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….


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.


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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  1. 61


    Talk about disingenuous arguments.

    1) You obviously do not understand what I said, simple economics, or how businesses work. Your assertion that “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” is without basis in fact. Please cite (meaning “refer to”) to something supporting such a conclusion. Here are a few…



    “2) Women are “compensated” for their sacrifices to the family by having a roof over their heads.”
    – Holy martyrdom, Batman. Please put victim card down, and step away from the Kool-aid. Yes, they are compensated for their CHOICES. They are receiving 1/2 of what hubby earns while married by law. It’s imputed to her. You may choose to ignore this little not-so-small fact, but it exists. Also, since she’s not working, if she chooses to divorce, she’ll almost certainly get alimony which is considered income (it’s taxable). Funny how child support is often clamored for so much more, because it’s not taxable…

    “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.”

    – Um, no. That’s not how it works. As mentioned, they are already compensated (see above). Assuming they stay married the whole time they are entitled to Soc Sec benefits via hubby. If they divorce, which is more likely, they get a % of his Soc Sec benefits, based upon what was paid in during marriage. So either way they get Soc Sec benefits. Also, if you receive ‘compensation’ for volunteer work it’s not volunteering, is it? It’s called income (& taxable). Who will pay for that, by the way? Certainly not the nonprofit.

    “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.”

    – It’s easier to have welfare (which we have also, btw) in those countries with 15 million people, not what (350 million?) is it now in the US. Not to mention it’s theft – taking what I earn and giving it to someone else who didn’t (who’s already earning money by law – 1/2 of hubby’s). As noted above, women do get Soc Sec benefits by law. Also there’s the matter of FMLA which provides 3 months of family leave (puts a big burden on small-mid sized businesses).

    And if it wasn’t clear, ‘cited’ as used meant “referred to” a fact – not a citation style.

  2. 62

    I think that it is hard in this day and age to choose who pays. I was reading last week about who should pay in a situation like this. I think it’s helpful to see what other people think because times have changed. It’s also important to feel out what your date thinks. I’m still old fashioned thinking the men should pay, but I also think that men aren’t always the ones making the most money these days. The roles have changed from the past. It’s basically a crapshoot!

  3. 63

    Let there be no doubt: the prevailing societal custom, and the dominant expectation among women, is that the man pays, regardless of who invited whom, regardless of ability to pay, regardless of who selected the venue, even on a blind date and even on a first online date. This custom is sexist, pure & simple, but most women I know, including a goodly number of otherwise self-aware, self-proclaimed feminists, stridently insist upon it. As a general sociological law, wherever there is opportunity for exploitation & profit, there is no shortage of those who will seize that opportunity and who will invent transparently bogus justifications for their doing so. The phenomenon of dating is no exception. A very intelligent and fair-minded female friend told me that some of her female friends (she used the plural) confessed that they will sometimes accept an online date solely for the free meal, fully intending never to go on a second date with the benighted suppliant. Both will survive the experience, but she has wronged him.

    If A and B don’t know each other and both want to get to know each other, it is all well and good if one genuinely wants to pay for the other, but neither should be expected to do so based on the accident of one’s reproductive orientation. If the dating continues and a relationship blossoms, some fair & equitable arrangement should be agreed to, taking income and expenses into account. If A wants to get to know B better but B does not particularly want to get to know A, then B should either not accept the proposed date or pay for him/herself, or else candidly negotiate with A “I have no romantic inclinations toward you, but if you’ll pay my way I’ll go on a platonic date with you.” All relationships should be structured fairly and equitably. Few are.

  4. 64


    Agreed. But your response does not address the topic of this discussion: Who pays for the first date. Your response addresses an entirely different scenario from the one I posed–unless it is your view that whenever a man asks a woman for a date, he has no genuine romantic feelings toward her, is interested only in a one-night stand, and therefore he should pay for the date. Such extreme cynicism is clearly unwarranted. Even if B has been wronged by someone previously, that is no justification or excuse for him/her to exploit someone else’s romantic interest.

  5. 65

    Honesty, respect, caring? Any room for a woman’s feelings/emotions?

  6. 66

    Moderator, I had a few serious typos on my first post. Please use this one instead. Thanks!


    I decided to go beyond commenting on who should pay because I think opinions on that topic have been exhausted. There’s really nothing left to say. I chose to counter your point that women should step up and be honest with men when they go on dates with the point that men should step up be honest with women when they go on dates. But the fact of the matter is no matter how much you or I or anyone else on this blog wishes it were otherwise, men AND women will screw each other both figuratively and literally when it comes to dating. They always have and they always will. It’s completely unproductive for any of us (including me) to whine about what others should and shouldn’t do. As Evan tells us all the time, the only thing that any of us should concern ourselves with is what we can control. And, the only thing we can control is how we ourselves behave when dating. So, I am now taking a vow to stop complaining about what men do and to just focus on what I can do.

  7. 67

    This was most interesting and rather fun. It certainly shows that we are all different and Vive La Difference!

    I love the dynamics of the first dates because it adds to the excitement. Will he be romantic, will he be open and honest, will he offer to pay, will he take me somewhere expensive then expect me to pay half, will he buy champange and ask me to pay, will we have coffee and he make me share that meagre bill, will he ask me to choose a venue and then make me pay, is he just plain cheap, or is he truly unable to be more lavish. (will he touch my hand, kiss me good night is more important but off topic)

    We all were brought up differently and our parents and other adults and the scietal norms times have shaped our habits and views of the world. My mother was subservient and adored, literally, my father. He treated her with disdain and I vowed never to be treated that way, not even for love.

    I search for more balance, heart, honesty, chivalry, time and insist on it. I have a great income and have owned my own home since I was very young. There IS such a thing as gold digging men… who are lazy and expectant and will relish taking rather then giving, just as there are women.

    Back to the subject… the first date should be one you can afford and take the cheque… the second date you should be honest if you wish for Dutch, this is a time of financial turmoil and females do have to be understanding or be literally considered uncaring gold diggers. Dating is expensive. but doesn’t always have to be.

    If two people really like each other they should be discussing all of this at least by the third date rather then be expectant. Generosity of the heart and of one’s time and effort should be more important then who pays. I adore for the honesty, not that he paid… Balance (not just bank balance) and communication make for happier dates and more likelihood of finding the right person.

    (Unless you are Nick and all you look for is to be laid)

    38 was right on… get real ladies.

  8. 68

    May I add that men who expect a female to pay after meeting her in an expensive restaurant are delusional. May I also hint that you take her to an affordable place with light fare.

    A female who is trying to impress you will want to be looking in your eyes to see if her reflection is there and your pupils widen as you gaze upon her, not gorging on an expensive dinner.

    Nuff said and I really wanted to be number 69, heheh

  9. 69
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    This is one of my favorite dating topics! Do I believe in equality? Yes! But dating is not about equality. Relationships can be, but not dating. Dating is still an archaic mating ritual based on biology more than you think.

    As a dating coach for the over 40 crowd, I tell my women clients not to even offer on the first two dates. If the guy wants to split the check – he’ll let her know or the check will sit there for an hour. There won’t be any guess work.

    Of course a woman will start to contribute, but first, it works best to see what the man will do. Dating is about “data gathering” collecting important information about each other to see if there’s a match.

    As a women, it’s best to let the man lead and then watch what he does. It’s not a test – its just a sorting mechanism. If you jump in, pay, call and ask men out, you’ll never know what he would have done on his own to win you over. And you’ll never know if he is really interested.

    Regardless of how progressive we are and how feminism has settled in, most men like to think dating is their idea and want to be in charge. As we move into relationship stages, things naturally balance out. This is true of even college guys as reported by Dr. Fischer in the Marriage Project at Rutgers University. We’d like to think equality has really set in – but it hasn’t changed in dating yet.

    The long and short of it is, let the man pay on the first two dates, then women can start to offer and or pay. But splitting the check is not a great idea – take turns instead. It’s much better and ends up in less quibbling later.
    .-= Ronnie Ann Ryan – The Dating Coach´s last blog ..Dating after Divorce: Beware the Wounded Heart =-.

    1. 69.1
      Karl R

      Ronnie Ann Ryan said:
      “If you jump in, pay, call and ask men out, you’ll never know what he would have done on his own to win you over. And you’ll never know if he’s really interested.”

      I’m not really sure that this gets you the information that you’re seeking. It’s an unwritten rule that men pay on a first date … so I pay on a first date. That’s what I’ve done even when I had no intention of ever seeing the woman again in my life.

      He pays = he understands and accepts the rules.

      I don’t think you can read a whole lot more into it than that.

      1. 69.1.1

        You would be surprised. The 2 dates that I have gone on where the guy did not want to pay, ALSO happened to be with the 2 guys who really wanted to have children (older men, in their mid-forties). These guys wanted me to have a child, yet were against stay-at-home moms. Believed that everything should be split equally (one even talked about how he and his ex-wife  paid for half of their dog’s vet bills and medication. I mean, he went on and in about how he added up the bills and so fairly told her what her half would be). The couple of dollars that I spent on coffee were well worth learning what life would be like with these guys. 

        Forget that, I had a child in my first marriage, with a guy who did not feel that it was his job to financially take care of a family.

        I am self-employed (and was during my pregnancy as well). A pregnancy means that I cannot work as much or earn as much when tired due to pregnancy ( I recall falling asleep in between my college classes and not being able to wake up for my work several times during the 1st trimester. Then, I also could no longer lift things. After my baby was born, I struggled with having to spend so much time breastfeeding while also trying to get my work done and earn enough to pay bills (unfortunately I had to go straight back to work when I came home from the hospital due to the fact that we were in a car wreck and my purse with cash were somehow stolen. I was more concerned with the baby and forgot about the money). The next 2 yrs were terrible trying to juggle the business with the baby. It got easier as the the child became older….until 10yrs later he became ill. Then, there was no way that I could possibly manage properly taking care of my child and the business. The only choice was to close the business. Instead I had to struggle with a more flexible business. It was a huge financial struggle.

        There is no way that I would ever consider having a child with a guy who needed to split everything financially, and didn’t see a couple as a team who should take care of each other.


        These were the only 2 guys who did not want/offer/insist on paying. Wouldn’t have been a big deal if they weren’t also very serious about having a child.

    2. 69.2

      Sure, men call, pay, etc., but don’t therapists say there are more women operating off their masculine side? And that it really doesn’t matter who is the man in the relationship?

    3. 69.3

      RAR said:

      “If you jump in, pay, call and ask men out, you’ll never know what he would have done on his own to win you over. And you’ll never know if he is really interested.”

      Ummm, what does SHE do to ‘win him over’ besides just showing up?

      “Regardless of how progressive we are and how feminism has settled in, most men like to think dating is their idea and want to be in charge. As we move into relationship stages, things naturally balance out.”

      How is that? If I get a new dog and let him on the furniture immediately, he’ll expect that is the norm. And, more importantly, it’s far harder to break him of it once that patter has been established. In other words, I’ve rarely seen where it ‘balances out.’

      1. 69.3.1

        Well, since most men are dating just to get laid, all a woman really has to do to “win him over” is look a certain way. He’s just going to be sitting there through the entire date picturing her naked and blowing him, anyway. 

    4. 69.4

      The long and short of it is, let the man pay on the first two dates, then women can start to offer and or pay. But splitting the check is not a great idea – take turns instead. It’s much better and ends up in less quibbling later.
      I think that most of what you suggest is good BUT a woman paying for dates DILUTES the man’s HUNTING instincts…I think a woman offering a home cooked meal, or gifting him w/ little things, or doing his laundry or dishes or cleaning as a favor would be way more valued by the average male in my age category (& hopefully in any age category)
        It sets a bad precedent for her to pay on dates in general as women still make only about 70 cents on the dollar compared to men, & if she is a single Mom, she has other expenses to incur, & after divorce or in many/most single Mom households, they fare less well economically than their male counterparts :0(

    5. 69.5

      As a man in his late 40’s I wouldn’t be dating a woman in her 40’s and most men refuse to.  If I am paying for the first date, entirely then I’m not interested meeting her again.  Most women I dated gladly pay for the entire date let alone just her half.  I refused because I wasn’t interested in a relationship with them. 🙂

      1. 69.5.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        You sound like literally the LAST person any woman with self-esteem would date. Women who pay for dates possess masculine energy/desperation – exactly the qualities you say you DON’T want in a woman. You couldn’t be more of a contradiction if you tried.

  10. 70

    More often than not I have experienced the “let’s hang out” or “maybe we can meet up,” which is annoyingly vague. I never assume the other person will pay. I always pull out my money, always have, probably always will. What I don’t like is the ambiguity that so many men create in the asking. Maybe they’re protecting themselves from being rejected. But it is just impolite to suggest going out and creating unnecessary awkwardness over this issue. The few times in my life (I’m 44) that a guy has said “I’d like to take you out,” making it clear who pays, I’ve nearly fallen over. Pick an inexpensive place. Make it just coffee. Whatever. It isn’t about the money. It’s common courtesy. I like the policy that whoever does the asking pays. Simple as that.

  11. 71
    Kurt S.

    I noticed that many of the commenters think that a woman shouldn’t pursue or ask out a man because the man might not commit or be that interested in them.  That is true.  However, how is this any different from when a man asks out a woman – men rarely have a reliable way of determining whether a woman really likes them or is just using them for free entertainment.  Women probably just don’t want to pursue men because they feel uncomfortable actually having to exert some effort instead of getting to sit back and let everything be handed to them.  This mentality is probably why a lot of women end up with men whom they don’t love or truly want simply because they settled for the men who aggressively pursued them, losing more suitable men to more aggressive men.

  12. 72

    Realistically, shouldn’t women be the ones to pay for first dates?

    The simple logic here being that:
    – Women usually like to date up (as in date a man that is as desirable or more so than she is relatively)
    – Women usually are the ones who like to do ‘dates’ (whereas men are often fine with ‘hanging out’ in a low-key, down low setting)

    When you think about it- women want relationships (more than men in general), ‘dating’ is the typical start on the relationship path (as contrasted with say just bootycall sex or ‘hangin out’). So if women want a relationship with a desirable man, it’d make sense that they’d be paying for them.

    And the honest truth at least in my case is that women always pay for the date for me, or else there is no date. Women want to go out and be seen in public and spend money and drink wine etc.. – NOT ME!! 🙂 . Why am I gonna pay for doing that extra stuff I don’t even want when the women are willing to hang out and have sex and nothing else even easier? Doesn’t make much sense.

    1. 72.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Wow, Marquis! Great advice! You must do really well with women! You’re gonna make some damaged girl with no self-esteem very happy one day!

  13. 73

    It’d be far more logical an assertion that ‘men should probably pay for the sex’ with a woman (whatever that entails in a typical social context). Since men typically desire casual sex far more than women. However, we’re talking about dating; and “dating” is more often equated with relationships than casual sex. Women want to date. Men don’t get as much out of dating as women. So what logical sense would it make at all for men to be the ones paying? Men shouldn’t even feel any desire to pay to go on a date with a woman (the exception here being the situation where a man dates a woman far above him in relative desirability- whereby the only way he’d likely get a bit of her time is to pay for it during a date).   
    Look at the situation presented in comment #32 by Livvy: she talks of a date she netted while being a university student with an incredibly handsome rising business professional in a fancy restaurant in London. Think about this androgynously: wouldn’t it be compliment enough that a university student even get the opportunity to go out with a person who was superficially such a great relationship ‘catch’ (assuming that this student was looking foremost for a relationship)?  ..Of course not, right!?? Because this dream come true of a date should also pay for the student’s time as well.     -Notice how silly that sounds? That a celebrity would pay to go out with a some random average shop-keep. That a truly desirable catch would be EXPECTED to pay for someone who would realistically be happy enough to get the chance alone.
    “You know what, Brad Pitt, you’re a great catch now that you’re single, and i’ve been attracted to you for years and have dreamed of this opportunity for who knows how long- BUT, i’d truly only be able to have a horrible time unless you agree beforehand to foot the bill.”

  14. 74
    Karl R

    Marquis, (#76 & #78)
    You believe it’s illogical for men to pay for first dates.
    You’re not into dating.
    You’re not into relationships.
    You think it’s logical for men to pay for sex.

    Save yourself some time. Hire a hooker. She’ll gladly take your money in exchange for sex. She won’t want to go on dates. She won’t want a relationship.

    However, this website is not designed to facilitate that activity. You might try Craigslist instead.

    On a more theoretical level:

    You’re trying to apply logic and economics to dating and relationships. Relationships are inherently emotional, so they don’t follow strictly logical rules.

    Instead of being logical, try being pragmatic: Do whatever works. And in the case of first dates, that usually means the man pays for the date.

  15. 75

    Marquis #78
    I didn’t realize that Brad was about to dump Angie and the kids for “some random average shop-keep”. But something tells me that if he did decide to pursue a woman like this, he’d still foot the bill on their first date, don’t you think?
    As far as Livy’s situation is concerned, asking a poor student out, choosing an expensive restaurant, and then handing her the check is the height of rudeness. If you don’t feel that the person is a “desirable” date, why ask them out in the first place? And what’s so special about a man who is arrogant and cheap?

  16. 76
    Katarina Phang

    Nick #34, YIKES!!!
    I got tons of invites for dinner dates and some got really offended because I didn’t jump on first offers because I was too busy.  Seriously, you must be joking to think that many women will use guys just for their meal tickets.  Where do you find your dates, usually?  Do you screen?  Do they have a life?
    Many of us are juggling so much, unless we’re really interested and see potential in you guys, we’d rather stay home and eat the leftovers.
    Gold diggers are after much more than just a free modest dinner worth $40 or less.  It’s not worth our time!  (shaking my head).  What a loser any guy who thinks that way.

  17. 77

    The men I date pay for all the dates, not just the first.

    I reciprocate sometimes getting the tip (if they even allow that – most don’t), but mostly I “Pay” my share by offering dates in my home where I cook a nice dinner, serve the drinks and have a movie rented or something. Or suprise them with tickets to a local event or concert…

    It’s never been an issue – I attract “old-school” gentleman types who wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m in my early 40s btw, dating men in their 40s. There are many gentleman out there who feel this way.

    I think it separates the men from the boys, actually.

  18. 78

    Generally, the person who invites you out pays.

    In fact, when it’s two men on a date, that’s usually how they handle it, as far as I can tell from my gay friends. They don’t say, “oh, we’re men, we’ll just split it.” (And lesbians don’t sneak out of the restaurant without paying because they’re both women and women don’t pay!)

    Great example is Gem, #81. When a guy invites her out, he pays. When she invites him to her home for dinner and a movie, she pays. If you don’t cook, you could buy tickets to a concert or treat the other person to something else they’d be interested in. Maybe take a cooking or dance class together!

    When I was younger, I was uncomfortable with my date paying–I’d usually insist on splitting the bill. That rarely went over well. Men almost always took it as a signal that I wasn’t interested in them. Sometimes they’d even start an argument about it right in the restaurant.

    Now that I’m older, and well versed in dating, I don’t mind letting a guy pay for a date, because I do like Evan says, I make it the best date possible. The guy has a great companion for the evening with witty conversation and someone who takes a genuine interest in him. I offer to pay based on the situation. I totally get what Evan says about the “fake reach.” But I’m not a big fan of faking it!

    If the man is wealthy (and not cheap,) he expects to pay. If they guy is struggling (which is pretty common these days!) I will offer to split it (without faking.) If he still insists on paying, I pick up the drinks or buy him something the next time. After we’ve been dating long enough, I’ll cook for him.

    What’s most important is showing appreciation and trying to keep some balance. For every couple of dates that a guy pays for, you should be doing something thoughtful for him as well. It goes without saying that you’re following Evan’s advice and being the best date you can be, every time!

  19. 79

    @Gem #81
    I think it separates the men from the boys, actually.”

    I couldn’t agree more.  I’m older now and date older men, but I found this true even when I was in my 20’s.  I ‘get’ that some men don’t like paying, particularly all the time, but those who do without making a fuss about it definetly have a edge over those who won’t or whine about it. Men paying for dates is what GROWNUPS do.

    Not all dates have to be expensive though – cooking at home, going to a party, going to free or low cost events, lunch or happy hour instead of dinner are all alternatives especially in the early dating days when you’re just getting to know each other. And unless you are well off, you will be doing those types of things as an established couple anyway. Especially after you have kids.

  20. 80

    Well, I am picking up a sense of entitlement from some of the women on here. The “princess mentality” is a turn-off. I think that as a guy, I should pay for the “main course” of the date, but I appreciate it when a woman at least *offers*, and then when I insist on paying, that she shows gratitude. In other words, she *doesn’t expect* it, but she *appreciates* it.
    That said, I make it a point to make first dates fairly inexpensive–dinner at a place where the entries are around $10 maybe. And I suggest coffee after dinner, where *she* pays for that.
    I’m not really buying the “I’ll help pay for the second date” concept either. Most first dates don’t lead to seconds, and I would say that women are usually the ones who decide there won’t be a second date. I like to know that even at the very beginning, that she is investing something in seeing whether this can work or not.
    And no, I don’t buy the women’s argument that the expenses they pay to look nice “count”. Just as some of the things we do to try to impress you–the flashy wardrobe (what you think we’d by Brooks Brothers if the planet were all dudes?), the nice car, that we cleaned our place up, don’t “count” for us.
    I guess it is a subtle concept I am getting at. I need to feel that she is in front of me on this date for me, and not for the drink/dinner/whatever. (Yes Katarina, I get that this has to be true logically, but I need to *feel* it.) So I like it when a woman offers to pay feeling appreciative for getting to spend time with me. And then yes, I will turn her down.

  21. 81

    Moderator: Will you please add “and gladly pay” at the end of my last sentence? Thanks!

  22. 82

    @Michael #85
    You think that grown women are acting like princesses because they don’t think that chivalry is dead?  I think the last few commenters pointed out how if given the chance, they’ll make things even, and how sometimes reaching for the check isn’t even allowed.  Thank goodness plenty of men still are okay being gentlemen.
    How many second dates are you getting taking grown women to Chili’s? I wouldn’t imagine that most $10 a plate restaurants would go over too well with anyone old enough to drink legally. Most high school boys do better than that.
    I don’t think anyone is expecting anything crazy, but I’d expect at least as much as I would treat myself to-and like the other women, as things progress, I’d definitely be offering up nice dinners (home-cooked or at restaurants) or other treats, like concert tickets.
    I think that both genders get to benefit from holding on to some traditions, but if you want to start out being really cheap, I don’t think you’ll frequently get to enjoy any of that.
    I don’t see how anyone wanting to date as an adult would think that being stingy and acting like the date is a transaction that you don’t want to invest in unless you are guaranteed results is a winning strategy.

  23. 83
    Katarina Phang

    Michael, on first dates especially, I *expect* men to pay and I *appreciate* it period.  I just got home from a first date tonight in which my date was in total agreement with me.  He’s old school like me and it was a turn on.  Lucky he is well off too.  But anyone can always adjust places to eat according to his level of income.
    Up to you, you want to turn on the women or you don’t.  Or would you rather fuss over $5 (who’s paying for coffee)?  Let’s just be frank, most women don’t look up to guys who refuse to pay the first few dates.  If we don’t feel special, you don’t get anywhere with us unless perhaps she has no other options. It’s a red flag to me.
    If it’s too much for you, then just have coffee for “meet and greet” (first date), that way you’re not going to be broke.  Second date, you can take her to a nice dinner in which *you* pay (don’t you want to impress her?).  Don’t even mention that she should take the check for coffee/drink.  One guy did it to me one time, oh boy….I definitely wasn’t interested in him after he said that.  It was stupid.

  24. 84
    Katarina Phang

    Not to mention it’s so TACKY talking about money first thing after you just met face to face.  Save it for later, for God’s sake.  It should be all about women feeling romanced.  Where’s the romance when you expect her to pay/offer to pay?  Sorry, i don’t care how broke you are or how rich/successful she is: be a man, respect yourself by showing the effort that you’re capable of taking care of your woman.  Then she will look up to you and warm up to you if there is some spark to start with (if not, at least you prove yourself that you can be chivalrous, something that is to die for in this time and age).
    If you don’t want your woman to emasculate you, don’t do it to yourself voluntarily.

    1. 84.1

      “It should be all about women feeling romanced.”


      Romance is hollywood bs.  That isn’t real life.

  25. 85

    @Katarina, #87 and 88,
    I totally agree with you.  I can’t imagine being too enthusiastic or nice to someone who is so clearly fixated on not spending any money or making sure that I pay my share or that he gets his money’s worth.
    The funny part is, I would bet that the men who are extra cheap and who want to only pay for coffee or go dutch are the first ones to try to demand that the relationship get “physical” so that they can check things out and determine whether you are worth spending more money on.
    I’m sure that men who are focused on the money just have a vibe that is a turn off, and when they get turned down, they label those women as “gold diggers.”
    But I would say that no one needs to accept this as an option.  We all have the option of ourselves, and if your only option is a person who doesn’t want to try at all then your choice should be yourself; the lovely thing about being a well-educated professional woman is that I can treat myself to loads of nice things on my own, and don’t have to settle for cheap dates or people who want to make sure I buy them a coffee to make things square.
    I think it’s pretty clear that this process requires patiences whether you get 5 dates a week or 1.  Filling in with substandard people is not a good idea for anyone.  The attitude that Michael displays is bound to manifest in a lot of other ways for anyone who accepts that behavior and enters into a relationship with him.
    And at no point is anyone advised to settle for people who aren’t into you and who won’t put forth any effort.  The advice to “settle” is NOT to settle for someone who doesn’t care about you.

  26. 86

    Anyone who doesn’t appreciate being treated is not worth spending any more time OR money on period. If you’ve dated women like this they’ve told you all you need to know about them, why continue?

    And Michael, if some guy suggested coffee after dinner and expected me to pay for it he would be SOL. It wouldn’t occur to me that was my responsibility – isn’t coffee (or dessert, or an aperitif) part of the meal? He/she who does the asking does the paying. And with that in mind, if I wanted to go for a drink afterward at a club at my suggestion, I would certainly be the one to treat my date there.

    You can get ticked about what you perceive as a “princess mentality – sense of entitlement”, but this is traditional dating. Buck tradation if you want to, but accept the consequences that women you may be really interested in may not be willing to play along with you – they’ll just think you cheap.  Many of us have learned that the men who pay for dates willingly are the ones who are most interested in us and potentially a relationship. The ones who balk at paying our way (when they’ve done the asking) are the ones who only want something casual – if that.

    Bottom line is to date within your means – with a generous spirit.

  27. 87

    Sounds like some PUAs have infiltrated this site!

  28. 88

    My Dear Princesses Andrea and Katarina =)


    I mean, if you met her off the Internet where you exchanged some emails and maybe a 10-minute phone call, then I’ve come to see the first date (meet) is better kept simple. How do we know you’re “special” anyway yet? We just met you!
    I’m all for putting extra *thought* into the date so it looks classy AND stays inexpensive though. A hole-in-the-wall ethnic place. Or coffee and if that goes well, maybe dinner. Creativity is currency too.
    You ladies might complain about chivalry being dead, but what you seem to be expecting–the guy footing the bill for a fancy dinner up front, for a girl he hardly knows and who probably won’t see him again (we all know that most first dates don’t lead to seconds, and usually it’s the woman deciding that), is just a sucker’s bet for the guy.  If a guy does this sort of routine 4 or 5 times a month, he’ll lose track of where all his money is going.
    In general, I’m all for *taking care* of the woman–by putting in the effort to plan the date out, walk her to her car, and so on. But I am a big believer that the woman has to invest something in this too. Just showing up looking pretty isn’t enough for me. Also, spending money to try to impress someone is a bad idea.
    A quality woman understand this. And YES, I’ve had a great first dates spending <$20, and I’ve gotten nothing out of taking women out on more expensive dates.

  29. 89
    Karl R

    Andrea said: (#86)
    “How many second dates are you getting taking grown women to Chili’s? I wouldn’t imagine that most $10 a plate restaurants would go over too well with anyone old enough to drink legally.”

    You sound like an entitled princess to me (and my girlfriend). And I’m accustomed to paying for most or all of the dates, unless my girlfriend’s income significantly exceeds mine.

    Andrea said: (#89)
    “I can’t imagine being too enthusiastic or nice to someone who is so clearly fixated on not spending any money or making sure that I pay my share or that he gets his money’s worth.”

    Michael17’s attitude is clearly a turn-off. But you are equally fixated about how much money a man is spending … and it’s just as much of a turn-off.

    I’ve routinely taken women to restaurants with prices comparable to Chili’s. The ambiance is nicer, but the price tag is within 20%. I’ve done first dates that were free before. If I exclude online dating, my success rate for getting a second date is around 90% to 95%.

    Andrea said: (#86)
    “I don’t think anyone is expecting anything crazy, but I’d expect at least as much as I would treat myself to”

    You’d be getting what I treat myself to. If you have champagne tastes, they won’t be satisfied on my budget.

    After 17 months of dating, I still pay for almost all of the dates. (My disposable income dwarfs my girlfriend’s, so it seems like the logical decision.) But our first date probably cost me $12 to $15 (which is low even by my standards).

    My girlfriend considers it a red flag when a man spends too much on the first date. It’s happened to her three times. One man was compensating for being insecure. Another wanted to get married as soon as possible. The third got grumpy when she wouldn’t have sex on the first date … after he spent all that money.

    Most women accept a second date based on whether they enjoy my company. If the cost of dinner is more important than my personality, good riddance.

  30. 90


    Totally agree with your post #92. I wouldn’t expect an extravagant “first meet date”, and like Karl’s girlfriend wouldn’t necessarily even want one. A light date that could be expanded if both people hit it off is preferable. And drinks at a modest restaurant (Chili’s say) fits that bill. 😉

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