Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Men Want Women to Pay for Dates, Study Says

Love or moneyIn an effort to understand “why some gendered practices are more resistant to change than others,” researchers from Chapman University in California collected data from more than 17,000 people — men and women — to see how changing gender norms have impacted dating and relationships. In their study, they discovered that despite many changing gender norms, men still pay for a majority of dates and they are sick of it. While 57 percent of women polled claimed they had offered to pay for a date, “84 percent of men, and 58 percent of women, reported that men pay for most dating expenses, even after they’ve been going steady for a while.” Two out of three men think it’s time for women to pay for more. But if a majority of women are offering and men are still paying most of the time, whose fault is that? Men’s guilt/ego. According to the the study, a whopping 76 percent of men felt bad about letting a woman pay. Whether they feel bad for the woman or for themselves, the study findings do not say.

The study did find that while initial dates may be overwhelmingly paid for by the men, over time “the vast majority of participants, both male and female, said they shared dating expenses in the first six months of seeing someone exclusively.” The study also found that nearly 30% of men would ditch a woman who never paid for anything on dates.

We’ve talked a lot about paying for dates and it’s safe to say that we DWers are pretty progressive in general and probably fall more on the side of thinking that women should be paying for dates at least SOME of the time, if not fully splitting the costs equally. My feeling is that on the first date whoever does the asking should pay, and then from there it should be mostly equal depending on a variety of factors, like who has more disposable income, who is responsible for making the social plans, and how each partner contributes to the relationship. For example, if one person has less disposable income but makes a lot of home-cooked meals, then it’s fair that the other partner treat more often when they go out to eat. Or, if one partner does most of the driving and pays for all the gas, then it’s fair that the other contribute a little more to their fun fund.

Of all the ways that gender norms have evolved, it seems like this one — paying for dates — is more emotionally heated than any other. Is the value of money so much greater than anything else? Are we judging someone’s interest in us and level of commitment by the amount of money he or she is willing to spend on us? What about the amount of time? Or the attention he gives? Or the things she does or says?
Do you think that people are looking at the way they divide the bills on their early dates as a precursor to what marriage and a merging of finances could look like one day? Are men and women now equally turned off — or at the very least, a little scared — by the idea of being a sole breadwinner? And do initial dates set up expectations of that role down the line?

[via Daily Telegraph]

92 comments… add one
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 1:11 pm

    But does it even count as a date if the woman pays?!

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed August 12, 2013, 1:12 pm

      Only if the man puts out afterwards

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 1:15 pm

        “Two out of three men think it’s time for women to pay for more.”

        In other news, 2 out of 3 men aren’t getting laid.

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      • avatar

        j2 August 12, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Winner!

        🙂

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 1:18 pm

    To be serious, which is apparently hard for me…

    “But if a majority of women are offering and men are still paying most of the time, whose fault is that? Men’s guilt/ego.”

    Is it really their guilt/ego, or is it likely that men know many women offer to pay, but really don’t intend to actually do so, or that if the man takes her up on her offer to pay, the woman might not like that? Before you yell at me, its here that I’ve read comments like that from women.

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    • katie

      katie August 12, 2013, 1:23 pm

      yea, that whole dynamic is sooooo incredibly fucked up. i couldnt believe what i was reading in some of those past threads, i remember what you are talking about.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 1:24 pm

        Yea, I don’t remember who was saying it, but I definitely remember the idea that you would offer to pay, but if they actually took you up on it, then they suck.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 12, 2013, 2:44 pm

        I remember that whole convo, too. I actually thought about it the other day— I was at the grocery store with my boyfriend, & I overheard this couple in line behind us semi-arguing over who should pay. The woman made some comment like, “So who’s paying? This is gonna be over $30…” The guy goes, “I’ll pay” immediately, but sounds annoyed, & then the girl is all, “No, it’s fine. I can pay.” Him: “No, I make more more, I’ll pay.” Her: “No, you don’t have to. I can pay! It’s fine!!”

        Meanwhile, clearly neither of them thought anything was fine.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 12, 2013, 2:46 pm

        Oh, & my point I guess is that it’s confusing? For both parties? Everyone has this sense of how things should be equal now, but I feel like the “default” still favors the man paying.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 2:49 pm

        If people are gonna be like that, then just split it every time. How annoying!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 12, 2013, 2:55 pm

        Oh god. That whole convo makes my skin crawl.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 12, 2013, 2:55 pm

        We have friends (who are a couple) like that. They keep track of how much either person has spent and like nickel and dime it. It’s super annoying. Just get separate checks!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 2:58 pm

        Right? That would make me nuts, but there’s such an easy solution.

        Do they do this in front of you? How embarrassing for everyone! I’d just pay their bill and never go out with them again. Jeez.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 12, 2013, 3:05 pm

        Yeah they do it when like the 4 of us go out to eat. Like “well I bought Subway Tuesday, and then you got use ice cream Wednesday, but I bought drinks last Friday…so you owe me $32 right now.” Ugh.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 3:09 pm

        Wow. That’s sounds like my version of hell.

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki August 12, 2013, 3:17 pm

        I couldn’t imagine that. Generally in our house I pay because I make more money. He pays for small things occasionally but between child support and giving me money to cover some of the bills, he has next to nothing left while I take home more than twice what he does. I couldn’t imagine saying “oh, you owe me $43 for xyz.”

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM August 12, 2013, 4:27 pm

        LOL I do think like that but only in early stages before a relationship is established. I’m talking the first 3-5 dates. I have a reason for it tho, not just being spoiled and entitled… In my experience, and this is juuuuuuust my experience, if a man is not putting out some sort of effort whether that be being committed and doing things like visiting your mom, holding your hair while you barf, cleaning your house, walking your dog, paying for the dinner, SOMETHING… he tends to really take advantage of the woman he’s having sex with. I’m the kind of person who rarely waits for the first date to have sex to begin with, I’m just terrible at delayed gratification, plus I tend to get myself in relationships with men who are assholes and/or suck in bed when I wait, so I want to know immediately what I’m dealing with there.

        Therefore… if he and I both show up for a date, we split our bill and each pay our very own share, and then go home and have sex, and I leave because well it’s a bit early for us to be spending the night and such, he really hasn’t put in any effort to get that sex, and takes it for granted. I find those guys really just do not appreciate the sex at all. He doesn’t need to send a monogrammed thank you note or anything, but not responding to phone calls the way he would any OTHER woman with whom he has **not** had sex, avoiding in public, trying WAY TOO HARD to make sure she knows this was just a one time thing, that sort of behaviour? Yeah. In my experience the guys who know straight up they’re paying for dates if they asked me out were much more respectful as they felt they had some sort of effort in it. It’s a sad effect of socialization but I’ve just never had good luck when the guy has to do nothing but show up showered and be polite to get laid. 🙁

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay August 12, 2013, 7:22 pm

      I’d agree with you, lbh. The guilt thing doesn’t really make sense to me because I don’t know any guy who feels guilty about not paying. I feel like a lot of it them assuming women aren’t actually offering or they just think they’re supposed to and don’t look into it any further than that.

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  • katie

    katie August 12, 2013, 1:25 pm

    i think a huge part of it is that men are still viewed as, and view themselves as, only of value for how much money they spend. the whole breadwinner-taker-care-of-family thing. i think that influences it a ton from both perspectives. as much as everyone says they would love to have equality, if a man still believes his worth is tied to his money, that equality thats wanted will fall by the wayside. your own self perception is much harder to change then society, i think.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl August 12, 2013, 1:32 pm

    Where are these men who insist on paying for everything, I’ve never met a man like that.

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    • Copa

      Copa August 12, 2013, 2:03 pm

      My boyfriend is (kinda) like that. (He’d pay for everything if I didn’t offer to pay sometimes.) He pays for most things. He’s even offered to pay for things that have completely surprised me, like when we were out shopping and I was going to buy myself something (can’t remember what, but I want to say it was a scarf?) and he tried to throw down his credit card. I thanked him for offering but it was a little strange to me because I’d never, ever expect a boyfriend to cover that kind of thing.

      I once asked him who he thought should pay if a woman asks a man out on a first date. He said the man should pay, because that’s just how society has made him think. He was shocked when I said I think the asker should treat the askee.

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    • avatar

      LT August 12, 2013, 2:05 pm

      I think there are some regional differences to this one.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 2:06 pm

      I’m pretty sure if I let it happen, I wouldn’t have to pay for anything ever. I feel like a lot of men are happy to do it.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 12, 2013, 2:24 pm

        GGuy definitely would pay for everything if he could afford it. When we first started dating he did pay for the bulk of things. I would chalk it up to regional differences/differences in up bringing. To him it’s just what men are expected to do. (I do go along with it some times, but I also treat him too. Usually when I whip my car out faster than he can.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I wonder if any of it has absolutely nothing to do with society, upbringing, region, etc. Honestly, I think peter just LIKES to pay/treat and I totally get that, because I’m the same way. Some people just like to pay, period.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 12, 2013, 3:09 pm

        You’re both from the North East right? Because that’s what I’ve experienced up there too…people across the board love to treat each other. Down South, IME, it’s always the men paying. And when we go out with his parents, it’s always his father who pays, always. But yeah, I think some people just enjoy paying. (I personally don’t mind him paying unless I know he doesn’t have the money. Even when we use “our” money, he is usually the one to pull out his card.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 3:11 pm

        Yes! Maybe it is an east coast thing. Pretty much everyone I know fights for the bill (in a teasing way), regardless of gender.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose August 12, 2013, 2:57 pm

      My ex-boyfriend paid for everything. He was from the south and totally embraced the “southern gentleman” mind frame. Additionally, he was an officer in the military and I was a single mom with a crappy job, so he clearly could afford it more than I could. I never would have eaten out that much (I almost always eat at home) if he hadn’t been so insistent that we go out and he treat. We dated 18 months and I paid for meals twice. Both times because I managed to sneak the bill away from him. He was actually a bit upset those two times I paid. I would cook as much as possible and have him over for dinner.

      It was unusual, but I will admit I got a little bit spoiled by it.

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    • Roxy_84

      Roxy84 August 12, 2013, 3:45 pm

      I dated a guy for a little while who insisted on paying for everything. While he had definitely done very (very) well for himself so there was no reason for me to feel bad about it, it was still awkward as hell.

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      • avatar

        TheGirlinME August 12, 2013, 6:20 pm

        My (retired military) Dad; my ex (retired military)husband; and two former (military officer) b/fs are all straight up, no pretending, OFFENDED by any offer/attempt to pay a restaurant/bar tab. I wonder if that is part of the protect/provide thing that comes from a military backgound? Curious to hear if any other ladies have experienced this?

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson August 12, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Breaking news: After 2.5 months I paid for a date yesterday. It was amazing. I snuck the check when I went to the bathroom.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo August 12, 2013, 1:40 pm

    M and I were totally equal from day one. If I paid once, she paid the next time. Neither of us had doodley squat anyway, so we both knew that asking for much would be not only out of order but also a deal-breaker, as in, we just literally couldn’t pay for anything, period.

    We also had all the “we’re modern adults, aren’t we?” thinking, but it was just financial limitations, really. If you want your date to pay, maybe don’t date an English major. We do put out, though. I will say that for us. And we’ve read up on technique and whatnot, beforehand. Extensively.

    And we know how to cook.

    Actually, maybe you should be paying.

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  • avatar

    tbrucemom August 12, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I think there are a lot of women who do offer to pay knowing that the man isn’t going to accept it. There are also a lot of women who still expect a man to pay for everything. Then there are women that think like Wendy, which in my opinion makes the most sense. Anyway, I think it’s kind of confusing to men sometimes because of these differences. My now fiance paid for the first several dates and then I started paying occassionally. Now that we’re engaged it’s not really an issue, since it’s pretty much the same money.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs August 12, 2013, 1:46 pm

    ugh, this just reminds me of this guy i was dating who would always expect me to pay for everything because i have a PhD and he assumed i made boatloads of money (not true)….such a turn off

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  • avatar

    bethany August 12, 2013, 1:56 pm

    I think this issue is really just about compatibility, like most dating things… You need to find someone on the same page as you. I would never have felt comfortable dating a guy who always paid for dates, and my husband never would have dated a girl who never paid for dates, so it worked out well for us.
    That said, there are some men (and women), who love pampering their significant other with dates and gifts, and there are women (and men) who are accepting of that, and enjoy that sort of treatment.

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  • dabbler

    dabbler August 12, 2013, 2:08 pm

    This is why I hate dating! Stuff like this makes my brain hurt. I feel like by today’s standards, at least on the first date, the woman is expected to offer, but the man is supposed to pay anyway. If she doesn’t offer, he thinks she’s a prude/taking advantage/whatever, but if he accepts her offer to pay, he’s cheap/unchivalrous/whatever. Then they both spend too much time analyzing WHAT IT ALL MEANS. (He didn’t pay! am i being friend-zoned (TM)?) When in reality, if it’s a first date, they’re probably both at least a little awkward, don’t know what they’re “supposed” to do, don’t have the money to cover their date’s unexpected third glass of $10 wine, whatever. Some of it is personality or money issues that you really don’t know or share on a first date. It’s all too much.
    I like Wendy’s idea of who asks, pays, but in a way, going in with the intention of each paying your own levels the playing field. You’re there to get to know each other, not judge their character by who pays what. If one or the other decides to treat, awesome, but it shouldn’t be expected. Give a sincere thank you, and maybe offer to pick up the check next time.
    If there’s no second date, no harm in paying for your own meal, and if there are more dates, there will be plenty if chances in the future to treat each other. Win-win.

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  • avatar

    Sophronisba August 12, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Chivalry [shiv-uhl-ree]
    1. the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.
    It may be hundreds of years on, but I believe this is the root of men paying for dates.
    I guess it’s hard to be a “parfit gentil knight” and have to spring for the chicken EVERY time..sheesh.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo August 12, 2013, 4:39 pm

      Come forward in time a couple hundred years and the values of “chivalry” morph into the “cavalier” attitude, which is also knightly, but is basically about trying to get laid right now before going out to battle and maybe dying. As this basically implies, it’s all about the “short game,” so it’s probably best if the derriere-du-cheval pays.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl August 12, 2013, 2:27 pm

    Navigating the dating world terrifies me. I’ve never been on a real “grown up” date.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo August 12, 2013, 4:34 pm

      What happens on a real grown up date? Do they talk about the middle east and stuff? Changes in tax law? Confirm prior sexual history via a handy checklist? Does he kiss her on the mouth only if she jiggles her keys?

      I always used to go out to bars, hear bands and drink, then go back to hers or mine and have sex. Sometimes there would be dinner. Isn’t that what everyone does?

      Any event I’m a part of is juvenile by default, unless it’s actually infantile.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 13, 2013, 8:26 am

        I wasn’t trying to imply anything like you’re saying, but I do honestly have NO idea what “grown up” dating is. GGuy and I got together when I was barely 22, we didn’t go on dates until it was established we where a couple and exclusive. Before that we hung out in mostly group settings, house parties, baseball games, etc, got drunk and passed out. The idea of meeting a person and having a one on one conversation with them, what ever the setting- bar, restaurant, coffee shop, is very scary to me. So is online dating.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo August 13, 2013, 10:36 am

        GG, i was just joshin’. No offense intended. My experience was much like yours, in terms of our ages and experience (I was 23 when we got together). Switch hockey for baseball, add more bands, and we’re about the same, I bet.

        If there was a point to my needling, it would be that I wouldn’t even know how to go about being a “proper grown-up” even now at 47. You can only be yourself. If the other person doesn’t like that, there you go. My biggest fear back then was that someone would believe I was really this mature thoughtful person and then be disappointed when they realized i’m just a post-adolescent goof, which i still am.

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  • avatar

    Joanna August 12, 2013, 2:36 pm

    I don’t know how I feel about this. When I go out with my boyfriend, he always pays and is happy to. Sometimes if I’ve got cash on me, I’ll throw down the tip and he’ll get the bill. But he knows he has more disposable income than me and he takes me to places that I would never be able to afford on my own.

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  • avatar

    savannah August 12, 2013, 3:02 pm

    This is how I feel: Every time a man has taking me up on going dutch on the first date he then never follows up on a second date. Every time a man has passed on us splitting he calls for a second date. So while I would be happy to pay 50/50 on a first date in theory, it usually signifies (in my experience) disinterest in further dates. All post first dates are up for grabs however and I’ve had a bunch of men who will let me pick up the check on second dates without any negative effects.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay August 12, 2013, 8:37 pm

      Yeah, the guys who’ve insisted on paying, in my experience, have been the ones who were looking for something serious, and the ones who split the bill (like starting on the first date) were looking for sex. I think a lot of guys think that paying the bill signifies something a lot different than splitting it does, and they can be very particular about what message they want to convey.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones August 12, 2013, 3:08 pm

    I have a married platonic friend who was always picking up our lunches, etc. until I insisted on paying for some of them. I think he pays for his wife and kids and is just used to paying for everything… now we split the check when I visit and we go out. He, like me, is in his 50’s and “east coast old school”… whereas out where I live, it isn’t assumed that the man will pay.

    Here is another similar issue. I have a 90 year old aunt who has no children and I spend about $1000 2x per year to fly, rent a car, stay in a suite at her retirement community, to visit with her, take her out to eat or on excursions that she can still do with her walker. On the last trip I overlapped with my sister, who also presumably spent a bunch of money to go and visit our aunt. I love these visits as I also get to see old friends… and I take my aunt , who no longer drives, out to any restaurant she wants, any museum she wants, any movie she wants… She always insists on paying, fights for the bill, and I let her because she seems to enjoy doing it , and maybe I will leave the tip. My sister, on the other hand, doesn’t want my aunt to pay for anything, and doesn’t let her, so it gets a bit awkward, like she was waiting for me to grab the check… but I am feeling inside that “geez, this trip was already expensive… When it was just my aunt and I it was fine, but add my sister into the mix and it feels a little uncomfortable.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna August 12, 2013, 3:15 pm

    I would be uncomfortable if I didn’t pay for some of our dates. There’s no basis for the idea that the man should pay anymore. It’s a leftover social norm from different times. I think keeping it alive still is linked to a nostalgia for traditional gender norms, something I just don’t have, at all. Basically, gender shouldn’t influence how much you’re paying.

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  • avatar

    Painted_lady August 12, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Ugh. I don’t know – it depends on the guy. I’m not saying this is right, just that it happens, that for first dates especially, because there’s the social expectation that a guy should pay, he certainly pays if he wants a second date. So it’s not that the guy paying *should* be seen as a rejection, just that sometimes it *is* a rejection. I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong (actually, I think it’s pretty fucked up – if you want to see a woman again, you signal that by forking out money for her?!?!?!). And yeah, I think it’s sort of a double-edged sword for both parties – if a guy pays, he sets the expectation that he’s going to pay and as well that he’s the kind of guy who needs that/feels like he should do that, but if he lets the woman pay or they split it, he’s either not interested or he’s cheap. But then if a woman lets a man pay, she’s a gold-digger, but if she insists on paying at least her half, she’s ungrateful, ball-busting…or actually, sometimes it’s interpreted as uninterested (I know several women who *insist* on paying and won’t hear no particularly if they had a terrible time, just so there’s no sense of obligation). I know we will eventually get to a more egalitarian place with this, but holy shit is the transition ever confusing!!!

    Random question (not that this applies for Walter and I so much, although, bless that boy’s heart, he is bad about speaking up in these kinds of situations), what do you guys do when you get invited someplace outside your means? I dated a very sweet guy a few years ago who very much liked the finer things in life; our first date was to a $75/plate restaurant where he treated me to a three-course meal along with drinks. I loved it, of course, but there was no way I could have paid that with what I was making back then. He could, and he didn’t seem to mind, but I would have really liked to pay my share. There was no way to politely say, “Listen, I love these places, but I can’t afford them, so if you want to go there, you’ve got to pay.”

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 3:27 pm

      I think if someone is inviting you to an expensive restaurant, its a given (or should be) that they will pay for your meal.
      But anyway, I think saying what you said at the end IS a polite thing to say. What’s so bad about honesty?

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      • avatar

        Painted_lady August 12, 2013, 3:34 pm

        I just felt like there was no way that wasn’t going to come out sounding like a total gold-digger. Plus, I spent the first five-ish years of my adult life being flat-ass broke, and after awhile, I couldn’t tell if people didn’t mind treating or were just too polite to say so.

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        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 3:35 pm

        I guess you could’ve added “or we’ll have to go somewhere more in my price range.” But I still think it would’ve been fine to say.

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      • avatar

        Painted_lady August 12, 2013, 3:38 pm

        Well, and if you get right down to it, I just wasn’t ever going to get to that kind of comfort-level with him. Which, I guess, was a good sign we didn’t need to date.

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    • avatar

      starpattern August 12, 2013, 3:42 pm

      I think in this case it comes down to choosing the right words. A more graceful way to say it might be, “Oh, I’d love to go to Expensive Restaurant, but it’s just not in my budget right now,” in response to his suggestion that you go there. You’d get the same point across (I’d love to but can’t afford it) but instead of *telling* him he’ll have to pay, it opens the door for him to *offer* to do so. I know, seems a little nitpicky – but still a nicer way to go about it, IMO.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna August 12, 2013, 3:45 pm

      I like Wendy’s suggestion that whoever asked the other out pays for the 1st date. Also, I don’t think paying for one date should raise any huge issues… If you (not you-you, general you) can’t afford to treat someone for one date, then you should go for cheaper dates. Unequal shares only really become an issue when the costs start adding up, which takes a few dates. So though I just said that I hate traditional gender norms, I would never think badly of a guy for treating me for a 1st date. (Also, it’s pretty common where I live to get invited for drinks by friends and even near strangers, so that’s not just something about dates – small amounts are just covered by whoever gets drinks at the bar). I would simply cover the 2nd or 3rd date, announcing it with “it’s my turn now!”. And I wouldn’t ask to split, because that seems cheap to me. It’s better to just take turns paying the entire bill. (Although I understand it can be an issue with low incomes).

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland August 12, 2013, 3:49 pm

      Hmm… I think when he brought it up I would say something along the lines of, “Wow, that place seems really nice. I think I could cover drinks and an appetizer but anything else is out of my price range.”

      Then his options are A) “Yeah, you are right it does seem pricey. How about we go to Y instead?” B) “You got apps and drinks, I got main course and dessert. Yay!” C) “Babe, I’ve got you covered.”

      I feel like you have sent out a warning, but left a window for him to either pay some/all if it is something he really wants to go to? I dunno, that might be took awkward for some people but my dating style is awkward anyways… 🙂

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    • avatar

      Christian August 21, 2013, 11:38 am

      For the question ” What do you guys do when you get invited someplace outside your means?” – I live in an old-fashioned world where this does not happen. As a man, it is ME who invites and it is the women who want to be asked. If she insists to go somewhere you cannot afford, either you go for your reserves and hope that it has been an exception or you are not supposed to play in her league.

      I agree that this starts to get weird, because there are more women to get university degrees than men now, so it is more and more difficult for the men to keep up in terms of status.

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  • Copa

    Copa August 12, 2013, 3:28 pm

    One of my girl friends has really bizarre thought patterns that revolve around who pays for dates. She thinks men should always pay, and that a man paying = a man is chasing you, and being chased = best thing ever. In her first serious relationship (ages 21-26), she never paid for a thing and absolutely refused to do so. I can accept if someone thinks the first few dates, the man should pay (even though I disagree), but I think it’s weird to never pay a dime toward a date in 5 years.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland August 12, 2013, 3:52 pm

      …I don’t even think I could be friends with a person like this. I dunno why, but it just would drive me absolutely mad. I think I could be better friends with a call girl who just honestly charges by the hour for whatever services she is supplying. 🙂

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      Christian August 21, 2013, 11:18 am

      This is absolutely weird. In contrast, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who said she was pretty uncomfortable with the guy paying because it resulted in a kind of obligation. So in her mind, the equation was man paying = man “buying” you. It even went that far that she stopped dating someone because she felt that if she had a third date with him, she would be obliged to have sex with him.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray August 12, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Growing up in the north, and now living in the south, I have noticed pretty big differences. In my experience, in the north, men would pay for the first date (despite me always offering to split or pay for all of it), but we would split dates from there on. In the south, it would be at least 3 months of a man insisting on paying for dates before they were comfortable with me paying for the whole thing too. And with my fiance, he pays for everything we do out. He always has. He insists on it, even though I make a lot more. I find other ways to do things for him. I do all of the cooking at home, which I love doing, and I often surprise him with coffee and other little things he would like. He is the type of person who genuinely adores taking me out, so it’s not a point of contention anymore. And now that we have merged our finances, it doesn’t matter. He pays for dates, even if more of it may be “my” money. It’s really all about giving and taking–as long as there is a balance within the relationship. I think part of men wanting women to pay for dates has to do with how much work is put in from both sides. Men often do a lot of the date planning in the early stages, maybe they feel like they’re not getting enough in return? I do think the gender roles are silly, despite me being in a more “traditional” relationship, but it’s really what works for the couple, and it’s best for people to find someone who has the same idea about paying.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland August 12, 2013, 4:05 pm

    What would you do/think if a guy used a gift card, or a coupon, to pay for you on a first date?

    GO.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle August 12, 2013, 4:08 pm

      Honestly? I’d be like… wtf (which isn’t fair, but I feel like it’s about making a good first impression. And whipping out a coupon/gift card would not make a very good first impression? AND for the record, I would never pay for a first date with those things either… I mean, I hate using them at all in restaurants, because I always get this feeling the staff assumes I’ll be stiffing them. Which isn’t the case!!)

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      • avatar

        HmC August 12, 2013, 10:18 pm

        A first date is kind of like a job interview, especially if it’s a blind date. You know very little about each other, and you are hyper aware that you are both forming an all important first impression. So given that context, I don’t think it’s weird to notice tiny details in behavior. You both know what the rules are and how important your actions and how they will be interpreted are on a first date. If I show up 10 minutes late to an interview, it’s a message I don’t really care that much, because I know every little thing counts, or at least I should. I don’t really see the offense in a coupon personally, unless the guy seemed like a cheapskate or something otherwise, but I do see how people can fixate on such things in the context of a first date and I don’t really blame them.

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      lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 4:10 pm

      I think that’s pretty weird. Like, doesn’t he have ANY other time to use it then on a first date?
      That said, we have a collection of gift cards at this point to almost every restaurant in our area. I’m not sure why we never just use them.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 12, 2013, 4:38 pm

        I love going out to eat with gift cards! It’s the best!

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        lets_be_honest August 12, 2013, 4:41 pm

        Maybe I should leave them in the car and actually remember to use them then.

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        AliceInDairyland August 12, 2013, 5:30 pm

        Yes I agree! …I always ask for restaurant giftcards for Christmas and Birthdays, Benjamin and I rarely go out to restaurants without a giftcard. Is that weird? I guess that’s weird.

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      GatorGirl August 12, 2013, 4:12 pm

      I would think it was cheap. I use coupons all the time, but something about a first date…in some weird irrational way it would be like I’m not good enough of a date for him to pay full price. (But take that with a grain of salt, like I said above, I’ve never dated as an adult.)

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    • mylaray

      mylaray August 12, 2013, 4:16 pm

      I agree with Fabelle, and I also don’t really like using coupons for restaurants anyways. It makes me feel weird. I know it’s not exactly fair, but for a first date, I would be a little annoyed honestly. If however, the guy said he would be using a coupon/gift card in advance of the date and was upfront about it, I would be a lot more lenient and think that makes a big difference. I think it’s just the surprise at the end that would be annoying to people…like thinking that the person didn’t really want to take you to that restaurant to begin with, etc

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    • avatar

      BreezyAM August 12, 2013, 4:35 pm

      I would not even care. If I had any reactoin I’d probably think it was smart and fiscally responsible of him!

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    • avatar

      bethany August 12, 2013, 4:37 pm

      On a first date? I dunno… I mean, if he paid for the whole thing with a gift card, fine. But if he pulled out a gift card for his half… Eh, I’d be offended.

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      • avatar

        rachel August 12, 2013, 4:43 pm

        Ha! That would be awkward. Like, well I’ve got a card for $30 off, you can get the rest right?

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        starpattern August 12, 2013, 5:07 pm

        Oh man, yeah that would be pretty rude.

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      WAPS August 12, 2013, 5:07 pm

      I’d be fine with it. Complaining or judging about seems a lot like criticizing a gift. If we aren’t supposed to equate our worth with how much a man spends on us, why would it matter if he didn’t pay the full amount? Also, as I joked with my fiance, eventually that’s my money too, so why wouldn’t I want him to save it?!

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland August 12, 2013, 5:32 pm

      I think I would just look at him and say…

      “COUPON!! YAY”

      As long as he wasn’t a douchenozzle about it and was like, “Well, now I can pay for YOUR half with MY giftcard.” If he was like, “Whoohoo, free dinner for us!” I would be fine.

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    • katie

      katie August 12, 2013, 8:12 pm

      i would look at him and be like “OMG WE ARE COUPONING SOULMATES WHEN IS THE WEDDING” as i pull out the same coupon.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay August 12, 2013, 8:31 pm

      I’d be fine with it. It would probably make me less awkward about the “who pays” thing. And the fact that he was covering part of my meal instead of only using it on himself would mean more to me than how much money he was spending.

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    • avatar

      Anna August 12, 2013, 11:45 pm

      I would be impressed and think he’s husband material, as well as someone to possibly watch Extreme Couponing with. 😀 Why pay more for something when you can pay less?

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    • avatar

      KL August 13, 2013, 10:15 am

      Haha, on my first “official” date with my BF, we both turned out to have coupons/GCs to the place (I think I had a coupon and he had a GC) and we used ’em both. We are cheapskates. But then we’d also known each other for like three years and had sex once before this “date” so there wasn’t really a lot of first-impressioning going on.

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  • avatar

    MissDre August 12, 2013, 5:51 pm

    I think my boyfriend paid for our first 3 dates. Ever since then, we split everything down the middle and I like it that way. We usually always just get one bill and then ask to pay with 2 debit cards. Or sometimes if it’s easier one person will pay and the other will send an email transfer later that night. I just like it this way because we’re always equal and there will never be any resentment about one person always paying or any feelings of taking the other for granted. We’ll probably be this way when we move in together too. I dunno, it just works for us.

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  • avatar

    Ammie August 12, 2013, 5:52 pm

    In my last relationship, we switched off paying every time we met each other halfway between our towns, and if he’d come down to see me or I’d gone up to see him, the person who didn’t have to drive paid for the date. We never talked about it or anything, but that seemed to work out fine. He implied that he thought he made more money than I did, and he may have, but he also had a ton more debt (I don’t have any), so I kind of considered us to be about equal financially.

    I don’t know, I think if you’re both trying to suss out one another as a potential life partner, you have an equal stake in being there, so it just makes sense that the two of you pay equally.

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  • avatar

    John Farrier August 12, 2013, 5:25 pm

    I think that individual couples have to sort this out, especially since people (at least in the US) can no longer assume the traditional gender roles in dating. It’s probably something that couples should talk about openly.

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    • avatar

      Christy August 12, 2013, 5:47 pm

      Yeah, this thread makes me glad I’m a homo.

      But when I visit my dude-bff (in another state) he pays for everything, pretty much. (His parents give him so much money that it’s like they’re paying.) And I’ve paid for my flight down there and taken time off work, so I don’t feel bad.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay August 12, 2013, 7:26 pm

    I’ve only dated one guy who actually insisted on paying. Every other guy has either suggested we split it (before I could even offer) or takes me up on the offer or says something like “I’ll pay this, and you can get the movie.” The guy who paid all the time was an engineer and made probably three times as much money as me, and also had more expensive tastes. I am fine with paying for my share of a date, but I’d much rather we switch off or something instead of doing the whole “split it down the middle” from the first date on.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones August 12, 2013, 7:58 pm

    My mother had everything paid for by my father. She did not even know how to balance a checkbook. My dod would shower her with jewelry for every occasion… That whole generation lived with very weird gender roles… I would have zero respect for a woman of my generation or younger who depended on a man for all of that. I think that my mother actually had no idea what our generation’s women were going through when we were focussing on our careers, etc. She would have preferred I marry a smug rich asshole to a kind and compassionate person of more modest means.

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  • avatar

    jbk886 August 12, 2013, 8:27 pm

    When I started dating my now-husband, I cooked dinner for him a few times a week, and he paid for any meals out. Money-wise, I think it balanced out fairly evenly.

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  • MackenzieLee

    MackenzieLee August 12, 2013, 9:18 pm

    Confession…This is literally why I avoid going out on dates at all costs. The whole check debacle is beyond daunting to me. I’m supposed to offer to split (or is it ask to pay?) and after how many insistings from him am I supposed to back down. I wish there were just hard and fast rules for awkward people like me.

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  • avatar

    HmC August 12, 2013, 10:13 pm

    I think it’s a cop out to say that whoever asks should pay UNLESS you also truly believe that men and women should both do the asking. Otherwise you’re putting it on guys just in a roundabout way.

    I don’t know what the right thing SHOULD be… well ok that’s not true, I’m a feminist so in a perfect world both sexes would do asking and paying. I’ve always offered to pay half on dates. But in my experience, every single guy who took me up on my offer on the first date just wasn’t interested. I literally have not had one guy accept my offer to split who actually contacted me after. So, that colors how I would feel about a date if a guy accepted my offer, obviously.

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  • avatar

    Anna August 12, 2013, 11:51 pm

    Thank you for this thread. About a week ago, I started a profile on Zoosk and (among the myriad of creeps and uggos) actually found a pretty cool guy I’ve been chatting and texting with for a few days. I know he wants to meet soon and I’m good with that but I really have no idea how to date. I don’t know if he will expect to pay because he is from the South or if I should still offer to split it. After all, I am a completely independent woman with a successful career. I could eat a nice dinner with or without a man to pay for it. When I think about going on a date it makes me crazy with anxiety.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay August 13, 2013, 8:54 am

      Yeah, it’s so confusing sometimes, especially with the regional stuff. I think that even guys who expect to pay, though, seem to assume that the woman is going to at least offer to split it?

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl August 13, 2013, 9:02 am

      GGuy says you should definitely offer. If he doesn’t take you up on it, he’ll be totally fine with saying no. Also, are you for sure he’s from the South? There are a TON of transplants in your area.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 13, 2013, 9:08 am

        I feel like its always polite to offer, so you can’t go wrong. And if someone would actually be offended by that, why would you ever want to date someone like that? So, new rule: just be polite, you can’t go wrong.

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