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. 31
    sheseizereason

    I say Nick and belledujour oughtta get together just so we can watch the battle royale that ensues.

    And Juju, sorry, but mrs.vee had it right. Your $45 bra is not for anyone but you; it’s what YOU feel you need to wear on a date. One’s dresses, hair, makeup, and other prettifications are optional. Plenty of women don’t need expensive items or preparations to feel ready and sexy for a date. It’s YOUR choice to part with the cash.

    Oh well. All I can say is that often women who rationalize, “I spent $50 bucks getting ready, so he now owes me dinner” will end up with men that think “I spent $50 bucks on dinner, so now she’s gotta blow me.” And thus the world stays in balance.

  2. 32
    Livvy

    I feel that in this day and age, it is important to gauge each situation individually. I am very happy to pay/go dutch but I would like to refer to one date I experience.
    I was a university student and he was a fast rising city bussiness man. He new of my situation and invited me out to dinner when I was next back from university. He chose where we went, which turned out to be a rather expensive restaurant in London (England). He was charming, interesting, very attractive and I had a fabulous time. Until the bill came; it was placed on the table and he pushed it over to me and said “There you go.” He was serious. I couldn’t belive it. He knew there was no way that I could have afforded it, and he didn’t mean just splitting it. I stood up and walked out.
    I would like to stress that if we had gone somewhere else, less expensive, or I had picked the restaurant I would have been happy to contribute (as he invited me) or if I had invited him I would have picked up the cheque.
    It is about give and take. We nolonger live in a society where women can not earn any income, we are financially independant. But it is nice to be looked after.
    Take each date individually, and be sympathetic, this goes for women too.

    Good luck

  3. 33
    Alison

    Woah,
    Nick sounds like a guy who has learned to take advantage- and not someone who knows how to show appreciation and generosity- He may get laid. That seems to be his objective as he bragged about. Most of ‘his’ women eventually may also perceive that and be happy to move on.

    Many women (and men ) wish to be loved and adored. How can we show it? It can be with an expensive meal and travel, or simple desert bought on the spur of the moment. How about having a loved one’s car washed and offering a homemade meal, take someone on an impromptu hike – or for a ride in a private jet? There are many ways to attract another, and show attention towards winning affection.

    So much of what you feel comfortable with is effected by where you come from, and then dependent on what you hope for, want to show about yourself, and are able to do to attract and enagage a prospective partner.

    I think most men and women like to know/feel they are worth the effort and attention. Asking a woman out, treating her, shows her YOU think she is worth it- the time AND expense. And yes, as BeenThruTheWars says- there is biology and years of socialization at work here.

    The emotional meaning goes beyond the factual that many women CAN indeed pay and take care of themselves. Yes – and many men want to feel capable and able – with right to choose- so give them a chance!?

    Many of the women here have expressed it just fine. We will show our gratitude and ‘giving’ natures in other ways or when we do the inviting…..

    I think much of what is given and offered (and accepted) may have to do with whether we feel we have a ‘choice’ or not. It can all be negotiated with good communication.

    Not every woman or man has the same standards. (Culture is at play too)

    That said- I was asked and sought out by a 50+ year old man (from an online site) who arranged to meet inexpensivley for coffee and then did not even offer to buy me a cup. He showed no consideration while waiting on line, no inquiry as to whether I’d like desert with it or not, no helping to find comfortable seating for our conversation, no interest or regard as to my tastes at all.

    Needless to say-this was a clear sign to me that this was not a man to be interested in or bet on. ( In additon to the facts that he had never had a very long term relationship and still seemed attached to his mother – focused on only his own creative interests)

    IF I had invited him out or into my home, I would have offered to treat, and appreciated it if he picked up some of the tab or brought something as a sign of giving- sharing- acknowledgment. Good manners can help things along. I would hope for this from friends. Why not a potential companion?

    Another time one man and I agreed to meet for breakfast, also a relatively low ‘investment’. When he took a break and went to the bathroom (?) 2 checks showed up on the table. I assume he must have asked the waitress to divide the bill. As it was busy- I doubt she would have done this on her own, and especially as we seemed engaged like a couple in conversation. I took it as an immediate sign of his lack of interest and knew there was no go. His behavior certainly diminished my potential interest.

    For $5 I still think it would have shown some generosity and class for him to pick up my tab, even just for the time I took to come out and meet him , regardless of what the future would hold. I could have thanked him, offered to contribute anyway – or not. There still would have been time to say – “hey- nice talk- but don’t think we are a match” – but with some consideration and respect. This way he sort of sleezily slipped away without being direct- and I felt disregarded and taken advantage of and certainly he gained no respect from me. It was not the $5 I had to pay, it was the attitude, that led me to conclude “Cheap and Inconsiderate”. I felt more objectified and devalued since it seemed that as I was to be of no ‘use’ to him, I was not worth his time or even little money.

    There was no sense that this was done out of respect for women’s equality – What hogwash-

    Feminism is often used as an excuse now for men to put in little effort towards their continued effort to get booty. (And for some women to remain hard, in control, unforgiving, and distant in relationships).

    Feminism and the sexual revolution, and much of the 60’s values- – failed by allowing bad behavior to go unexcused. (See HAIR, Alice’s Restaurant) Believe me I lived through it. We learned the hard way that some of the old Rules evolved for GOOD reasons.

  4. 34
    Nick

    If the old rules evolved for good reasons then please prove it by staying at home, and take care of laundry and wash my bedsheets while I bring home the bacon. Then you are justified to be treated. Put yourself in a man’s position. How the heck do we know, if the woman knows she will be treated that she is out for us, or for the food? Im not prepared to spend money like that on a total stranger. If she doesn’t want to see me unless I’m paying for her, then screw her, I don’t want a gold digger. If you say you are independent, then BE independent. And also guys who buy drinks for women in bars, you will never EVER get laid that way, they will drink your drink and leave. Don’t be a pussy.

    1. 34.1
      menotyou

      Nick, you are an obvious misogynist. You have white-hot hatred towards women and you need to get your cowardly a$$ into some therapy and figure out why you hate your mommy so much. You may get laid a lot, but what you do not have from a woman is love and a relationship based on trust and respect, and with your attitude, you never will, and you know what? That’s just sad. 

      And I want to thank you for all your stupid, insensitive comments here because they have helped me to change my mind about the issue. I started out saying I would never allow a man to pay for me on a date. I feel the opposite now. The women on this board have made it clear – generosity, whether it’s $100 for a nice dinner or it’s $1.50 for a cup of coffee – goes a long way to establish good-will between the sexes, so from now on, I’m more than happy to allow a man to pay for me (with reciprocity, of course – that’s a big word, you might want to look it up) and if a man doesn’t want to or expects me to pay before we are in a monogamous relationship, the proper response is to get up from the table, leave, and never speak to him again. Women have been treated like sh!t long enough, and men no longer believe in courtship because as another commenter mentioned, feminism has allowed them to not have to.

      Thanks for helping me reach that decision with all of your dumb “golddigger” comments!

  5. 35
    Collins

    Nick thinks much like I do on this issue. (Is he a reader/listener of Marc Rudov, as am I?) I agree that the 1st few dates should be dutch, since at this point the parties are still strangers & screening each other. I also agree with Nick’s sentence, “[G]uys who buy drinks for women in bars, you will never EVER get laid that way…” A woman’s libido is activated by TALK, not money. (Of course, it’s gotta be talk other than pickup lines & cliches.) The likes of Elvis & the Beatles could, with their voices alone, sexually arouse millions of girls they didn’t even know, much less buy dinner for; in fact the GIRLS paid money to see THEM! Whatever dynamic is established during dating, will be the same dynamic that comes into play during divorce (assuming a r’ship gets as far as marriage in the 1st place, then ends in divorce in the 2nd place). I could go on & on, but if enough men would realize all this, we as a gender could gain respect, both among ourselves & from women, & the M-F r’ship dynamic would be a lot more balanced.

  6. 36
    Sam

    I have another question for the women on this site . . .

    Let’s say you had a $40-$50 first date. If you offered to pay and your date refused to go 50-50, but said he would accept a $10 bill or let you pay the tip, would you think he was cheap? (assume that his income is merely above average, assume that you picked the restaurant yourself or you picked it out together.)

  7. 37
    chiara

    Nick-
    I can’t help but wonder about one thing: if, you “never pay for dates, and … get laid plenty.” what are you doing on a blog called “Advice from a single dating expert?”. Surely you have a great system that works for you, and you need no pointers, right? ;)

    What I look for the most in men is FLEXIBILITY. I like ones who are cool about paying or don’t mind going Dutch. Clearly anyone who lives intransigently by a rule against paying for women has a chip on his shoulder. I like to see a certain generosity of spirit. I like buying meals for my friends, so I expect a guy who likes me to do the same.

  8. 38
    Francisco

    I don’t get the whole dinner thing for the first date anyway. I’d rather do something simple in order to get to know the woman by focusing on her and not on what we’re doing.

    Besides, in a world where men are expected to do the pursuing, unless he finds a woman where there’s mutual chemistry in a short amount of time, a guy can get into major financial trouble over the course of a year.

    If he goes out just three times a week and only spend $50 each time it adds up to almost $8000 a year which could equate to a year’s worth of car payments, rent or student loans. Add it up, you’d be shocked.

    The money could be considered well spent if you end up finding “the one” but how often after 3 or 4 dates it’s realized that the chemistry isn’t there and the each has to start over from square one, but each start over for a guy costs him around $200. Heaven forbid they go out more than 4 times.

    So I say stay away from the dinners, movies and concerts until after each of you determine that there’s enough chemistry that both are willing to put forth an effort which lasts more than just a couple of weeks. After that, why not show appreciation for each other? Why not take turns taking one another out be it out to a restaurant or one preparing dinner at home for the other; still better yet, together?

  9. 39
    Rusty

    Wow, hot topic! It’s no wonder than most divorces happen because of financial troubles. Money represents quite a bit here, doesn’t it?

    The year: 2008.
    Equal Rights Amendment: Ratified.
    Womens’ salaries: Equal to (hopefully) or better then Mens’.
    Fairy Tale Romance: A Fairytale.

    -If I ask a woman on a date, I’ll pay. But I guarantee I won’t be stupid enough to set up a first date at a 5-star restaurant. And, I won’t ask too many women out too often so as to drain my bank account.

    -If she offers to help pay after a dinner, I will refuse or allow her to get the tip. I think thats fair. Sometimes I’ll let her grab desert later on. My experience is, that women like to be treated equal. If she is insistent, then Yes, I’ll let her pay whatever she is comfortable with.

    -If she asks me on a date, especially if its to a show or movie, I’ll let her pay. But, I will usually pay for some part of the evening whether she “lets” me or not.

    -If she is a single mom who is not independently wealthy then I will take into account the cost of a sitter and the effort that goes into creating time to be with me. Even if she asks me, I will more often than not pay for more than half, if not the whole thing. Again if she wants to pay I will let her get the tip or dessert, etc.

    -If the first date includes a woman asking me out or a woman wanting to go to three or four different places that require me to spend money without so much as an offer to pay anything, then that is our last date, if I don’t end the date early. She obviously has trouble with empathy.

    -Going Dutch is also perfectly acceptable at any time. After all, I am not trying to buy a woman’s affection and attention. I am trying to find out if our personalities match enough to continue seeing her and/or become exclusive with her. This can become an expensive endeavor in the dating potential matches phase.

    Its about mutual appreciation. There should never be any “money memory” going on. If money is tight, then make the date for one of the hundreds of things you can do with little or no money. Be creative. Its more fun and often more rewarding. My best and most fun dates have been when the woman planned an inexpensive but memorable date with me. We had wine while watching a meteor shower on a blanket with light from a large candle in a hurricane vase one time. My girlfriend surprised me and came to my work at lunch for a small picnic in the car. Some of my dates have hand-written or crafted thank you notes to me. The thoughtfulness of the action makes the time spent more valuable than a $50 dinner, a $100 show or a $2 cup of coffee.

    For the writer that talks about “being treated like a lady.”
    What makes you think you should be treated like a lady? What does being treated like a lady mean? Is there a book on being a lady and how I should treat her that I must have missed reading?
    Women also talk about “being treated like a Princess” and how much they appreciate it. Well, do you not think that a guy likes to be treated like a Prince? Does money factor into a woman treating a man like a Prince as it apparently does for being treated like a Princess?

    Post#14 cracked me up, mostly because a woman wrote it.
    Post#38 makes a lot of sense.

    1. 39.1
      Jeannie

      For the writer that talks about “being treated like a lady.”
      What makes you think you should be treated like a lady? What does being treated like a lady mean? Is there a book on being a lady and how I should treat her that I must have missed reading?
      Women also talk about “being treated like a Princess” and how much they appreciate it. Well, do you not think that a guy likes to be treated like a Prince? Does money factor into a woman treating a man like a Prince as it apparently does for being treated like a Princess?
      It is way EASIER for a woman to get sex than it is for a man, therefore her vagina holds more value than his penis, sorry to state it so crassly!

      IF a woman is a LADY, she will only be around men who see it, & value it, & treat her accordingly.

      There is a t-shirt store on the boardwalk in Atlantic City that sells T-shirts w/ all kinds of crazy sayings, but one of them does resonate: “I have the PU$$Y so I make the rules” – sorry crass, but to the point!     
       

      1. 39.1.1
        jeremy

        Jeannie, you wrote “It is way EASIER for a woman to get sex than it is for a man, therefore her vagina holds more value than his penis, sorry to state it so crassly!”

        If the woman’s value is through her vagina, and through its value she expects monetary compensation, she is not a “lady” but rather a “prostitute”.  And the man who pays is not a prince, but rather a john.
         
        Do you want a princely man?  You will have to realize that you will have to treat him as well as you expect to be treated, and not value yourself above him.  You are not entitled to his money/attention any more than he is entitled to your sex.
         
        FYI, most men run like crazy from women with entitled “princess” attitudes.  And if they don’t, they are sorry later.

        1. Jeannie

          I do treat any man I am with well, very well. But it doesn’t negate what I stated- & sorry that I used the t-shirt saying to illustrate my point. But it is true: a woman’s vagina does hold more power than a man’s penis due to “the law of supply & demand”- initially it sounds vulgar, but once you start thinking about it, it makes sense.
          I never said a woman’s value is ONLY through her vagina, it it the sum of all of her, but men don’t date just to hold hands…deep down, they date for sex, some want companionship, etc. along w/ the sex, but sex is the driving factor.

          The horrid selfish woman in the original story is not a “princess” she is a b1tch. A “princess” IMO is a woman who is kind, to others AS WELL AS HERSELF. She engages in healthy self-care & part of that is she only spends time w/ kind, respectful people, as she is that way herself. Yes it can get lonely at times sitting on the throne ;0P but it is worth the wait for the prince who always seems to arrive. And a true “princess” treats her prince like a KING! 

      2. 39.1.2
        hunter

        ….Jeannie,
        …..I agree with you,………………… it is easier for a woman to get sex than it is for a man…yet, studies have shown, at a certain time in their life, women get sensitive, and  go months without a partner………hhhmmhh…the longer one stays single, the more work one gives therapists…..

        1. Jeannie

          @hunter, the same goes for men, esp. in middle age. At that point we get very selective about who we want to spend our time with, as we develop a sense of “mortality” & our tolerance for BS & drama goes down!

          In all my relationships, if I do not get the same level of kindness & respect back as I give out, I withdraw from the relationship. (men I have dated as well as female friends) THAT gives LESS WORK to therapists ;0P 

  10. 40
    verbosity

    This thread brings up other sentiments in other threads (Women Who Make More than Men). However, I would like to point out some philosophical points and real-world ones. Keep in mind my points speak in generalities. There are of course exceptions to nearly every statement.

    If I understand Nick’s posts correctly, his POV is that since women can do everything men can do, they are hypocrites for expecting men to pay for everything in the dating arena. I think the unsaid message is, “If she can and/or does make the same as me, why do I have to shoulder the financial burden of dating? If you want equality, be equal. Don’t seek to have your cake in the career and other fronts and eat it too on the relationship end.”

    OK…Not the best turn of phrase, but I think it makes the point, which is that guys find it hypocritical that women can do everything men do (and earn more doing it – see http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0334472920070803 and http://www.forbes.com/ceonetwork/2006/05/12/women-wage-gap-cx_wf_0512earningmore.html) but still expect men to pick up the tab for everything as if it were 1946 and women did earn 1/10th what men earned.

    I also think many ladies made some terrific points. Portia mentioned making dinner (buying groceries and wine), others mentioned alternating picking up tabs, etc.

    Here is where the philosophical ideals crash into real world realities. I think Nick’s philosophy is that everything should be ‘dutch’ or equal given their equal work and often greater income. (Philosophy). However, the real world experience that most men have is that the VAST majority of women find this off-putting at best. Several posters above commented on this (Real World). So if Nick lives in accordance with his philosophy he will likely have far fewer relationship options as a result of this issue on the first date.

    The reverse also occurs. Women who kick back and expect men to do all of the paying for not only the first date, will likely reduce her relationship options.

    As a side note, I would note that many men have a very strong argument it is offensive that women insist men pay for everything, in that this practice values her companionship, personality looks, etc. as somehow worth more than his.

    The reality is that it is a pay to play game where men must pay up front to maximize their chances of success. It appears that many lady posters above do recognize some of the inequities above and act accordingly. Kudos. One can only hope that such a paradigm spreads, and that the challenges surrounding this issue diminish.

  11. 41
    JuJu

    It amazes me how quickly societal norms change when biological evolution no longer happens. In the western world, it’s been at the most 150 years that women are even allowed to work, but look how quickly the perception changes.

    I’ve heard complaints from men that women are no longer feminine and nurturing, are “ruined by feminism”. To which I respond, “Perhaps they were always truly this way, it’s just the greater independence that allows them to be any which way they want now?” After all, I observe, women (for the most part) are subservient only until and unless their situation requires it.

    But it is a no less surprising outcome that men, as it turns out, aren’t exactly eager to take care of women (again, given hundreds of thousands of years of history, what could be responsible for the sudden shift in outlook? and if we are talking serious independence – I think women only had it for the past 25 years or so, tops).

    Well, there will come a point in your relationship (that is, if your goal is finding a life partner) when she will depend on you, regardless of whether you want it or not. That time will be during her pregnancy and after she gives birth. After all, not that many people earn as much as to have a year’s expenses worth of savings, or more.

    That is one of the many reasons, I am sure (at least unconsciously), women commonly reject the “cheap” man. If he puts up such a struggle paying for a mere date, what can she expect from him in the future? And most women do date for the possibility of a future, rather than purely having fun in the present.

    No, it doesn’t mean you should go broke trying to find love. Many points made above are valid, I won’t repeat them. Just use your common sense and intuition.

    I personally believe that while class may be an expensive trait, ultimately it pays off.

  12. 42
    verbosity

    Juju’s points took the concept of paying of r the 1st date beyond the 1st date, but let’s take it further for discussion. Much of what I’m about to write is discussed more fully in another thread, so I’m copying much of what I wrote.

    JuJu wrote, ” . . . there will come a point in your relationship (that is, if your goal is finding a life partner) when she will depend on you, regardless of whether you want it or not. That time will be during her pregnancy and after she gives birth. After all, not that many people earn as much as to have a year’s expenses worth of savings, or more. That is one of the many reasons, I am sure (at least unconsciously), women commonly reject the “cheap” man. If he puts up such a struggle paying for a mere date, what can she expect from him in the future? And most women do date for the possibility of a future, rather than purely having fun in the present.”

    I am going to thrown a bunch of points out there right now, not to cast stones at women in general, but to reflect the context in which men make many of their dating and mating choices now.

    I may overstating things, but I believe Maureen Dowd wrote a NYT article some time ago about how women do not need men for anything, that men are in effect, obsolete. Secondly, as I noted above, women can, and do, earn more than men for the same work, so many men find the expectation for men to foot the whole bill hypocritical.

    However, a vast majority (74%) of American women say they would marry for money. http://biz.yahoo.com/wallstreet/071214/sb119760031991928727_id.html?.v=1 To be fair, plenty of men polled said they would also, but significantly few #’s than women. this is also borne out by most men’s personal experience. JuJu alluded to reasons for looking at men’s income and generosity (pregnancy and birth).

    There are also other reasons women want men who make substantially more so that women have options (have kids, not have kids, stay home, pursue additional education, etc.) Many men feel women ignore this fundamental imbalance – that women, no matter what they earn, see having these options as their right (via men who earn more), but that men have no such option, it is simply their job to earn. I grant there are exceptions, but they are so few & far between so as not to be mentionable. The simple point is that we as men are just to earn so she has options.

    I actually had this conversation with my mother recently when she questioned why I do not want to marry. When I made my point about how I have no options but that women do (see above), she said “That’s what you’re supposed to do as a man.” (Yes, even she knows the deck’s stacked in her favor.) I said, “Mom, they banned indentured servitude 200-plus years ago. It seems a better option for me to keep my freedom and options.” Her response, “Well, I don’t want to argue about this anymore.”

    Lastly, one cannot discount the divorce rate and the effect of divorce laws. Women initiate divorces about 70% of the time (See AARP and Discovery Health). Further, depending on where you live, the divorce rate exceeds 50% in most highly populus places (esp. ‘no-fault’ states). In AZ, it was 65% in 2005 (See cdc.gov). CA, the 800 pound gorilla in terms of population (and who do not report divorce stats to Census), is very high:

    Year, CA Div.,L.A. Div.,CA Mar.,Divorce %
    1996 169,416 38,026 219,039 77.35%
    1997 165,547 37,501 237,669 69.65%
    1998 161,905 35,706 194,108 83.41%
    2000 156,078 36,551 196,896 79.27%
    2001 154,672 38,850 224,241 68.98%
    2002 160,854 40,468 217,880 73.83%
    2003 148,511 38,811 194,914 76.19%

    Average Divorce Rate: 75.54%** (Reference: Court Statistics Reports for 1996-2004.)

    I’m not going to comment on divorce laws and how they operate to divide property. That is a definite subject of another thread Evan may start if he wished. Is does exist, though.

    What I try to show by the above points is the context within men are making their dating choices. Many women and men are told by major publications (NYT) that men are unnecessary. (Except to pay for the dating/mating) Women can and often do earn more than men (see above). JuJu herself mentioned that in seeking men who earn more (and are generous with it) women have more options than men. Depending on where you live, the divorce rate far exceeds 50%, with 70% of those divorces (and, by proxy, long term relationships) initiated by women.

    Is it any wonder that increasing numbers of men chafe at paying nearly everything in the dating/mating dance? From day 1, men have to pay to date. JuJu noted that women want men who will give them options regarding children (and my addition of other options). Men have no options there (generally). They must work for her options. Women seek men who make more money than they. Then, once married and legally entitled to 1/2 of his income and property, they initiate divorce 70% of the time. And then men pay in the end. (I grant there are exceptions, but they are so few in number, so as not to merit mention.)

    I do not say this by way of complaint. I do, however, notice that the vast majority of women who have posted on this site and in my travels in general, have zero sympathy or empathy and absolutely no acknowledgment of the points’ validity for men or their point of view on this matter. I think Nick’s posts illustrate this (Nick, correct me if I am mistaken). Others say it is a lack of respect as well.

    We are individually responsible for our dating choices. I simply express my opinion that I hope more men remember this context and act accordingly in their own best interests. Hoping women will respect their situation is folly.

    1. 42.1
      menotyou

      If women are initiating divorce 70% of the time, it’s more than likely because they are getting cheated on by their husbands 70% more than husbands are getting cheated on by their wives. Women take marriage way more seriously than men do and most women will not even think about divorce unless it’s for an incredibly good reason, and cheating is the penultimate reason to divorce. 

      1. 42.1.1
        Jeannie

        @menotyou, the stats are more like 90% & the main reason is not cheating, it’s differences in financial attitudes. Cheating does happen & over the last decade, women have met & surpassed men in cheating as far as statistics go. Whether we have less women cheating MORE OFTEN, or more women cheating OCCASSIONALLY, I do not know. But I’ve seen stuff IRL, there are some women who get their jollies by playing constantly while having a faithful hubby at home.

        Let’s face it, the internet & all these sites for dating & even swinging have made it way too easy for people who “cheat”! 

      2. 42.1.2
        SparklingEmerald

        @ 42.1  I must respectfully disagree that women only divorce for very good reasons.  I have heard women say that they divorced “To find themselves” or that they just no longer wished to be married or that they and their husband just grew apart.
        Of course, I know this is not a scientific assessment, and often times, with something as personal and painful as marital issues,  we don’t hear the whole story.  (and really, it’s not our business anyway, so that’s not surprising)
        With one of my friends who divorced because she simply no longer wanted to be married, I suspect that she was never really in love with her husband and “settled” because she was of a “certain age” and felt that she SHOULD be married.  I do believe the divorce was amicable.
        Stats about who initiates divorce who are worthless IMHO.  In most cases we will never REALLY know the reason why.    Trying to figure out who is “at fault” is an exercise in futility.
        Suppose you have an incident where a woman divorces her husband for cheating.  Fair enough, the divorce is “his fault”.  But  if we could  look at the marriage with all knowing eyes, we might find that she sexually neglected him.  So now it is “her fault”.  But looking further you might find that he had become “emotionally distant” and began talking in mono-syllables, if at all, never engaging her in conversation, and ignoring her attempts to do.  So now it back to being “his fault”.  But looking further, he stopped talking to her, because any time he expressed a different opinion on ANYTHING, she responded disrespectfully so now it’s back to being “her fault”.  We could try and trace it all back, to see who’s “fault” it is, and wind up back to their childhoods, to her “daddy issues” and his “mommy issues”  Or trace it back to their pre-marital relationship which was blinded by very high chemistry and a strong mutual desire to marry, so neither spouse was thinking clearly when they said “I do”.   Or the fact that there is a “split market”  (a term from one of the video’s on this blog) and the split market being the “marriage market” and the “sex only” market.  Both markets put a lot of pressure on others to do it their way, so  I do think many couples end up married because they were in the “marriage market”and their peers subtly or not so subtly pressured them into marriage and they weren’t a good fit for the long term.
         
        There’s a reason why there is a thriving marriage counseling industry.  Marriage and divorce is a complex issue,  and very often there is no clear cut “bad guy” (or gal). 
        Trying to pin the blame all on one gender or another is an exercise in futility and does nothing to solve the problem.  Divorce is a human problem, not all the fault of either gender.

  13. 43
    JuJu

    Verbosity:

    First of all, I think the egregious sense of entitlement you describe is uncommon. (Would other women weigh in?)

    Secondly, I was only implying that women are the only ones capable of giving birth.

    You have to take some basic physiology into account when assessing the “equality” of the sexes.

    I personally prefer the generous men because I myself am generous (and also sometimes suffer for it, albeit in different ways than paying for dates). It’s a non-negotiable personality trait in a partner, for *me*. Nothing to do with some perceived personal gain down the road. At the time of the first date, I certainly don’t even think that far ahead. But I wouldn’t be able to tolerate a cheapskate at that moment.

    What I really want is the magnanimity of spirit.

    On a slightly different note, has is ever occurred to you, any of you, that being ever so on guard against being used (or any potential pain, for that matter) robs you of the pleasure of life?

  14. 44
    verbosity

    JuJu,

    With all due respect, you have said nothing whatsoever that refutes what I posted. I specifically cited surveys and articles to support my conclusions. I do not describe an egregious sense of entitlement, simply the state of things. Perhaps the sense of entitlement DOES exist, based upon the evidence. Ignoring it does not mean it does not exist. Assuming it does exist, based upon the non-refuted evidence, why not acknowledge it?

    Additionally, regarding the physiology difference, so what? I know this sounds cold, but but it does nothing to refute my point about women’s options.

    I understand your desire for magnanimity of spirit. I do not disagree with it. However, my main point is that, given the above unrefuted evidence, it is accurate to say that the ‘playing field,’ the ‘rules,’ and the ‘other team’ do not equate to an even game for men in general, let alone one that favors them. Again, I ask why not acknowledge this, particularly when no contrary evidence is offered.

    Lastly, your last paragraph tries to insinuate that I am ‘ever so on guard’ against being used. Hmmm, let’s look at that. First, it is an ad hominem attack against me and anyone who agrees withe the analysis (ie. – shoot the messenger) that tries to portray me as irrational and unreasonable absent any fact.

    Secondly, it infers I am a coward (by being ‘ever so on guard’) In doing so she essentially tells me and others who have the same opinion they have an irrational fear of dealing with women. There is a difference between courage and and stupidity. And blindly playing a game that looks like it is financially stacked against men in general would fall into the stupidity category. Furthermore, in taking any risky action (such as dating and marrying), a reasonable person take only calculated risks. In taking these calculated risks, you weigh costs and benefits, and in doing so, many men are finding out that many (arguably most) women fail a cost-benefit analysis.

  15. 45
    angelique

    verbosity…

    I am just curious: are you here to obtain relationship advice, or to advance your amateur sociological theories?

  16. 46
    verbosity

    Angelique,

    Curious how you fail to respond to anything I said…Another attempt to ‘shoot the messanger’ and ignore the message.

  17. 47
    DeAngelo

    Well the man should pay for the first few,I would say a 3 atlease. But the see the issue comes in after that if she’s not willing to offer nor is she making you dinner on a regular basis. If thats not happening, that means that she is becoming complecent off the mans finances. And if you are NOT married yet,then the woman should be offsetting some of the cost after that 3rd date because he has to pay bills as well is she do. In todays society its really not a case if the woman got the money or not, its just a man showing his gentleman like ways. I dont mind paying, but if we arent married then we will definitly be splitting the cost after the 3rd date because my wife seems more of a guaranteed investment than someone ‘m just meeting. At lease I know if I am puttin goney into my wife, one way or another I will be getting back also me and my life live inthe same household so she helps me pay bills that I accumulate too. The whole point here is reciprocation. If a man pays for your dinnerthe first few times, cook him dinner or some way show your gratitude by showing him that it was appreciated, dont just let him keep paying thinking that yo uhave a meal ticket. He has bills and responsibilities too that I’m sure no contributions will be made to on your behalf. Also dont be one o fthose women that makes a big deal out of it because all that does is pit it in our minds that you may be a golddigger and or you are very selfish. In Biblical terms”God loves a cheerful giver”,it didnt say a cheerful man giver or a cherrful woman giver,people is what its saying. Some women look at the whole what he pays for as a rescue trap, thinking that he’s proving that he can take care of you. But let me tell you something, he probably can but no man wants a woman that just want to be taken care of just off of normal circumstances. We want to know what can she bring to the table too. I feel that way because if a woman starts being the way and then if I so happen to no thave enough or I’m not financially set, she may start looking towards a richer guy and here it is I have already been used. she exhausted me to go to the next guy. THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Dont want one of those women who just take men on a test drive to see how many times and how much a man is going to spend on her. But if that woman always coking dinner for you,then yes she desrves to have her dinner paid for. Another bad thing to do is keeping tabs on who paid for what. Thats why after those first few dates they should take turns.

  18. 48
    Alexander Stone

    The issue of ‘who pays for a first date?’ has NOTHING to do with the actual money involved, it is all about finding out whether the person you are with (both the guy AND the girl) has any manners. As a guy, if you are expecting a woman to pay for anything on a first date, you are a dick, especially if you were the one who invited her out (and if you are expecting ‘something in return’ because you paid, you are an even bigger dick). That being said, however, I DO want to know that the woman I am out with appreciated my gesture, and is not a ‘professional dater’ that never had any real interest in me and was only out for free food/entertainment at my expense because she had nothing better to do that night. So I will certainly be paying attention to whether you at least make an offer to pay, as well as the sincerity of your “thank you.” There are FAR too many great women out there for any guy to have to waste their time with someone that has a bad attitude.

  19. 49
    Eda

    Alexander,

    Thank you for saying that lots of great women exist. It’s nice to read a post from a man who has something positive to say about women.

  20. 50
    A-L

    Most of my first dates are quite inexpensive (coffee dates) and I’ll usually let the guy pick it up, but if I got there early then I’ll go on ahead and by my own drink. And regardless of which # date I’m on, I always say thank you, and offer to pay, and frequently cook dinner for a guy I’m seeing (sometimes as early as the 2nd date).

    But one thing that hasn’t been commented on yet is about men who continue to pick up the tabs when they aren’t well-to-do. When I’ve gone out with men whose salaries are less than stellar, but they continue to insist on paying for the entirety of our dates, I begin to wonder about their finances. Since I’m a big fan of saving money for a rainy day (not to say that I don’t spend money, as I do, but I am fiscally conservative) I worry that the man is more of a spendthrift, who probably has high debt and/or no money in the bank. And that is a turnoff. Not because I need someone to support me, but because if I’m interested in a long-term future then I’ll want to build a savings cushion, nice retirement, etc, and if the money is constantly going out every month, that’s not going to happen. Just a different perspective on this whole “who pays” issue.

  21. 51
    Collins

    A-L wrote: “Since I’m a big fan of saving money for a rainy day . . . I worry that the man [who always pays on dates] is more of a spendthrift, who probably has high debt and/or no money in the bank. And that is a turnoff”

    Excellent point, A-L. This backs up my belief that always paying on dates can bankrupt a man, if not instill in him a false sense of owning you like some object. Like the title of one of my own blogs says, “Buying a woman dinner does not equal respect.”

    And I like the idea of 1st dates being for coffee. Like businesses, dates should start small, then grow gradually as the parties get to know each other better. I like your idea of buying your own drink if you arrive 1st, then sipping it while you wait for the guy to arrive. Of course that can go both ways; I would most likely sip my own drink also while waiting for the gal to arrive. Once she does arrive, what she does (or doesn’t do) next could be a good indicator of her views on who pays, & on gender equality in general. Of course, coffee shops also have other goodies like muffins & croissants, so I might try buying drinks for both of us, & if she offers later to buy dessert for both of us, I’d accept in a heartbeat (or if she doesn’t I could do without dessert). Even when not saying so outright, we (of both genders) test our dates for signs that they care enough about us to make us feel special.

    It may have made sense for the guy always to pay in days long gone, but in this era of equality it does not.

  22. 52
    Angela Crisp

    This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I do love a generous man, but I seek generosity on many levels mostly emotional and supportive, an understanding sort of generosity. My solution has been to discuss who pays before we set a date to go out. One way I have of overriding the “gentlemen ethic” is to suggest that if he is driving further, I should treat, if I am driving further, he should treat, regardless of how we come up with where to go. Gas and time is money, so it helps to get a guy to relax and actually enjoy the evening. I think women should pick up more often then they do, but figuring out a way to do this without making a man feel “kept” is really quite difficult, but worth it too.

  23. 53
    hunter

    to Angela crisp,

    you said,..”figuring out a way to do this without making a man feel kept”, how so? Please forgive us simple minds…

  24. 54
    Lisa

    Just a couple of items for Verbosity and Rusty:

    It’s 2008 and, FYI, the Equal Rights Amendment WAS NEVER RATIFIED. It is regularly reintroduced in Congress and never goes anywhere.

    Second, don’t delude yourself: the wage gap between men and women persists. Furthermore, many (if not most) women earn less than their male counterparts over a lifetime, partly because of the wage gap and partly because women often stay home, go part time, or put themselves on the “mommy track” once the children arrive. Women receive NO SSI CREDIT for the years they stay home, or accept reduced salaries, to accommodate their families (and their husband’s career). This means that women are far less likely than men to reach retirement age and be completely underfunded.

    Boys, if you want to slap down the women, you should get your facts right.

  25. 55
    vino

    Um, Lisa, I just read this, and I have to tell you, I think you are off with your assertions. By the way, I notice you cited no facts.

    Respectfully, from what I’ve read, there isn’t a wage gap. If employers could pay women 23% less (the approx ‘gap’), then no men would be employed at all! You yourself cited the reasons for the ‘wage gap.’ Women often stay home, BY CHOICE. They work part-time BY CHOICE. Take the “mommy track” as you put it, BY CHOICE. You also left out that women often do not take many dangerous, higher paying jobs (think mining, oil rigs, etc), BY CHOICE. So by your admission women in the aggregate CHOOSE to be paid less. This is somehow someone else’s fault other than those who CHOSE said course of action? Puh-leeze.

    I think verbosity pointed out a study or 2 indicating that there is equal pay for equal work & that in fact many women earn more than men for comparable work in metropolitan areas, particularly. You may not want to acknowledge said facts & studies, but ignoring them doesn’t refute them, particularly if you are chiding someone about ‘facts.’

    Um, sorry to further disagree, but women who do stay home ARE compensated. Who’s paying for the roof over their heads, the food consumed, the clothes worn, the cars driven, the gas for the cars, the home utilities, the cell phones, etc? They don’t materialize out of thin air.

    Of course no SSI credit is received for the time when someone CHOOSES not to work or work less. Or am I to understand you want to be compensated further for not working?

    If one CHOOSES to leave a job, any job, for a lesser-paying one, part-time or not to work at all, no matter what the reason (kids), it is not the responsibility of anyone else to foot the bill for or provide comforts for the person CHOOSING to work less. It’s called accepting responsibility for the consequences of one’s decision-making.

    But what Lisa’s argument boils down to is that she wants someone else to pay for her choices.

    On the subject of equal legal rights, I’m unaware of any legal rights men have that women don’t. However, I am aware of rights women have that men don’t. Women have the right to choose to make a guy a parent even if he doesn’t wish to be one (& the legal & financial responsibilities that go with it). Notice men have no corresponding legal right to force a women to have a child (& the legal & financial responsibilities that go with it). There are other things I could bring up as well, such as VAWA. but suffice it to say, women actually have MORE legal rights than men. So I think the ERA assertion is attenuated at best, and completely inapplicable at worst.

  26. 56
    Rusty

    Hey Lisa…
    Guess you got me there. Thank you for your item.
    And nice job on the weak attack by using the novice “boys” disparagement. I think you’re the only one trying to slap anybody down. So this is the wonderful sight-unseen attitude for which a man should plunk his money down on a first date? No thanks.
    Vive la difference!

  27. 57
    Lisa

    Hmm, Vino, let me see if I get your arguments correct:

    1) The wage gap exists because otherwise no men would be employed (wow, gotta love the logic on this one). We have to pay women less so we can pay men a salary that can support a family (never mind that many women are single parents, and if you think child support equals out the income differences, you have another big think coming).

    2) Women are “compensated” for their sacrifices to the family by having a roof over their heads.

    3) Women (and men) who choose to stay home and contribute to society by rearing their children and doing the bulk of volunteer work for churches, schools, Meals on Wheels, and other social institutions deserve nothing back from society (i.e., SSI) when they reach their golden years. If you never “worked” a day in your life, you get nothing, simple as that. Lucky you. I guess your warm memories will sustain you the next time you eat cat food casserole in the house you can’t afford to heat because you never “worked” to contribute to the social good.

    You might be surprised to note that many countries do provide extended parenting leave with pay (to both sexes), and give credit toward retirement for those who are primary caregivers in the home. Those societies rank far above the US on many quality of life indicators. (If you REALLY want some citations, I’m happy to give them to you. I’m a university professor so I do understand their importance. Which citation style would you prefer? APA? Chicago? MLA? Just let me know.)

    Don’t be disingenuous by suggesting that women “choose” these things by themselves, in a vacuum. Common sense often “validates” a lot of stupid opinions. Ask Thomas Paine.

    I do think the 2nd wave of the women’s movement was off-base to push for equal treatment. What men and women need is EQUITABLE treatment, which is what many posters on this thread were suggesting. If you’re unsure of the difference, I can explain it further.

    If you’re worried about being trapped into unplanned fatherhood, there are many solutions for that. Use your CHOICES ahead of time.

    BTW, I never said I supported the ERA. I merely corrected Rusty’s facts and challenged your argument. You drew that inference.

    And Rusty, I never said anything about the idea that a man should pay on the first date. I just said that you ought to check your facts before blowing hot air at the rest of us.

  28. 58
    hunter

    Lisa, a university professor?….my goodness…..

  29. 59
    Lisa

    hunter, you’re right. I lost my humility and that was a cheap shot. I just didn’t like being lectured about the importance of citations. Pushed the wrong buttons. My bad.

  30. 60
    Rusty

    Wow Lisa, you’re just too ‘smart’ for all of us. I was actually referencing the title of this post, not inferring that you had said anything about it. Although, maybe you should stay on topic, eh? Thank you for enlightening the dark hordes with you university professor skillz. (Yeah, I spelled that wrong on purpose, Prof.) So, do your wrong buttons include a giant RED one that says ‘PUSH ME’?
    Yes, I already know I’m a bastard. But thanks anyway.

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