Does a man pay on a first date…or have times changed?
What do you think; should a man pay the full bill on a first date, or should a woman offer to contribute her share? I came across an article in Elite Daily, Why A Guy Shouldn’t Have To Pay For The First Date, by Alexis Garcia. The author takes a strong stand against men paying for a first date. I know many people who agree with her, and many who vehemently disagree. Since this is such a hot button topic in dating, I wanted to open up the conversation, share my opinion, and then hear your thoughts.
Following are highlights of the article in blue, along with my reflections about why a man should or should not pay on a first date.
Should a Man Pay on a First Date?
The article began…
…why would I expect a guy to pay for me? If I go out to eat, drink or dance with any stranger, why would I expect for them to pay? Would you expect your friend to pay for you if you went out? To expect for someone else to pay for you is rude in any situation.
Going on a first date is NOT the same as going out with any old stranger. And most people don’t expect their friends to pay for them when they go out.
Dating is not in the same category as friendship or dining and dancing with any old stranger. Dating is a selection process based on attraction and a bunch of other factors, such as shared values and common interests. It is predicated on social norms that go back to the beginning of time. Like it or not, we’re still attracted based on similar principles as our cavemen ancestors. We can’t really help it.
So, let’s look at dating for what it is—courtship and romancing a person of interest.
If we lived in traditional times where women stayed at home, cleaned, cooked dinner, raised the family and served thy husband, then OK, I’d get it. That’s not how it is though. Women are more independent than ever. We work hard and play hard, just like men. We’ve come to a time where we, as women, are self-made, successful, in touch with ourselves and so much more.
Picking up the tab on a date is not based on who stays home and cooks dinner for men like Ward Cleaver. Yes, women are much more independent than they were 60 years ago. Thank goodness for greater equality in the work place. Women are CAPABLE of paying for the first date, the second date, and beyond. But does that mean they should always pay? I don’t think so.
Again, this is based on hard-wired principles of attraction and masculinity/femininity. Most men are hard-wired to provide. It’s one way of defining his masculinity. When a woman says, “I’ve got this”, how does that make a man feel? Most often…emasculated.
He may appreciate the offer, but he’ll most likely refuse her credit card, because he enjoys providing for her. No matter who can afford it.
I’m not trying to take the femininity away from women and the masculinity and chivalry away from men. There are many other ways to show these things. If a man wants to pay for the tab because he wants to pay for it, OK. But we women shouldn’t assume anything.
Huh? This part confused me. If she isn’t trying to mess with femininity, masculinity, and chivalry, then what exactly is she doing? And why is it okay to have chivalry show up in other areas of dating, but not on a first date?
Should women ASSUME that a man will pay on a first date? I don’t think women should assume anything, whether it’s a first or tenth date. I don’t think men should assume anything either.
Less assumptions, curiosity and open-minds on a first date. That would be awesome! But, let’s get back to the topic at hand…who pays for the first date? I’m a big proponent for chivalry. And guess what? Most women who offer to pay get angry when a man accepts. Double standard?
Yes, it’s confusing, but if we go back to the attraction factor, to our hard wiring, it’s easier to understand. We don’t have a lot of control over our primitive brains when it comes to attraction and courtship, no matter what century we’re living in.
So, here’s what I advise my clients: if you don’t want to pay on a first date, don’t offer. If you do want to offer and you’re okay with him accepting, do ask if you can contribute. Most men will refuse. If he doesn’t, deal with it graciously.
I pay for myself and if I’m feeling generous, I pay for the guy unless he is persistent that he pay.
She pays for the guy, too? I’m sorry, but this just feels wrong to me on a first date. Studies show that during the courtship phase of dating (remember when people actually courted instead of hanging out and hooking up with no commitment?), the man pays for the woman.
How can a woman contribute without emasculating the guy? She can offer to pick up the tab if they go somewhere after dinner for drinks. She can pay for valet parking if he pays for dinner. But the man traditionally pays for dinner dates.
Once the couple is in a relationship, there is more equality in terms of who initiates and who pays. That’s when the woman might buy concert tickets, treats him to dinners at her place, and they take turns paying for stuff. It’s really up to the couple, and it doesn’t interfere with attraction and respect at this stage of the game. Ultimately, each couple should have the ‘money talk’ and decide who pays for what. Some of it is based on income. Some on personal preferences.
Sometimes we like to make going on a first date a marathon. First we go to a live event, then grab dinner, dancing and end the night with drinks. There’s nothing wrong with taking turns to pay for your night out. No worries, I got dinner, you can get the drinks.
I agree with sometimes taking turns paying after you’re in a relationship, as I outlined above. But a ‘first date marathon’? I don’t know about Ms. Garcia, but if I’m dating someone for the first time, someone I probably met online and know very little about, I don’t want to spend six hours with him on a first date.
Whatever happened to meeting for coffee, tea, ice cream, or a drink? You spend an hour or so together, see if there’s a connection, and if there is, go on a longer date next time.
Try it. Then you’ll go home feeling like you don’t owe him anything.
So, if a woman pays her own tab, she can go home feeling like she doesn’t owe him anything (aka sex)? Wow! If a man pays for me on a first date, especially if he’s footing the bill for my iced Americano, I don’t feel I owe him anything. Not a kiss. Not a second date.
Well, I do owe him something—a sincere thank you. For his time, for picking the venue, for treating me to coffee.
If paying for someone’s drink makes them feel entitled to sexual favors, isn’t that called prostitution?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Should a man pay for a first date?