Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How Men and Women View Money and Dating

Happy Tax Day, everyone! In honor of the occasion, Match.com conducted a survey to discover how singles feel money and dating. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, men are “three times more likely to think there are high expectations on how much money they need to spend.” What men may not realize is that spending all that money isn’t necessary. According to the survey, “most women don’t want expensive dates; they’d prefer something more casual.” After the jump, a few more findings about singles, dating and money.

* 46% of women would be fine if their date used a coupon to pay for the date.

* Over half of men are spending more than $50 on a date. Women, on the other hand, are three times more likely to only spend $25 or less on the actual date.

* Women spend more money on activities to prepare for their dates than men. 53% said they spend money in advance on new outfits and pre-date grooming. 65% of women spend more than $50 on preparing for the date.

* A majority of singles (82%) that are surveyed said that financially generous actions like tipping, donating and tithing would increase their interest in their date.

So, do any of these findings surprise you? If you’re a woman, how would you feel if your date used a coupon? Would it make a difference if it was the first date or not? Does the amount of money a man spends affect how you feel about him or the date? Do you think it’s unfair that men spend more on dates, or do you think it’s justified considering how much women spend on grooming and looking good? Do you think we’ll still having these discussions in fifty years? [via prnewswire.com]

49 comments… add one
  • HmC April 15, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I’m kind of an old-fashioned fuddy duddy I guess, but I think guys should pay for the first date, especially if they did the asking. I’ve always used the argument that women put much more effort (and money) into preparing for that first date, so it evens out. After that though, I’m all about splitting the check and having a monetarily equal relationship. I wasn’t raised to think of men as financial providers, so I’m happy to support myself, in a relationship or otherwise. I guess I just view that first date thing as an anomaly and cute tradition.

    Also, in my experience, if a guy didn’t pay for the first date he either wasn’t interested, or was a loser/psycho. I know that’s not politically correct of me to say, and maybe it’s not the way it *should* be, in a perfect world, but I can’t deny that it has been my personal experience.

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  • elisabeth April 15, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I’d have no qualms if a guy had a coupon to use on our date. I’d probably be impressed with his forethought and thriftiness – I have a whole stack of coupons at home that I wish I would remember to utilize! Then again, I guess if the coupon-using became regular and spending in general became stingy, as opposed to thrify, that might be troubling. I guess? In general, though, if a guy shows he knows how to spend wisely and use resources to his advantage, good on him.

    I think I’d feel uncomfortable if a date spent $50 in one go. I know I always look for inexpensive menu items when we go out. This works both ways, if he decides to pay I know I haven’t cleaned out his pocket, and if I pay for my half then I’m not spending beyond my means.

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    • TheGirl April 15, 2011, 12:56 pm

      I’m down with the coupons! Just as long as he doesn’t turn out like Rose Nylund’s boyfriend Miles on Golden Girls. There’s a line between thrifty and cheap that should not be crossed.

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      • plasticepoxy April 15, 2011, 4:09 pm

        oh Golden Girls! 🙂

    • CG April 15, 2011, 2:36 pm

      I personally would be horrified if a date used a coupon. I think there’s a time and place for coupons — e.g., the $50 off from Tory Burch or the 20% off at Barnes & Noble cards I just got in the mail — and a date is not one of them. At least not a formal date … if we went, say, bowling and the guy used a “buy two games, get the third free” coupon, I might be ok with that. But using a coupon for dinner, that might actually be a dealbreaker for me!

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        bagge72 April 15, 2011, 4:12 pm

        How about using a groupon?

      • sarita_f April 16, 2011, 12:34 am

        @CG – can you please explain why? Why is there a time and place for coupons? Why would it be maybe ok for bowling but not for a dinner? Why would it be a deal-breaker? What do you feel someone using a coupon on a date means? Why is that meaning bad?

        Please understand, this is just intellectual curiosity on my part. I’m genuinely curious. And come across sounding like an annoying 4-year-old, but there you go.

  • Elle April 15, 2011, 12:25 pm

    On the past 4-5 first dates I was on, I ordered something cheap, and drank only water. Mainly because they drove for 30-60 min to see me, and they also had to pay for gas… I did offer to pay, but they all declined.
    I live in a very small town, so dressing up to go to Denny’s or Applebee’s is not something I’m looking forward to. Also, I don’t usually wear make-up or show any cleavage, so doing that for the date would be false advertising :).

    A good head on my shoulder and a nice pair of boobs should keep him around. If not, then he’s not the right guy for me anyway.

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    • Elle April 17, 2011, 9:53 pm

      I was on a date last night, and I wore make-up and showed a little bit a cleavage. Really, just a little bit. For some people, it may be non-existent, but for me, it’s quite a change from how I usually dress.

      All because you guys thumbed me down and didn’t tell me why!!! (I guessed it was that bit haha)

      Anyway, we kissed last night, and he texted me all day today. I actually had to tell him to slow down…

      About paying – he paid for dinner, even though I offered to split. We went for drinks afterwards and I paid for drinks.

      Question on etiquette:
      We shared an appetizer, we had some bread on the house (Italian restaurant), and by the time I got the entree, I was almost full. I took a few bites out of my delicious eggplant parmigiana, and that was it. I barely touched the pasta it came with. So I took the leftover eggplant home. The question about the take-away came before the check, and I my intention was to pay for my meal anyway.

      So what do you girls do? Take the food home or not? After he paid for the meal, I felt weird walking around with my box, especially after he didn’t take his leftovers.

      Is this a first-date no-no? Just like paying with a coupon?

      Thanks for any thoughts.

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      • TheGirl April 18, 2011, 9:05 am

        I have to tell you – I have NO IDEA why you got the purple thumbs. Your comment seemed perfectly innocent to me.

        As for the etiquette question – If I were him and paid for that meal, I would be glad you took them. If you barely touched your meal and didn’t take them, it seems wasteful. Unless, of course, as Wendy said, you have no way to preserve them and plan to be out for more than a couple hours.

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        Wendy April 18, 2011, 8:34 am

        I’m all about taking home leftovers, but only when you’re going directly home — or directly to the home of someone who has a fridge. It’s not so sexy to carry around a doggy bag for the remainder of a date, and food that stays unrefrigerated for more than a couple hours isn’t going to be good or safe to eat later. (Who paid for the dinner doesn’t really matter).

      • Elle April 18, 2011, 9:30 am

        Thank you for your answers. Wendy, you do make a good point about carrying the food around and food safety. Luckily, I left it in my car right away, and it was cold that night (almost like a fridge 🙂 ). I’ll keep that in mind next time I go on a date.
        TheGirl, I agree with you. I took it because it would have been such a waste to leave it there.

    • RoyalEagle0408 April 18, 2011, 9:07 am

      I didn’t vote you down, and I was with you until the “and a nice pair of boobs should keep him around” comment. It elicited an eye roll.

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      • Elle April 18, 2011, 9:44 am

        @RoyalEagle0408 – I really don’t mind being thumbed down. I disagree with some people over here too. I just wish I knew which part of my comment was disagreeable.

        I used “nice pair of boobs” to stand for physical attraction – we all agree we need that in a relationship, in addition to the ‘good head on [their] shoulders’. I didn’t mean to offend anyone, and besides, we’re all adults here. I’ll keep it PG from now on.

      • RoyalEagle0408 April 18, 2011, 9:49 am

        Wasn’t offended, just thought it was unnecessary.

  • LolaBeans April 15, 2011, 12:27 pm

    My first date with my current boyfriend, we split the bill in half. And to be honest at the time, I was a little offended. For me, it didn’t show that he cared in a way where he wasn’t willing to treat me on this first date.
    It was weird, but I feel like the first date should be paid for by the guy you’re with.
    I didn’t say anything to him, of course. He picks up the tab more often than not now though, 2 years later.

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  • MissDre April 15, 2011, 12:33 pm

    About the coupon thing, I’m not so sure how I would feel about it on the first date. Only because if he whipped out a coupon, I’d be wondering if the only reason he brought me to that place was cuz he already had a coupon, and I’d feel like maybe he thinks I’m not worth spending money on for a first date.

    I dunno. I guess it would depend on the situation. If I had suggested the place/activity and he then went looking for a coupon, that might be different.

    I’m definitely guilty of spending too much money prepping for a date!

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    • mf April 15, 2011, 12:35 pm

      Yeah, i agree about the coupon thing. I’d also wonder if he was a cheapskate.

      But if that was only questionable thing he did, I’d probably still agree to a second date.

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      • Maracuya April 15, 2011, 3:32 pm

        Yeah, I don’t even feel 100% about inviting friends out and going dutch when I have a coupon or gift card for a particular restaurant. I usually buy a dessert to split with them. 🙂

  • Joanna April 15, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I definitely feel the guy should pick up the check on a first date, especially if he did the asking. Later on, when it’s more of a relationship, it’s a give and take thing. I’m not used to men paying my way and my boyfriend is insistent he should so it’s a nice treat after crappy guys in general.

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  • IdaTarbell April 15, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Most guys I’ve dated tend to spend more on dates mostly because they have more disposable income (car payments are the bane of my existence!). But then I never suggest an expensive joint unless I’m expecting to pay for it.

    But on a funny-money-date note, I just had a first date last night who went to the restroom right after we asked for the check. I couldn’t exactly wait with it on the table for him to come back, so I handed the server my card and paid for the whole thing. When he got back and realized I had paid, he offered cash but I told him it was no big deal. He then made some lame joke about it being “some feminist thing hurr hurr.” Still haven’t decided if he gets a second date.

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    • SpaceySteph April 15, 2011, 1:37 pm

      Hah that would piss me off. Asking to give me money is the right move. When I say no, saying “Ok I’ll get the next one,” is the correct response. Making a joke about militant feminists would be an automatic ‘no second date’ in my book.

      Also I would take leaving for the bathroom when we were expecting the check as a subtle hint that I should pay so I’d probably go ahead and pay too. Hold it for another few minutes until you hand off your credit card, then go pee while you’re waiting for the slip to come back… or let me pay.

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  • Amber April 15, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I would be put off a bit if a guy used a coupon on the first date. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t want a guy to take me on an expensive first date – drinks or coffee is all I really feel comfortable with on a first date. So for him to bust out a 2 for 1 to pay for a couple of lattes would be a bit much.

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    Heather April 15, 2011, 1:13 pm

    If a guy is the one to ask you out on the first date, then he should pay. It’s just politeness, and shows that he’s willing to treat her, if it is, in fact, a date that he wants. If he wants to use a coupon that’s fine by me, as long as it doesn’t go the route of, “Well, no you can’t order that, I don’t have a coupon for that”. It just seems stingy. I’m not saying I would order anything expensive without at least confirming that it was ok first. But if a guy asks you out on a first date, and seriously expects you to split, that’s just shitty, IMO.

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  • spot April 15, 2011, 1:14 pm

    i think a coupon on a first date might be a little awkward, but after a few dates its totally fine. If a man asks me out, I expect him to pay if its in the first few (2-3) dates.

    Once a guy took me to Ruths Chris Steakhouse on a first date–in that case a) I thought that was kind of ridiculous—why would he spend so much money on someone he doesn’t even know yet? but it was quite generous. b) in that case, he cant ask me to split the bill given that I am a college student and with tip that would have been at least $75 each. although i politely offered, there is no way you can suggest a super expensive first date and then ask your date to split it, especially when she is still in college!

    I prefer a more casual first date, like going to get drinks somewhere on a weeknight. It keeps some pressure off, and splitting the bill, if it were to happen, would not be a big deal. IF a guy asks me on a first date and then splits the bill, I will certainly comply, but I won’t go out with him again. After 3 dates with the guy I’m seeing now, I started picking up the bill more often, and I’m more than happy to do so. I wouldn’t feel comfortable being with a guy who NEVER let me pay, unless he was a millionaire or something.

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  • Mainer April 15, 2011, 1:21 pm

    I would never use a coupon on a first date, that’s just poor form. If we had been on a few dates then I wouldn’t have a problem saying “hey, I have a coupon to This Place, want to check it out?” But I would let her know that the coupon was a good reason to check the place out, not that we should eat there because it will cost less.

    I almost always pay for dinner. I was just raised to see that as the respectful thing to do. The fact above on her spending more to get *ready* for the date was interesting, and makes me feel better about making up for that by paying for dinner. Plus (if it’s a dinner date), I like going all out. Nice place, apps, few glasses of wine, entree, maybe dessert. So I don’t mind fronting that for a good time. But the smaller stuff (coffee, drinks, lunch, etc) we’ll sometimes switch off on.

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    • RoyalEagle0408 April 16, 2011, 6:44 pm

      I could use a free dinner. What are you up to tomorrow night?

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  • cmarie April 15, 2011, 1:26 pm

    The best date I’ve ever been on was a bowling than music/dancing date. She took me bowling, used a coupon to pay for it, and we had so much fun. I can’t bowl to save my life but it was so much fun, and so relaxing. I loved that I got to wear jeans instead of having to get all gussied up. It didn’t cost a lot, we had bowling alley pizza for dinner (meh) before hopping in the car to go to an outside concert. It was a local jazz band that played all the old school romantic songs, think “Fever”. It was fun and intimate, we danced and I didn’t have to be embarrassed because all the other couples were to absorbed in each other to notice me tripping all over the place. All in all I think we spent about $30 on that date and now every first date is measured by that one.

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    • spaceboy761 April 15, 2011, 1:38 pm

      It would be fun to do a ‘Best First Date’ thread! I say we just hijack the weekend open thread and create it.

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  • spaceboy761 April 15, 2011, 1:28 pm

    In my dating years, I somehow managed to screw myself on both sides of this argument. I’ve offered to pay for the first date only to inspire a) a womynist tirade about how preassigned gender roles destroy the blah blah I already stopped listening or b) accusations of date rape. I’ve also tried to be Mr. Well-Adjusted 21st Guy and suggested splitting the check and drew subsequent glares.

    My best advice would be try to use what you learned about this girl on your first date to guess what she would best respond to. Be prepared to agree to anything, and don’t beat yourself up over it because it’s still just an educated guess. And if you’re totally clueless, just offer to pay and agree to whatever your date comes back with (ie. offers some, insists on half, covers the tip, or thank you!)

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    • cmarie April 15, 2011, 1:46 pm

      Good advice! I take back all the immature comments. I stand very much, and very happily, corrected.

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    • MellaJade April 15, 2011, 1:48 pm

      @spaceboy – dating is just not easy either way.
      I went to an Uno’s with a high school music teacher on a date and trying to be cognizant of his money I only ordered a burger and drank water. When the bill came I offered to split it and he said “Why, what does that mean? Does that mean you don’t like me? That’s what I think you mean”. So I just explained that I just thought I was being polite – he responded “well, that’s fine, it just makes me want to pay even more”. Fastforward to about 45 minutes later when I’m gently telling him that since this is only our first date that I’m not looking to ‘go steady’ just yet and he thinks that means I should invite him into my home since I’m clearly ‘easy’. Ya, he was a special one…turned into a bit of a stalker for a week or so. I found him on match.com. *sigh*
      It just seems as though there are no ‘right’ answers. Just as you wrote – try to learn about that particular date and go with your gut instinct.

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      • MellaJade April 15, 2011, 1:49 pm

        Oh, wait! I forgot the best part. After I told him I didn’t want to go steady and he stormed off in a huff he texted me demanding I send him money for my half of dinner!

      • Elle April 15, 2011, 2:35 pm

        @MellaJade – I went on a “pre-date” with a guy. As in, I had dinner and he joined me, as he already had dinner (it was my very first online date). He was very quiet. So after talking for 45 minutes, after a dozen questions that he answered monosyllabically, I excused myself and went home. He still keeps texting me and calling me, 6 months later. I had no problem telling him I’m not interested. I actually ‘told him’, because he called. And I texted him that at least 5 times. How on Earth can you tell the guy’s not a creep before you meet him?

      • MellaJade April 15, 2011, 2:42 pm

        @Elle – I refused to take his calls as by that point I was concerned about his intensity. After texting me all night, saying I was ‘unstable’ (pot – kettle?) the next morning I was on my way to work when he texted asking me to just answer him yes or no if I liked him and wanted to see him again. When I replied “No. Thank you.” he then texted back bitching me out for being cruel. Just can’t win!

      • Elle April 15, 2011, 2:51 pm

        “There’s no understanding crazy”!!!

  • BoomChakaLaka April 15, 2011, 1:29 pm

    I’d be ecstatic if my date used a coupon. He’s saving money! I love saving money, so pretty much, I would have met my match. I don’t think it would make a difference. I mean, why does anyone feel like someone *has* to spend in order for a date or any activity to be justified. I’m not being cheesy or corny, but really, some of the best things in life are free – dates included. My current boyfriend took me to Tao for Valentine’s Day and my heart actually broke when I peeked over at the receipt. Way too much money!

    With all this talk about saving money, I don’t necessarily think its unfair. Referring to the above date, it didn’t break my bf’s heart b/c he loves food and he would have ate more if we had time. Now I know, when I take him out for dinner, he likes food, especially nice restaurants, so I’ll take him to some place similar. Regarding getting ready, yeah, I spend a lot on that. But, hey, I love looking good!

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  • MellaJade April 15, 2011, 1:37 pm

    I wouldn’t mind if he busted out a coupon on the first date. We’re all about saving money these days, no?

    Let me relay a ‘first meet’ experience. I met a guy online and after some emails we decided to meet. We went to a bar and each had ONE drink. The tab came to $31.56 and I offered to split (as a reflex but I’m rarely taken up on it) and he actually took me up on it. Here’s the thing, if he was a school teacher or a blue-collar guy I would have felt bad having him pay for the drinks but THIS guy is an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and just spent the last hour bragging about how his company has a gym in their building and personal trainers that he doesn’t have to pay for. His favorite hobby is skydiving, also not cheap so I was rather shocked that he took me up on the offer of splitting the tab. I mean really? You make a gazillion dollars and you can’t pony up $30 for one round of drinks? *sigh* That was followed up by he didn’t walk me to my train station which was only one block further than his. That night ended with a handshake. *sigh* I have since deleted my profile from that site and am now taking a break from online dating. Ugh! Wait…did I go off topic here?

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  • Christy April 15, 2011, 1:43 pm

    By the way, everyone, taxes aren’t due until April 18 because of a local holiday in Washington DC. If you look at the top middle panel of http://www.irs.gov (the first of the five scroll-through images) it confirms that taxes are due on April 18.

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    • kali April 16, 2011, 3:10 pm

      Yup, Emancipation Day was Friday the 15th so California AND Federal taxes are due Monday.

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  • Bethany April 15, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I think whoever did the asking on the first date should pay, but the person who was invited on the date should at least offer to pay the tip- that’s what I’ve always done.
    I’m fine with splitting the bill after the first couple of dates. I tended to date people who made about the same amount of $$ as me, so it was never really an issue of someone making a ton and the other person not having much money.

    Also, I have to say that I’m impressed when a guy is a good tipper (especially when the service was really good and the server really deserves something special).

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    • Zel April 15, 2011, 5:57 pm

      This!!! So very, very much.

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  • fallonthecity April 15, 2011, 2:34 pm

    Nothing wrong with using a coupon on the first date, but I don’t know how I would know about it. I think it’s sort of impolite to flash money around (is that weird?) or watch someone dig in their wallet, so I wouldn’t expect to even see how he paid, much less whether he used a coupon. (In the past, when a guy offers to pay for a date, I thank him, and then, if we’re at a restaurant, I either excuse myself while he pays or I stay at the table while he gets up to pay. If we’re somewhere else I stand a few feet away and make a point not to watch while he pays.)

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  • brendapie April 15, 2011, 2:54 pm

    I like to start off a relationship on equal footing so I ALWAYS split. If a guy has a problem with that then he’s not the one for me. I just feel weird being treated to or treating someone when we barely know each other but I’m fine with picking up the bill or letting him pick up the bill later on in the relationship.

    I think it’s important to show your partner that you appreciate them and want to treat them to a special dinner or excursion. And covering the tab is a part of that but I honestly feel uncomfortable doing such a loving act for someone I’m getting to know.

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  • SpyGlassez April 15, 2011, 4:40 pm

    My boyfriend paid for our first date because he wanted to, and I was fine with that; in general, I like it if whoever does the asking pays. If I had asked him out I would have paid. After that, we have basically gone back and forth. We have what we call “date-dates” where one or the other of us pays, and then just “grab and go” where we each pay for our own or pay the other one back. Part of that, though, is that he is unemployed, so we generally keep things cheap and we are ALL ABOUT the coupons. I would not have minded him using a coupon on the first date because he let ME pick the restaurant, so I would have known he just looked around to find one instead of picking a restaurant based on the coupon.

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  • Kristina April 15, 2011, 6:24 pm

    While I think that on the first date, the guy should always pay, I still always offer to split it. I’ve dated a guy before, who after 3 months, still wouldn’t let me pay for anything whatsoever, whether it was drinks, a meal, going out and doing something, etc. It bugged me at that point because I had the money, and we were both in college, so it’s not like he had all the money in the world to be doing that. But he insisted he genuinely liked doing that. Eventually, he would finally let me pay for things, but I had never been with a guy who wouldn’t let me pay for so long, especially a college-aged guy. Guess this is what I get for living in the south.

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  • sarita_f April 16, 2011, 1:28 am

    In a relatively black-and-white world, he/she who does the asking, does the paying.

    Other random thoughts (note I’m a mostly straight-leaning woman, so these are from the hetero perspective):

    At this point I just feel bad for dudes. I describe my traditional experience and upbringing below, but try to keep perspective on the mixed messages that are coming about who pays.

    I make no judgments about how people spend their money based on my not-fully-informed assumptions of how much I *think* they make. Insisting on splitting the bill only because you think someone doesn’t make that much money signifies that you don’t think they can handle their money well. That’s insulting (even if it turns out to be true).

    I really appreciate generous people. I am very much one myself. To me, generosity means ‘treating’ people I care about every once in a while, and I myself LOVE good food, good wine, the whole nine. But on a first date, if he asked and is paying, I don’t care about the sum total of what he spends. I care that he treats wait staff/employees well, seems to care that I’m having a good time, and tips generously.

    In my experience, you can tell when someone’s just throwing money around and expects a beej in return vs. genuinely believes a fancy date is fun and hopes I like it.

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  • sarita_f April 16, 2011, 1:31 am

    To continue:

    I grew up in Texas. Lots of southern values espoused in Texas. What I am about to describe is not something I have opinions about one way or another, I’m just describing the system. Again, this is all hetero for ease: There’s a certain way things ‘go’ in the circles I was in. Typically, for a real-deal official first date*, the guy does the asking out. The guy chooses the place with input from the girl, or at least considering what he knows of her tastes. Because the guy always does the asking, he always pays. When the check comes, there is no awkwardness since the guy just goes ahead and picks it up. The girl *may* sorta go for her wallet, but it’s not bad manners if she doesn’t. The guy either ignores that she’s gone for her wallet, or tells her “I got this, thanks for coming out with me.” Hopefully everyone’s had a pleasant time, and a go/no go decision on a second date is already made or will be made after a day to mull.

    In DIRE circumstances, where one or the other party has been actually offended and wants to signal that there is NO interest and will be NO further dates, either party may ask/insist on splitting the check. Don’t expect to ever have another conversation again.

    I know I said I don’t have an opinion about the above, but COME ON – wouldn’t it just be easier if we all decided upon a system and stuck with it? I’d love some kind of universal practice here. Of course, I vote for the whole he/she who asks, pays :).

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  • Red_Lady April 16, 2011, 2:01 am

    I think using a coupon would be quite a turn on for me. I love saving money!

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