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What Women Think: Who Should Pay on the First Date?

By Lizbeth Perez

Paying Etiquette – Who Should Pay on the First Date?

Let’s be honest. Dating is hard. First, you have to meet someone. Then, you get to know each other. At one point, this meant phone calls and dates. But now, with all of the advanced technology, phone calls have turned into texts, dates into “virtual” dates via Skype and then, if you’re lucky, you’ll go on a "real” date.

So, with all of these new dating rules, does this mean that all the old standards and rules change? Does the three-day rule still apply now that we have social media? Is it only official if it’s “Facebook official?" Should the guy still pay on the first “real” date? Or are our expectations just too high, and chivalry really is dead…

While I might not be able to answer the majority of these questions, I can’t help to think that not only chivalry is not dead but that also I really think that a guy should be the one to pay on the first date.

No, I’m not old fashioned. I’m actually as independent and as modern of a woman as they come. I’m the kind of girl who can pay my own bills, buy my own drinks when I go out and don’t really need a man to do anything for me. Yet, I’ll admit, having a guy not pay on the first date is basically the kiss of death for any chance of ever making it to date number two with me.

I remember, about five years ago when I still lived in California, I met this guy who seemed perfect (at least he did at the time). We met at a club, were instantly attracted to each other, switched numbers and eventually decided to go on a date a few days later.  He took me to a bad movie (The Fog) and home, since we both worked the next day.  

But, before I had him drop me off, I had him take me to the Starbucks drive through. I needed a coffee, badly. I had homework, and being the procrastinator that I was, hadn’t even started. I had him place my order, and when we got to the window and time to pay came, he turned to me and asked for my card. The coffee was a little over three dollars. I was a bit shocked, but pulled out my card without missing a beat. 

To say I was turned off was an understatement. There was no goodnight kiss (though he tried) and the next few times he called or texted, I made sure it went to voicemail or I hit ignore. Years later, I ran into him and he asked me why we never went out on another date. 

I couldn’t help but smile, and said I had to get going…

To this day, whenever I’m on a date and the check comes, I always offer to split it. Not once has a man ever agreed to it. I do it as a sort of a test in a way. I want the guy to see I have no problem splitting it, but at the same time I want to see if he’s stingy or chivalrous. The fact that that one guy many years ago couldn’t pay for my three-dollar drink remains an outlier when compared to the norm of guys WANTING to pick up the tab after our first date. And to be honest, I’m glad for that.

It seems I’m not the only woman who feels that way.

Johanna, a 31-year-old accountant from New Jersey, couldn’t help but chuckle while I told her my story.

“You actually offer to split it with them? I won’t even do that; if you want to be out with me you need to pay.”  She follows this statement quickly saying she’s only had a questionable situation once before as well.

“…I was meeting a guy at Panera for lunch. When I get there, he’s already there waiting. We say our hellos, and he immediately informs me I should go order since his food is probably almost ready. He didn’t even have the decency to wait to order with me but remained seated and didn’t even attempt to pay for my lunch. It annoyed me to see that he wasn’t willing to pick up a nine dollar tab, especially since it was his idea we meet for lunch..."
There was no second date in Johanna’s case either.

I asked a good amount of women the same question, and most, but surprisingly not all of them, agreed that the man should pay for the first date. And in the instances where the guy either came up with a lame excuse or declared that the bill should be split, there was NOT ONCE a second date.

Of all the women that I posed this question to, one of the few women who argued that a man shouldn’t always have to pay for the first date was a 26-year-old pharmacy student from West Palm Beach by the name of Melissa.

Melissa claim’s that who pays the bill really does depend on two factors: who asked whom on the date, and who makes more money/chose the place. 

“If I know I make a lot more money than the guy I’m with, yea, what’s wrong with picking up the bill? I can afford it, he can’t. Same thing goes if I did the asking. What’s fair is fair…”

But what if you’re not with him? What if technically speaking, you two aren’t still “Facebook official”? Then what? 

Should you get mad like I did, when the guy didn’t think twice about telling me to pay for my own coffee? Would you give him another chance to redeem himself? What if he didn’t have any cash but didn’t want to put the three dollars on a credit card, does he get a get out of jail free card then?

I guess I’m not really as modern as I claim to be. And, technically speaking neither are most of the women I spoke with. We might be independent, strong, educated beautiful women, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like some sort of romance. We, whether it’s subconsciously or not, like the idea of a man who will be able to provide for us. I mean think about it, what exactly is there to say about a man who can’t provide you with three dollars for a coffee…


Anonymous said...

I love this article. I think you really put it well : "What is there to say about a man who can't pay for your coffee?" I have been in numerous situations where I would pay for my own tea. Just like you said, there was NO second date. As a matter of fact, I walked out during the first as soon as I realized that he was that cheap.

Anonymous said...

very poorly written article.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you for this article! I thought I was literally the only one going on dates where people were having a hard time paying for coffee. I think this may be hard for some men to accept, but you are absolutely correct when you say that there are NO SECOND DATES for men that have no decency to pay for your latte. Thanks again and keep up the good work!


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