yet cheap date is watching Netflix. If I was a guy, I would have picnics at the park, walks at the beach, go to local musical events/festivals…etc.

        And if money is truly a concern, I wouldn’t be wasting my time on dating but doing whatever I can to improve my situation.

        1. SQ

          You sound like you’re saying a not well off man doesn’t deserve a realtionship as much as a well off one becuase he can’t spring for nice dates.

        2. MikeTO

          I haven’t dated in 16 years.  And I saved a ton of money.  it’s great women are so boring I rather spend my time working out.

        3. Buck25

          @SQ,

          “You sound like you’re saying a not well off man doesn’t deserve a relationship a much as a well off one because he can’t spring for nice dates”

          Where is it written that “nice date” and “expensive” are synonyms? Not in my book. If a guy is short on cash, he can come up with date ideas that are fun without costing so much, like Adreana mentioned. Matter of fact, this is not a bad idea when a guy isn’t short on cash, especially when the couple are still in the “getting to know you” phase. Instead of trying to impress a woman by flashing a lifestyle that may be beyond your means, why not invite her into the lifestyle you actually live? Take her on a picnic, to the museum, or a local festival. If she’s into it, ask her to go on a bike ride, or go kayaking with you. There’s a lot of free or at least cheap fun out there; all you gotta do, is be a little creative and look. It’s authentic, It’s original (women get taken on dinner dates all the time), it doesn’t break your budget, and she just might appreciate the opportunity to get to know who you really are and have fun at the same time (Just don’t take her on any “five mile military hikes”; I may never live that one down here, lol!)

      2. 1.6.2
        Adreana

        It’s no that he doesn’t “deserve” a relationship, it’s just he’s not in the right place to have one. I went through a period in my life  where I didn’t date because I was busy going to school and establishing myself financially. If I pursue a relationship when I don’t have my sh*t together, do you think i’m bringing my best?

        No, I would be too worried about paying bills to be present and emotionally attractive for the other person….

        Many men busy themselves trying to convince the “materialistic” ones to change their standards( over the internet) , all the while there are plenty of down to earth, girl-next door types who don’t give a hoot about money.

        Perhaps it’s because the “materialistic” ones  have that “celebrity” appeal to them. Usually these women want someone who can afford a certain lifestyle.

         

        1. SQ

          There are a few flaws in that theory adreana.

          If you end up in a LTR you both are going to have your share of difficulties, setbacks and tragedies, including financial ones. If one can only be a desirable partner during the easy times then most relationships would be doomed to fail.

          Given the recent study that nearly half of Americans couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency, I’d say a whole lot of people are hovering just above, at or beneath making ends meet. So what half the country can’t bring their best to a relationship because they can’t afford to splurge on $200 dates three times a week?

          On one hand you say there are plenty of girl next door types who don’t care about money, but the say a guy should forgo getting involved with women unless he has the money to wine and dine her. ???

        2. Adreana

          No is saying pay $200 on a date, in fact I said if you can’t afford it, take them to out to a picnic in the park, a walk on the beach, free local musical events….etc. Taking the “lazy” way and going to starbucks most of the time, watching Netflix at home, or going to  fast food joints isn’t treating a woman like a lady. If you don’t have enough money, be creative and find something fun to do where you personality can come through.In other words, show her you are “rich” in other ways.

          On one hand you say there are plenty of girl next door types who don’t care about money, but the say a guy should forgo getting involved with women unless he has the money to wine and dine her. ???

          If his situation is that bad, he’s not in the right place to have a relationship ( and neither is a woman IMO). If he’s doing good, but still would rather not wine and dine her. he’s better off pursuing  the girl, next door, humble types.  Don’t pursue the “dolled up” types and lead them to believe you can afford the kind of lifestyle she wants, and blame them later.

          Given the recent study that nearly half of Americans couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency, I’d say a whole lot of people are hovering just above, at or beneath making ends meet

          That may be true for some, but  many men and women have worked really hard on themselves to get and education and establish a good career. I know plenty of them and they don’t worry about financial difficulties. If they were financially stable when they got married and then they had  a setback, that is understandable. The driven ones will do whatever they can to make a good life for themselves and their family.

          But if they weren’t doing good initially, you know what you’re getting into and you can’t make excuses or blame them later.

          This is why I think the upfront, “masterialistic” ones should be appreciated for their honesty. Their are many  women who deep down want to be treated like “princesses”, but they keep it to themselves til after a commitment.

           

           

        3. SQ

          Adreana, it’s one thing to say low income men would probably do well to stay away from materialistic women (actually any man would do well to avoid such women). You’re not saying anything most of these men aren’t already aware of. The ones that come to Internet comment sections like this one to bitch and moan arent unaware, they just don’t like it and are angry about it.

          its another thing to say they should avoid women altogether because they aren’t in the “right” place.

          “That may be true for some, but  many men and women have worked really hard on themselves to get and education and establish a good career. I know plenty of them and they don’t worry about financial difficulties.”

          thats great for them. But i gather it was lost on you when I wrote that the number of those struggling was almost half of all Americans. Or are you suggesting that half just doesn’t work as hard?

          We just see the world in different ways I think.

          I don’t judge people for not being well off (despite what I may earn or have in the bank, which is irrelevant).

          I don’t think I have the right to decide what set of criteria make some worthy of a realtionship or not.

          And I don’t men contradict myself by talking about “so many” girl next door types who don’t care aboit money and then turn around and say a lot of them are princesses disguising their materialism until they get a commitment from a  man.

          What we do agree on: people should just be honest about who they are and what they want, and let the chips fall where they may.

        4. Adreana

          I don’t think I have the right to decide what set of criteria make some worthy of a realtionship or not”.

          My opinion is just a matter of preference. It does not prevent these men from finding genuinely, humble women who are ok being in relationships with someone who doesn’t make much. But,  unfortunately these women don’t receive enough attention and aren’t as appreciated. I really wish those guys would start avoiding the high-maintenance ones and start putting more effort into meeting/dating the more simple women. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

          IMO, a man having purpose, drive, and a good, stable income makes him feel good about himself, and it makes him feel more attractive and more masculine. Hey, I’m a woman and I cannot even imagine going on dates if I wasn’t doing good financially ( or at least be on my way there), so how can a man pursue a relationship and be proud of himself when he’s struggling to pay the bills or he can’t afford a nice ( but reasonable)  dinner for his woman ?  Especially, if he 30+ years old.

          But i gather it was lost on you when I wrote that the number of those struggling was almost half of all Americans. Or are you suggesting that half just doesn’t work as hard?”

          They may be working hard but they’re not working smart. That is the difference in our perception …working hard is admirable, but I admire the ones who work hard  and smart even more.

          “I don’t judge people for not being well off (despite what I may earn or have in the bank, which is irrelevant)”.

          Oh I’m not judging them, I wish them well and I hope they find what they are looking for. But it’s my right to not want to date them. You may not want to date unattractive women -does that mean you’re judging them?

          If your not hurting anyone and the kind of women you want want you back….then why not?  We’re all free to have our preferences.

           

        5. SQ

          “My opinion is just a matter of preference.”

          ok but you did say: “If his situation is that bad, he’s not in the right place to have a relationship.”

          perhaps you meant he’s not in the right place to have a relationship with you because he’s not financially successful. Which is fine but that’s not what you wrote. I was only reacting to what you wrote.

          “They may be working hard but they’re not working smart.”

          we will just agree to disagree that economics and class in America can be viewed in such black and white terms.

          “You may not want to date unattractive women.”

          I don’t. But I’m a straight woman.
          “We’re all free to have our preferences.”
          Yes. We are.

        6. Adreana

          “I don’t. But I’m a straight woman”.

          LOL! my bad! 🙂

          I hope the men you date really appreciate you and treat you well.

          Nice talking to you! .)

           

        7. SQ

          One more comment for Adreana and then I’ll shut up.

          I am a woman and I hate to say it but I agree with a lot of men on this site who seem a little jaded at some of the attitudes expressed here.

          Some women can be unapologetic about their demands but quick to chastise and ridicule men when they talk about having demands of their own. A man who will only date an attractive woman is shallow and punching above his league, but a woman who will only date a well off man is justified and pursuing her right to date what she’s sees as her equal.

          Some women talk about wanting to be equals but don’t see a disconnect when they expect men do all the asking and paying, and buy them expensive rings when they propose.

          Lets face it: human mating instinct is grounded in selfish and self serving behavior, and wanting to get the best we can while limiting others choices. Can we please stop trying to rationalize it and pretend it’s something else?

           

        8. Adreana

          “human mating instinct is grounded in selfish and self serving behavior, and wanting to get the best we can while limiting others choices”.

          Absolutely! 🙂 We all want what we want, and as long as it’s effective there is no reason to lower our standards.

          All is fair in the game of love and war. 😉

        9. Adreana

          Evan,

          You know what?

          Judging from the comments on several articles, I think the disconnect is largely due to cultural factors and how each person was raised.  Where I am from originally ( Lebanon), a man shouldn’t even think of pursuing a serious relationship/ marriage until he’s able to be a good provider for his wife and family. Mind you, unlike neighboring countries , the women are fairly liberal and they pursue college degrees and a good education….but even with all of that “equality“, it is considered shameful( and emasculating)  for a guy to expect a woman to pay in the beginning stages, or to even continually take her out to coffee dates.

          Men are also expected to  ask out women, and they don’t seem to despise it SO much as American men. Not saying they are “better” ( they have their issues too), but they still maintain the masculine role ( in dating)  no matter how “powerful” and independent women become…

          Sure, women are expected to maintain their appearance and femininity, but most see it as pleasure and not a burden.

          Somehow they are not considered a “goldigger” or selfish because it’s “normal” and even expected to want these things. I view it as loving yourself, and doing whatever you can to live the best possible life. 🙂

          This has definitely given me a lot to think  about. I never cared for ethnicity when dating, but things are so much easier and joyous when our values and expectations are fairly close. Could be why there was always “something missing” with the guys I dated.  Good talk everyone!  .)

           

           

           

           

      3. 1.6.3
        Lisa

        So true! You rock for calling out the hypocrites!

    7. 1.7
      Siera Leone

      You’re so wrong man. If you avoid to pay the bill for a girl that you like, that means you’re egoistic human being. You should show her some signs of attention, and that you confidently stand on your feet and have no problems with money.

  2. 2
    smartcookie

    Evan,
    When does the courting phase end? After 3 months???? Once you have the “we’re exclusive” talk?
    I really enjoy reading your blog and am about to purchase your book.
    Thanks, Jen

  3. 3
    Sarah

    I’m 28, I have a good job, and I am completely willing and happy to pay my own way or take turns paying. In fact, I’m insulted if a guy never allows me to pay. It’s 2007! I want to be an equal in a relationship and if a guy feels a girl should never pay, I wonder what else he thinks I shouldn’t do. He can feel free to lift the heavy things though; I’m 5’1″ and just over 110 pounds so muscles aren’t my strength!

    1. 3.1
      Dave

      Sarah your comment is fantastic! I would like to date you or a woman with your type attitude…I would pay for well more then half of our dates/activities….. When dating I want to make sure the woman cares about me and not my money…..Thanks for being you!

  4. 4
    ABF

    As a woman, I am frequently confused about this “tradition.” I don’t want some guy thinking I’m a mooch or a golddigger but I also want to know if this guy is potentially someone who will be generous and supportive in the future (and I don’t just mean financially but it is the first way a woman can get an inkling about a guy). From my end, the fake reach – comes off as just that – fake. I certainly don’t want come off as insincere. So, I have resolved to be gracious and thank him for his kindness when he pays. As far as when we start to split or when I pick up the tab – it usually takes me only two – four dates before I start to contribute (i.e. he gets dinner, I get the movie tix, He gets tickets to a play, game etc, I get dinner, drinks, snacks at the event) If the relationship goes beyond a few dates and I sense this guy might stick around for more than an easy lay – well, then I’m giving financially as much as he is (to the point each party can pay).
    Sorry for the long winded response! : )

  5. 5
    Andrea

    I agree with Sarah and ABF. My opinion:
    Guy should always offer, especially on the first date, but when a date slaps down cash or a credit card I ask if I can contribute. Most often he won’t take the money, but I have to (and want to) offer. After going out with a guy a couple of times (like ABF’s 2-4 dates) I insist on paying while noting that he got the last dates and if it’s a guy that I’m consistently dating we more or less contribute equally.

    Guys get shafted when it comes to dating. It costs them more than women. This doesn’t seem fair. Furthermore, I’m financially independent and personally independent and I want to exercise that independence.

  6. 6
    Jaya

    I think of it this way:

    Splitting the tab: tacky
    Taking turns: sexy

    And as far as first dates go, I like the idea that whomever made the invitation pays for it. But it’s really classy for the invitee to do a small gesture like bringing flowers, paying for parking, etc.

  7. 7
    Ramon Thomas

    Please under what circumstances does a woman ever invite a man out on a 1st date? In my research almost 0% of the time the time and therefore they never, ever feel obligated or inclined to pay or go Dutch.

  8. 8
    Jared Meyer

    Great blog, great responses. Thank you for sharing everyone. I have a few thoughts I’d like to share, which are based purely on my preferences and priorities:

    (1) Financial Responsibility. Anyone who forgets their wallet or to bring cash may appear to be financially irresponsible and unprepared. If a date were to attempt to grab the check, I’d ask her about her intentions, and make light of the situation. After all, we’re new friends and open communication would be required. “Whatcha doin?,” I’d ask. I’d then ask her why she was interested in either paying or splitting. Would I pay, though? Yes. Would I like that? If I really like her, I’d even give her an AMEX gift card as well as a “thank you” for taking the time to meet with me. I would be grateful.

    (2) Competitive Advantage. I have the feeling that many of us forget about the competitive nature of dating in the 21st century. Unlike in the past, the number of people we can meet and date now is abundant. If I meet a woman I’m wild about and don’t remain competitive by showing generousity with regard to my time, money, and heart, I will lose out on courting her. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the business-like nature of dating. If she has two gentleman callers, both of whom are attractive, funny, and smart, and both of whom share wonderful chemsitry with the woman, guess which one she’ll go for most? The one who values generousity, security, and “investing in the best.” Let’s face it, money is not bad at all. It provides freedom and flexibility. Who doesn’t want that?

    (3) Invest in the Best. For many years, I had had a negative attitude towards dating and the investment required. Why do you think that is? Aside from being raised a certain way with regard to money (“it’s hard to make,” “you don’t need to spend it,” “save it just in case,” “is it really necessary?,” etc.), I recently realized that the reason I was against paying for dates was because I was dating women that weren’t right for me. You put me in touch with an awesome woman that I can’t wait to meet and I would GLADLY drop $100 on a date. Present me with a nice woman who’s a time-filling distraction in my attempts to meet a life-long partner, and I will resent both her and the Starbucks at which we meet.

    Perceptions, preferences, and priorities. Which are yours and what are you waiting for? Invest in the Best!

    1. 8.1
      Myra Liam

      Who are you Jared????? Because you friggin get it. You sound like a very genuine person and I hope you always meet the same! 🙂

    2. 8.2
      Jeannie

      (1) Financial Responsibility. Anyone who forgets their wallet or to bring cash may appear to be financially irresponsible and unprepared.
      Or MANIPULATIVE!
      If a date were to attempt to grab the check, I’d ask her about her intentions, and make light of the situation. After all, we’re new friends and open communication would be required. “Whatcha doin?,” I’d ask. I’d then ask her why she was interested in either paying or splitting. Would I pay, though? Yes. Would I like that? If I really like her, I’d even give her an AMEX gift card as well as a “thank you” for taking the time to meet with me. I would be grateful.
      Jared, I think you genuinely like women & that you like the women that you date. 
      (2) Competitive Advantage. I have the feeling that many of us forget about the competitive nature of dating in the 21st century. Unlike in the past, the number of people we can meet and date now is abundant. If I meet a woman I’m wild about and don’t remain competitive by showing generousity with regard to my time, money, and heart, I will lose out on courting her. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the business-like nature of dating. If she has two gentleman callers, both of whom are attractive, funny, and smart, and both of whom share wonderful chemsitry with the woman, guess which one she’ll go for most? The one who values generousity, security, and “investing in the best.” Let’s face it, money is not bad at all. It provides freedom and flexibility. Who doesn’t want that?
      Jared, I had similar thoughts  & actually posted on “the law of supply & demand” in another popular forum connected to the biggest free dating site. (free is free & you get what you pay for, LOL) The responses to my post that basically said what you said were very negative. But you hit the nail on the head- people who are more “desireable” (I hate the way it sounds, but let’s not split hairs) will have more to choose from & will pick exactly the way you describe…the downside is…if I woman is very attractive, some men may hold back from pursuing her, feeling that there is “too much competition”- that they will constantly have to be on their toes, cuz others will be pursuing them 24/7. I find that insecure & mildly insulting, but I can see why a man would feel that way.
      (3) Invest in the Best. For many years, I had had a negative attitude towards dating and the investment required. Why do you think that is? Aside from being raised a certain way with regard to money (“it’s hard to make,” “you don’t need to spend it,” “save it just in case,” “is it really necessary?,” etc.), I recently realized that the reason I was against paying for dates was because I was dating women that weren’t right for me.
      I LOVE what you say here…I would HATE to be a woman on a date w/ a guy THAT WAS NOT INTO ME…my take on online dating is so many people meet so many people but very few make a connection & many people seem to have “filler” dates/relationships. I’d rather have LESS dates & only w/ men who really were digging me!

       
      You put me in touch with an awesome woman that I can’t wait to meet and I would GLADLY drop $100 on a date. Present me with a nice woman who’s a time-filling distraction in my attempts to meet a life-long partner, and I will resent both her and the Starbucks at which we meet.

      I feel you so nailed it- however the owners of these dating sites would go out of business…the whole premise works on people idly meeting people endlessly so to stay on their sites & keeping on shelling out their $$ to meet yet another person who they feel lukewarm about! 
      Perceptions, preferences, and priorities. Which are yours and what are you waiting for? Invest in the Best!

      I think when doing online dating, the more truthfully you portray yourself, the more you will screen out people who would be lukewarm about you & not waste any time—I’d prefer 3 dates a year w/ suitable men than 100 dates w/ random men! Eventually a person’s ego would get bruised from all that rejection! 

    3. 8.3
      Karin

      You nailed this! I completely agree with you!!

  9. 9
    Lori

    It costs alot of money to date when you are a woman. To prepare, I need to visit the salon (new men do not want to see gray roots), have a manicure or pedicure or both (feet seem to be very interesting these days) and arrange for a sitter. Every first date ends up costing me over $50.00 at least. Follow up dates begin to cost less (hair hasn’t gone gray yet) but if you want to keep seeing the guy, you cannot let up on body maintenance at all. By the time the check comes, it just evens up the financials.
    Guys, beauty costs $$$$$, so have some understanding

    1. 9.1
      Dr. Jackson

      O  M   G!!! Are you serious?! Have some understanding?!! Okay, we as men have to stay “groomed,” too! It cost us money…maybe not as much as you (i don’t know, there are a lot of metrossexual males out there). But most importantly, we have to have the great job/career, the nice car/house, and a hefty bank account in which to attract you. So, Lori…try to have some “understanding.” (Mic drop)

  10. 10
    Jadee

    I only started dating again as a divorcee 3 years ago, and I can count on one hand how many times a man has paid for me. Two of which was just a single glass of wine. I have always had to pay my own way and is very tough being a single mom, because I am also having to pay for a sitter.

    Is it some unwritten rule that if you have already been married/divorced that the man doesn’t have to pay? Or does the man think that I am getting child support and should be able to pay for dates? Either way, I am tired of getting screwed around on money.

    For a first date, I would love to be “treated” like a lady. But I also love to be creative and cook at home, do a picnic, etc….I will be glad to make up for the “first date costs” with contributing to future dates.

    I think I need to do what my friends have told me and leave my wallet at home! I just don’t want to ever be stuck out at dinner and then he doesn’t pay…then what?

  11. 11
    Erika Moore

    Okay, okay, nearly everyone has a point here. But why has NO ONE commented on the rude behavior of the “Sugar Mama” shrew? This woman had “forgotten” her wallet (please), OFFERED to pay for a next date (talk about disingenuous), manipulated a low-earning guy into buying theatre tickets, finally offensively making it clear that she had no INTENTION of paying for the next date. Is this really the kind of woman you guys want for a girlfriend (regardless of chemistry)?

    While of course it’s nice to be treated like a princess (and boy oh boy, do we appreciate it!), I always thought that there was sort of a sliding scale: If my date is pulling down the big hedge fund bucks, it’s a pretty simple decision for me not to jump on a check (probably forever, if it comes to that, my reciprocity taking the form of nurturing acts like home-cooked dinners). If I’m sitting across from a starving actor, it just seems MEAN to let him pick up much more than coffee.

    Anyway, it works for me, it’s what I tell my clients, and I’ve been personally blessed in the great men department.

    1. 11.1
      tamara

      I agree, that woman sounds like a ‘b*tch’, in fact I can barely believe the guy’s account of the story is real, because she sounds so horrible. I hope most women would never dream of being so nasty. That poor guy
       

  12. 12
    Judy

    Just throwing in my 2 cents – there are more ways to pay than with money (okay, get your heads out of the gutter). Because of my age (59) and traditions about dating when I was young, I am very uncomfortable paying for a date. However, I’m one of the most generous people you’ll ever meet. So I invite my guy for dinners and brunches at my house (groceries cost money, too); house parties given by my friends; volunteer social activities where I have given the contribution. All these ‘dates” don’t cost him anything. So, as I see it, we’re both generous to each other – just in different ways.

    1. 12.1
      Kristen

      I’m 28 and totally agree

  13. 13
    Giyoret

    I posted this on Jewlicious–funny, this also came up in conversation with friends recently:

    Splitting checks? Does not work. If everyone is gainfully employed, it’s just one of those social things that both parties understand. If I split with a guy, I feel like I’m trying to give him the message that I do not want to want to “owe” him anything and that I am buying the option not to be anything to him. C’mon. It’s not a financial transaction; it’s obviously an emotional one. If you approach dating as a good time, then maybe the splitting makes sense, because it’s entertainment. But if someone is looking for an exclusive, committed relationship, to me the money is just a means of investing in that. I’m not talking about wild extravagance here. If we end up getting married, my money and yours gets thrown in together in some fashion anyway, so how much time really is spent with the guy paying?

    I think it demonstrates a willingness not to be petty and keep score. An ex of mine, who had an expense acct. and who was making close to $300k while I was a single mom with a spotty freelance income at the time, would sometimes give me the vibe that I should be paying the check. And I did, like an ass. In 9 months he never bought me a present, or flowers; it was obvious that money had many, many strings attached for him. I did a lot of other things for him and was very supportive. I thought, you know, each person contributes what he/she can and that’s good enough. If we had to limit our going out to what I could afford to reciprocate, we wouldn’t go out to places we were going.

    I think economic stinginess correlates to emotional stinginess (it was in that case). Paying for dates, being polite and romantic gestures are significant because they are unequivocal messages: that the guy likes you, is interested in making you happy . Even if he thinks it’s a silly social constraint, a guy who is not willing to play the game demonstrates that he doesn’t care about the message he gives.

    Who needs that???

    1. 13.1
      Michelle

      Omg I loved what you said. I see some guys are total douches about not wanting to pay for one simple date. It doesn’t even have to be an expensive date anyway. To me that signifies how much he is willing to invest in that person. I think whoever asks is the one who should pay for the first date in my honest opinion but that is just my belief.

  14. 14
    Jen

    There are still girls in the world that think drinks are free at bars, spoiled by the fact that there will always be a sucker guy around to pick up the tab.

    But that bitch was seriously rude. I would’ve shanked her in the throat.

    1. 14.1
      Dr. Jackson

      Jen…i love your response!!! I am a doctor and i have met women who would try and talk with me because i could afford to buy the bar. Don’t think that successful men are stupid…how do you think we got to where we are? If i am interested in you, i have already decided to buy you a drink, just like how women know if a guy will be lucky that night. Don’t be spoiled and self-centered. it’s not always about you and your needs/wants. I really hate that “Be a gentleman” crap!!!! Oh, really? Why do women always want a gentleman when they want us to buy them things or “treat them like princesses?” Well, two can play at that game….why can’t women be “ladies” and treat “gentlemen” like princes and spoil them with affection? Yeah, i know…shallow, right?

  15. 15
    mrs. vee

    There really isn’t a right answer to this question of who’s to pay. It obviously varies by people’s tastes/preferences/upbringings. If it’s an issue to either person on the date, then there’s an incompatibility right off the bat. It doesn’t bode well for the stuff that actually matters – like… if you’re gonna be compatible in terms of lifestyle, morals & intellect – if you’re getting hung up on this goofy litmus test so early on in the courtship.

    I also can’t help but comment on some of the warped senses of parity I’m seeing exhibited on this topic, even in this thread of comments. Sorry, but one’s trips to the salon for a mani/pedi and Brazilian wax do NOT count as financial contribution to the relationship. First off, it’s an optional step, as I know plenty of women content (or confident enough) in their looks to prepare for a date without professional grooming. And secondly, a lady’s upkeep is a pre-date expense, some thing you should be doing anyway regardless of your dating activity.

    Anyway, simply put, if the petty financial stuff isn’t feeling comfortable to both parties, it’s probably not going to work.

  16. 16
    belledujour

    i hate cheap men, i hate cheap men with ugly looking even more!

    once i was involved with this cheapskate with a man who would buy a bar of chocolate for me (he said) then he halved it!! the same goes for sandwiches, hamburgers etc.. and sometimes he made complain that i never offered to pay (which was of course a hoax)

    one day he told me that he got me a gift, guess what? it was one packet of oil blotting papers made from china! he never gave me anything for my bday, christmas, valentine’s day etc.. while i got him an expensive gucci belt for his bday, a whole set of gucci perfume, after shave, soap etc for valentine’s day

    people consider me as a very good looking girl with great career, great personality and interesting social life, i thought that it would be a waste of time staying with that cheapskate so finally in the end i ditched him!

    well nothing is free in this world, if he would like to go out with me, he should pay and if he’s willing to give me a gift, better give me appropriate ones, becoz those kind of cheap gifts was truly an insult!

  17. 17
    trouble

    Just from a female perspective…

    I think guys should look for tip-offs about how women deal with the money issue for insights into their personalities….

    I think every woman should at least OFFER to pay on the first date. I always do. If the guy takes me up on it, fine, but he’s definitely paying the next time. Or, we can split it and go dutch. If a woman hasn’t offered to pay by the third date, she thinks you’re a meal ticket.

    If you are okay with that role, fine. But, I’d personally think long and hard about women who force men into that role of having to pay for everything. I suspect you’ll find they are generally pretty selfish and have feelings of entitlement that are going to be a pain in the ass down the road.

    Just my take on it.

  18. 18
    BeenThruTheWars

    Evan says he dislikes “The Rules.” But “The Rules” are tradition in dating codified. I’m a strict Rules Girl and credit them with helping me find my amazingly wonderful and sweet second husband, who treats me like gold and gets treated that way in return. (I also credit Evan for personally helping me rewrite my online profile, but that’s off topic.) At the time we were dating, I made six times more than my now-husband makes. However, he paid for almost everything the first 2 1/2 months we were dating, about 12 dates, until he asked me to be exclusive. During that time, I bought him a drink and appetizers once in return for helping me set up a spreadsheet; provided the wine (expensive/good stuff) when we had a nightcap at my house before he went home; and paid for valet parking during a date downtown (big city, valet was $15, it was one component of an expensive evening he planned, and he graciously accepted my offer to pick that up). About four of the dates were what I would call expensive (more than $50 out of his pocket for the evening’s food and entertainment). The rest were a movie and a pizza, or dinner at a little neighborhood Mexican joint and a lovely walk afterwards, or $10 lawn tickets to a concert with a picnic, or him having me over and cooking dinner for me, or taking me to a party to meet his friends, etc. etc. Relatively cheap evenings given the big city we live in, but we still had a blast in a casual setting. In short, he provided what he could comfortably afford, I graciously and gracefully received whatever it was he had to offer and thanked him for it and expressed my appreciation through affection (not sex until after we were exclusive) and the pleasure of my company. I was evaluating: “Do I enjoy and appreciate what he has to offer me as a companion and a potential partner?” and he was evaluating me as, “Is this the kind of woman who I can make happy with what I have to offer, do I like how I feel when I can provide these things for her, is she easy to be with?” etc. etc. He did all the calling, all the asking out, and never expected me to pay; he was the man, I was the woman, and that’s how he was brought up to do things, period. He’s old-fashioned and so am I. He loved pursuing me — he told me with something akin to awe on more than one occasion, “You are the first woman it was ever totally my idea to be with and pursue.” All the other women he’d dated threw themselves at him, asked him out, slept with him on the first or second date, and promptly started hinting about moving in with him — which made him promptly head for the hills. None of them acted like a lady and expected him to properly court her. I did, and he responded happily; it gave us a solid foundation to get to know each other, grow to become friends, fall in love and commit — all in the right order. He never felt uncomfortable paying for dates because he never spent more than he could afford. He always picked me up and brought me home, so he was paying for gas and keeping his car immaculate and spending his time driving, too. As some of the women above commented, I spent plenty of dough as well getting as prettified as possible when he came a-courtin’ (manicures, pedicures, hair done, nice clothes, etc.) After we were exclusive, I cooked him dinner sometimes, offered to pick up a tab once in a while, sprang for play tickets (I have a subscription), etc. But he still drove, courted me, and paid for 80% of everything — and he did so gladly, because he was proud to introduce me as “my lady,” then “my fiancee” (after six months of dating) and now “my wife.” Now that we’re married, yes — I pay for 80% of our living expenses, which is as it should be proportionate to our current incomes — however, whenever we have “date night” on Friday night, he pays for everything, opens the car door for me, helps me on with my wrap, etc. He loves doing it and I love being treated that way. If we go to dinner and a play, I pay for the tickets, he gets dinner… now it’s fully reciprocal. But in the early days of courting me, before we were exclusive — no way. That is what was comfortable for us. It might not be comfortable for everyone. But this “Hey, get with it, it’s 2007, the girl can ask a guy out and pay for everything!” stuff… it never worked for him or me. He’s in his mid-30s, by the way, I’m in my mid-40s, so it’s not like we’re ancient relics. I know casual hookups and girls being aggressive and asking guys out has become normalized behavior for those in their teens and twenties, and well… to each his own. But if you ladies (and gents) out there would like another perspective pick up a copy of “All The Rules” and take a peek next time you’re at a bookstore roaming around with your cappuccino. It’s “how things were done” back in the day when men were gentlemen and women were ladies — and today among gentlefolk, still, in my humble opinion. The Rules are great as a starting point for this very worthwhile debate, if nothing else.

  19. 19
    BeenThruTheWars

    P.S. — for you guys out there who really wanna be cool and impress your date? The absolute best response to my attempting to pick up the check on an early date was from a guy I went out with for a few months about 10 years ago (before I knew about The Rules). He smiled at me (check firmly in hand) and said, “Sweetheart, if you can get to the check before I do — it’s all yours.” Now THAT was a classy move. I will remember that moment fondly as long as I live. (This is the same fellow who, on his dating profile, in response to the question “Do you wish to have children?” answered it with “Only if I meet their mother.”)

    1. 19.1
      Jess

      I wouldn’t reccomend this to most men. Calling a woman ” Sweetheart” like that is seen as condescending.

  20. 20
    Jaya

    Jared wrote, “You put me in touch with an awesome woman that I can’t wait to meet and I would GLADLY drop $100 on a date. Present me with a nice woman who’s a time-filling distraction in my attempts to meet a life-long partner, and I will resent both her and the Starbucks at which we meet.”

    Great point, and also a reminder how the person doing the inviting has some ability to predict costs by choosing the venue. The first dates when you’re just screening for compatability don’t need to be expensive, long drawn-out affairs.

    I was reading this thread with interest because I just started dating again after a 7 year relationship. Last night, I had my first date with a guy I met online.

    Here’s how we navigated it: He suggested dinner, and asked me where would be a good in my area. I gave him a choice of 2 places: the more upscale restaurant with the nicer ambiance, but also said “and the tacqueria in town is amazing, too.” I felt like that gave him some control over the budget (though I still didn’t know how the bill-splitting thing would go.) When the check arrived, he said, “I’d like to buy you dinner… I want to. It feels like you’re the kind of woman who appreciates that.” Totally. Besides Jared’s point about wanting to feel that the date was a worthwhile investment, I think women need to show guys who pay some appreciation. Acknowledge them for being gallant gentlemen, and they generally love to act that way.

  21. 21
    sheseizereason

    Was belledujour for real? If so, the lady’s a liability for the rest of us gals (and fellas please know she’s just ONE type of female on the dating scene, and a vaguely racist and illiterate one at that). I don’t understand why ‘belle’ even stayed in the relationship long enough to last thru 2 holidays and invest in a Gucci belt if the guy was so repulsively “Chinky” to her.

    I’m the first to admit that finances are a genuine measure of longterm compatibility. A well-earning woman (or man) has the right to limit her dating choices to only those partners who won’t interfere with their financial goals. But with silly stuff like token gifts and who bought the coffee last time? If you’re serious about the guy, and especially if you’re in a lower tax bracket than him, it’s really not fair to judge him on his generosity.

    Bottom line: you can’t fashion your relationship into a perrenial game of tit-for-tat. If you do, then you deserve a guy as shallow as you (which means it’s fair game for him to dump you when someone younger and hotter than you comes along).

    You can have a nurturing relationship where the two of you grow from each other and like being in each other’s company for better or worse. Or you could be in constant “what have you done for me lately” mode, adding up the cash value of his gifts and focusing on what YOU’RE getting out of the deal. You can’t have both.

  22. 22
    Miss Julie

    Obviously there’s a lot of variation on this one, but my feeling as a feminist is “if I asked, I expect to pay.” So if I contact the guy and say “let’s do something” I expect to pick up the tab. If he wants to, that’s very kind of him and will probably let him (depending on what I judge to be the sincerity of the offer), but I wouldn’t be upset if he didn’t offer to pay. Now, if he asks, I expect him to pay, and I wouldn’t be thrilled if I were expected to contribute. After the first couple dates back and forth, this issue seems to iron itself out, but that’s how I start out with a new guy.

  23. 23
    BeenThruTheWars

    I’ve always been interested in the argument that letting the guy do the asking out, the pursuing, and the paying — at least in the early going — while the woman graciously receives what the man has to offer while evaluating whether to continue seeing him — is somehow incompatible with the goals and ideals of feminism.

    I consider myself a feminist to the extent that I acknowledge with extreme gratitude the sacrifices our foremothers made so that we daughters of the revolution could truly do with our lives whatever we wanted and succeed according to our own gifts and determination; and that I view men’s and women’s worth in the workplace, legal system, and other such venues to be equal and worthy of equitable compensation. (Notice I didn’t say “equal” because our society is closer to a meritocracy than a true democracy.)

    But… when it comes to dating and romance… men are different from women. This is worth repeating: Men are different from women.

    This viewpoint isn’t about sexual politics; it’s about biology and instinct and hundreds of thousands of years of human development. So if a woman is all about ideology, that’s cool — ask guys out, pay for the dates, do the calling and pursuing, lavish him with trips and expensive gifts, and feel great about being “equals.” But then please don’t scratch your heads later and wonder why he stopped calling, or suddenly got REALLY busy at work, or dumped you for someone new (and more mysterious and elusive), or just didn’t seem to be that into you and won’t commit.

    By being the romantic and sexual aggressor, you took his job away. Men are all about what they do/accomplish/conquer. When you usurp their natural role in the romantic scheme of things, they either get lazy and put it in park and happily let you provide everything until you feel sucked dry and totally taken for granted; or else quickly lose interest and seek that challenge that gets their motors humming elsewhere.

    Why? Because men are different from women.

    It just depends on what your goal is, ladies: to feel like you are being ideologically correct, or to be happily married or partnered up with a man who feels like he went out and worked hard and earned himself the catch of all time, and treats you accordingly. To be a success in the workplace requires a completely different set of skills and strategic behaviors than being successful in the search for a compatible life partner. Take it from me, I learned this the hard way (and it only took me 35 years)!

  24. 24
    Susan

    Very interesting discussion. As a modern woman, I have often wondered why men are still expected to pay for all dates. This seems ridiculous now that women are earning salaries too–albeit at 70 cents on the dollar. That said, I think it’s a really classy gesture if a man offers to pay for a first date. Still, I will always offer to contribute. (But, yes, I have to admit it impresses me more if he refuses my offer.) After the first date, I think it’s entirely appropriate to alternate picking up checks casually. (Not keeping fanatical track of who spent what, in other words.) I’d much rather do that than split checks, which is just tacky.

    Oh, and we ladies really should get credit for other contributions we make. When I started dating my ex, many of our first dates were lush picnics which I shopped, paid for, and prepared the food, brought wine, etc. Even though I wasn’t taking him out someplace fancy, there was real expense involved, and more importantly time, consideration, and effort.

    I also agree a bit with the woman who commented on a man’s financial generosity reflecting his emotional generosity. I’m quite poor, and to be perfectly honest I’ve VERY uncomfortable with men spending money on me. So I truly don’t want any big gestures. But little ones really do mean a lot to me. You picking up coffee equals me baking you cookies. We appreciate little gestures; it doesn’t have to be painting the town red.

  25. 25
    Lisa

    If someone resents the cost of dating, perhaps they should think of different types of dates. Some of the best dates I’ve had were simply sitting on the couch watching a movie on cable, talking, going to a party, having friends over for a pot luck. Sure it’s fun to go to a restaurant once in awhile, or a concert, or an event, but is it really necessary to do something that requires a cash outlay just to spend time together?

    I don’t pay for dates. But I also don’t expect to be “treated” to something pricey every time either.

  26. 26
    Miss Julie

    For me it’s more important that I be true to what I think is right and fairly represents me than it is that I tantalize a guy. My personal brand of feminism tells me that if I initiate contact with a guy, then it is my responsibility to be able to pay for that contact. If this turns a guy off, well, then he and I weren’t going to last for very long anyway. In other words, yes, it is more important to me to be ideologically correct (according to my personal ideology, not some dictate by the media about “Feminism”), than it is for me to have a boyfriend. Fortunately, I have the luxury of having both, at the moment.

  27. 27
    PORTIA

    It took me a long time to come around to this – 17 years of living in the South – but if its a date, the guy pays. Men in this part of the world can get pretty offended if a woman even offers to pay.

    Having said that, as a public interest lawyer, I’m sensitive to how expensive it can get if the guy isn’t living off his trust fund or Google stock. I eat out a lot on my own, so I don’t need to be taken to a restaurant that runs $100 a piece for dinner. The guy should, at least in the beginning, pick the place, so it should be somewhere you can afford. If for some reason I’m picking, I generally go with something on the nicer end of what I could afford if I were paying. And any woman who starts ordering lobster and a bottle of the most expensive wine on the list doesn’t deserve a second date.

    My attempt at reciprocity is that after several dates, I will offer to cook dinner or pickup takeout if that’s appropriate. I also think if the relationship gets to the point where you are traveling together, its good to split. I will offer to pay for the hotel if he pays for food. This seems equitable, but doesn’t embarrass someone who doesn’t like it when a woman pays.

    BTW, I would never think of having a date get expensive theatre tickets unless I knew he could really afford it or he offered. That chick needs to be kicked to the curb.

  28. 28
    JuJu

    Not children (and the related expenses) and being blessed with hair that does not require professional intervention to look stunning, I still have to reiterate the point on the sheer expense of being presentable, for a woman. A man can have three pairs of shoes (sneakers, dress shoes, and sandals) and a single suit (if his job doesn’t require him to wear them) and be content. If I, however, wear some dress to an event where all (or some of) my friends are present, I will not be able to wear it again, as everyone’s already seen it. And should I even mention shoes? Truly, no amount is ever enough!

    I disagree, Mrs. Vee. Yes, indeed I like it better with the Brazilian, for myself, but a lot of expenses are purely dating related (impractical sexy lingerie comes to mind – by the way, I briefly dated a significantly older man of 42 who was astounded to hear that an average bra costs around $45), and I am sure some of the self-maintenance procedures I would not have undergone if it weren’t for their sex appeal value.

    There is also the factor of most men I meet making upwards of $100k a year (it’s just that a disproportionately large number of Russian Jews [who happen to be my target audience] are computer programmers ;), which is incomparably more than what I earn. If on top of all my other expenses I had to pay for going out, I’d be downright broke.

    But then, I don’t mind going out for just coffee or drinks when we first meet, or even an entirely “free” date, like going to a park. I realize that a man who is seeing me for the first time in his life does not owe me anything.

    All the points made above about generosity are indeed valid, just a small note to Jared: of course it’s all about it being “worth it” (and so many of my dates just felt like a waste of make-up), but before you meet someone for the first time, how can you know whether you’ll like her? Just suggest something inexpensive so you don’t feel so resentful afterwards. It is truly her problem if she deems you a cheapskate for doing that.

  29. 29
    JuJu

    Not having children, I meant to say.
    Sorry. 🙂

  30. 30
    Nick

    There is definitely an answer to this, and I have it for you, I’m officially closing the case. The day women and society wanted equality and started working is the day I started paying for a woman. Why on earth should I pay for someone who has two hands and two feet, and earns their own money? Sorry, but this is NOT the 18th century anymore. Only suckers pay for women. I don’t need to “buy” a woman to get a date. I don’t care what you guys say, this is the way it should be for all, I don’t care how blindly traditional you are. Paying for a woman was done when she didn’t have a job, and she stayed at home ironing my underwear, and taking care of my children all day. You stupid stupid stupid guys who are paying for women. You will only attract gold diggers that way, and women who appreciate you for you’re services not for you. If she really likes you, she doesn’t care about who pays or not! That woman who this guy talked about in the beginning should be put to sleep. Rape isn’t any worse than what she did. Guys stop paying. I never pay for dates, and I get laid plenty.

    1. 30.1
      menotyou

      There’s that classic “gold digger” argument again. It seems completely lost on you idiot men that when you expect sex from a woman that makes you a “flesh digger”. No difference, except that what you want from a woman is irreplaceable. 

      1. 30.1.1
        Jeannie

        If a man ever pressured me for sex because he spent $ on me (it is rare that a man drops a huge amount on a date unless we are in a serious LTR & it is HIS IDEA) I’d put it to him like this: prostitution is legal at The Chicken Ranch in Nevada. I googled their going rates & the best info I could find out is that as of a few years ago, it was $500 per hour MINIMUM (not including oral or anything other than missionary) + the cost of travel to & from Nevada, & that is just for 1 hour of no frills sex. And plenty of men are willing to do this. Taking that into consideration, why would any man who was not an idiot expect a woman to drop her drawers for a $4 latte @ Starbucks or a $20-30 dinner @ a chain restaurant? I understand that some women are more sexually aggressive/open, but I am talking courtship mode! There should be NO PRICE SET ON SEXUALITY, but if a man is a “flesh digger” & that is HIS MENTALITY then he should be aware of the going rate, & so should women. I am not promoting that women have a meter on their vagina either. I’m just saying if a man or woman is going to view it as a financial transaction of sorts, they should be aware of “The Dow Jones” ;0P

      2. 30.1.2
        MikeTO

        i don’t expect sex.  So you’re wrong.

    2. 30.2
      Dee

      Thanks Nick but unfortunately most women have these expectations. I am also fed up with the entitled attitude. Every once in a while I run into a woman who is different. This is the type of woman that will at least offer. This seems to be a woman with some empathy and understanding.  I have set limits. I will pay for the first date which I have narrowed done to a cup of coffee for the most part. Why should I take someone out on a first date and plop down $30-$60. I am still trying to figure out if we even have chemistry at this point. If by the third date she has not at least offered to pay the tip than this will be expected.  I have seen enough. You set precedence in a relationship. If a man continues to pay than that is what will be the rule. If I get to know the woman and I find that she is not looking at me as a meal ticket than this is where I will become more generous. No one wishes to be used or taken advantage of. Just like a woman does not want a guy to like at her for sex a guy does not want to looked at as a meal ticket. I don’t feel that I have to pay a woman for their time whole dating.

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